It’s WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading. I freely admit to having easily a half dozen nonfiction books and several novels going just now, so here’s a brief snippet of what I had at hand:
• What did you recently finish reading?
Wow. Grimdark Urban Fantasy.
You think you’ve been reading the hard stuff? Only if you’ve been reading Pat MacEwen’s work. MacEwen is a physical anthropologist who knows way too much about the horrors of genocide. So what if that genocide is visited upon elves?
You are tossed into the nightmare that is Sall’s mind, the last high elf, trapped with fading magic in an alternate world–ours–watching humans age and die like autumn leaves and living daily with the horror of her half-elvish daughter’s murder. You think this is going to be a glorious, kick tail police procedural urban fantasy with scary, well done magic…and then you discover that it’s also about alien cultures colliding, about why humans will forever fear elves, and elves humans, about miscommunication, about the horrors humans do to each other and to themselves, about….
It’s more about real life and the real world and the poison humans spread, and the hope they also can infect things with, than you expected to get. I didn’t think there could be any hope left at the end of this tough book, but there was a sharp right turn at the last, and surprise–we get hope and a chance.
If you want to feel the grit under your feet as you run from things that go bump in the night? Read Rough Magic. But warning–it’s visceral. Looking forward to the next one!
• What are you reading now?
Re-Reading Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
A Terry Pratchett novel is always a send-up of real life, usually in multiple ways. It’s easy to enjoy the humor and skewed but deadly accurate world building and miss the important one-liners tucked onto each and every page. The so-called Auditors, those bizarre, emotionless denizens who weigh the balance of the universe and everything in it, are trying to get rid of humanity. They pretty much despise humans, because humans are messy. What’s a good way to start?
How about hire someone from the assassin’s guild, that bastion of gentile problem solving, to kill a myth…jolly old Hogfather. Who will even believe this is happening, much less defend the Hogfather? Well, DEATH believes, and DEATH has a long and deadly history with the Auditors. There are his assistants, including the Death of Rats and of course his adopted daughter’s child Susan, a monster-bashing governess whose raising among humans and spirits means her eye misses nothing. Susan is, quite possibly, a Goth Mary Poppins. Don’t tell Susan–she’d hit herself with an umbrella if she ever thought she’d descended to that.
And now you are along for the ride–about the nature of reality, and myth, and being human (or not) and a monster (or not). This is one of my top five favorite Pratchett novels, and perfect when I am feeling hot and playing instrumental holiday music is not enough to cool me down.
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I’m been quietly building a contemporary world for the next project after finishing Alfreda #3. In the past few months, I’ve found myself poking around researching various forms of the Norns, Fates, Wyrd Sisters–the ones who spin out Destiny. Then a few days ago I’m digging through a few books a friend gave me, and what do I find? A book that is a combination of autobiography, folklore and spirit, touching on multiple aspects of the legends of the three primal spirits who are beyond the gods. If they are beyond the gods, then who are the Fates? Good question–but their only law is that all things must end, and the cycle will begin anew. Not a clue where I’m going with it, but it’s going to be interesting.
My next fiction? Probably one of these–I have Lois McMaster Bujold’s Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, several Jane Haddam mysteries, Patrice Greenwood’s A Sprig of Blossomed Thorn, Leah Cutter’s The Raven and the Dancing Tiger, Sorcerer’s Luck by Katharine Kerr and Deborah J. Ross’s The Seven Petaled Shield to choose among. Also when I am good and finish something I have been putting off, I get to read the new Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels book!
What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell us!