WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.
Medair (duology) by Andrea Höst.
This is a reread. The first time through I whizzed so fast to see what happened, I knew I was going to be coming back more slowly. As often happens with this author, knowing what is to come gives the story a new perspective.
Andrea K. Höst ‘s work invariably starts with a lone female protagonist flung into an interesting situation. This is one of my favorite story tropes.Both the character and the world building grabbed me right from the start. Medair is a Herald who rode off to save the world, found the means, lay down to take a nap, and woke up to discover that the war she was trying to end had been lost half a millennium ago. She’s practical, wistful, insightful, stubborn, independent, starved for love, and determined to do the right thing. If she can figure out what that is. (Rest of review)
Natural Selection, by Melinda Lo.
This novella fits between Adaptation and Inheritance (which I have not yet read), giving us Amber as a first person narrator. Readers who haven’t tried the first book would not be confused, but certain discoveries would be spoiled.
It’s a tightly written story, the structure underscoring Amber’s dual nature, as a supposed human from Earth, and as an Imrian. The story steps between Amber’s preparation for, and her undergoing, the every-fifteen-years ritual expected of her people, while she reflects on her experiences the previous summer. Amber comes to terms with several important realizations, making a friend as she does. I really enjoyed it.
Impulse (Jumper 3) by Steven Gould
I loved Jumper the book. I liked its YA sensibility while still being a read for adults. It has been my go-to book when people ask what I think New Adult is, even though it came out before the Potter generation was reading. (Assuming that the New Adult sub genre was invented for the Harry Potter readers who wanted f or sf fixes a step up from school stories, with younger protagonists entering the adult world.)
Impulse returns to that sensibility with Cent, the smart sixteen-year-old daughter of Davy and Millie. She’s been raised completely off-grid as she travels all over the world with her teleporting parents. She has everything a kid could want . . . except friends. She wants to go to high school. And when she figures out how to jump, or teleport, her parents come to the same realization that all parents must: their child is not only ready to venture into the world, she is capable of it. (Rest of review)
Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer, by Janni Lee Simner
I test-drove this title, and its previous title–The Secret of the Three Treasures, a killingly bland title imposed by the publisher–on several classes of fourth and fifth graders, and in both cases, every single hand shot sky high when I gave them the author’s preferred title: Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer. (About the first choice, one boy muttered, “It better be real treasures, and not some book about three things you have to learn.” When I later read the book to the class, they discovered quite happily that there were really are three treasures!)
Tiernay is the heroine—she prefers her dad’s last name, West, because he travels all over the world writing adventure stories about a cool heroine. Tiernay indulges in Walter-Mitty-like internal adventures while practicing at adventure until she can get into a real one, but unlike Mitty, who was too afraid to stand up for himself, Tiernay has the courage of her convictions. And so she does her very best to become an adventurer, despite her mom really wanting her to settle down and be a practical schoolgirl.
Like when Mom takes Tiernay out to dinner with her friend Greg and his son Kevin, Tiernay orders squid and snails, because she figures an adventurer has to get used to eating anything. Tiernay soon gets her tip-off to adventure, and she is no slouch about seeking more clues and doing her detective work in spite of snippy school-girls with their secret clubs, neighborhood bullies, and her exasperated, practical mom. The voice is wonderful–I was laughing out loud, even when (as an adult reader) I was fairly sure where the story was going. Tiernay, like Harriet the Spy many years ago, is true to herself: what she is inside, she is outside. Her reactions, her grit, and how her tale is narrated, make this one a must for any kid, or kid at heart, who always wanted to have adventures.
The Shield of Achilles, by Philip Bobbitt
Reread. Bobbitt’s strength is in his ability to paint the Big Picture, specifically the evolution of the state, and how we’re now passing into the era of the market state. He supports his thesis with a staggering mass of historical detail which I found somewhat problematical the farther back he went (Castlereagh the great visionary? Really? What about Talleyrand, and how the face of modern Europe was proposed by him around the time of the Peace of Amiens?)
The problem with Big Picture thinking is that the conclusions can seem too neat, and history has a way of demonstrating how very messy it is. Given that, the last half of the book is terrific, as he examines the alteration of paradigm over the twentieth century conflicts–the first half of which he calls the Long War. It ends with a coda supplied after the events of 9/11, striking a warning note.
Currently reading: Popski’s Private Army, Vladimir Peniakoff; The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, Sinclair McKay; Inheritance, Malinda Lo; Richelieu and his Age, Carl J. Burckhardt, and rereads of Scott Lynch’s first two epic fantasies, as the third has just come out.
What have you discovered this week?