December 2017


Here’s the post where I’m going to gather all the books, novellas and comics read next year.
Reading challenges:
Pick and Mix (40) 36
Action heroine (35) 34
Mount TBR (24) 24 done!
Sci-fi experience (1) 4
comics (24) 25 done!

January
1, Curtis Craddock: An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (p&m)
2, Cecily Gayford ed.: Murder under the Christmas tree
3, Jennifer Foehner Wells: Fluency (p&m, scifi)
4, David Baldacci: The Innocent
5, R. E. Stearns: Barbary Station (sci-fi, p&m)

Comics
1, Astro City: vol. 7: the Dark Age, Book two: Brothers in arms
2, Birds of Prey vol. 2
3, Birds of Prey vol. 3: The Hunt for Oracle

February
6, R. J. Theodore: Flotsam (sci-fi, p&m)
7, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Miracles (p&m)
8, Dan Koboldt: The World Awakening
9, Andrew Vachss: Batman: the Ultimate Evil (mount TBR)
10, Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey: Catwoman (mount TBR)
11, Steven Brust: Vallista (&m)

Comics
4, Birds of Prey vol. 3: Of Like Minds (action heroine)
5, Birds of Prey vol. 4: Sensei & Student

March
12,D. N. Erikson: Bone Realm (action heroine)
13, Kerri L. Hughs, ed.: Fiction River: Alchemy and Steam (mount tbr)
14, Mercedes Lackey: Beauty and the Werewolf (p&m)
15, Madeline Miller: The Song of Achilles (p&m)
16, Justin W. M. Roberts: The Policewoman
17, Alison Morton: Perfiditas
18, Holly Evans: Seers Stone

Comics
6, Birds of Prey vol. 5: Between Dark and Dawn
7, Birds of Prey vol. 7: Perfect Pitch

April
19, Robert Van Gulick, translator: Celebrated cases of Judge Dee (tbr)
20, Martha Wells: All Systems Red (p&m)
21, Kenneth Oppel: Airborn (mount tbr)
22, Jordanna Max Brosky: Olympus Bound (p&m)

Comics
8, Black Widow vol. 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most wanted
9, Star Wars: Shattered Empire

May
23, Trish Heinrich: Serpent’s Sacrifice
24, Anthony Hope: The Prisoner of Zenda (tbr)
25, Trish Heinrich: Serpent’s Rise
26, Katharine Neville: The Eight (p&m)
27, Juliet Marillier: Dreamer’s Pool (p&m)
28, Lois McMaster Bujold: The Prisoner of Limnos
29, Trish Heinrich: Shadow Dreams

Comics
10, Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter
11, Birds of Prey 10: Club Kids
12, Star Wars: Princess Leia

June
30, Lois McMaster Bujold: Penric and the Fox
31, Elizabeth Peters: The Serpent on the Crown (mount tbr)
32, Patricia Loofbourrow: The Jacq of Spades
33, Elizabeth Moon: Marque and Reprisal (p&m)
34, Tanya Huff: Fire’s Stone (p&m)
35, Russell Blake: Fatal Exchange (tbr)

Comics
13, World War Hulk
14, All-New X-Men vol. 1
15, All-New X-Men vol. 3: Out of their Depth
16, Spider-Island: Warzones

July
36, N. K. Jemisin: The Stone Sky (tbr)
37, Vincent Zandri: Chase Baker and the Golden Condor (tbr)
38, Elizabeth Moon: Engaging the Enemy (p&m)
39, Kevin J. Anderson: X-Files: Ruins (tbr)
40, Carolyn Keene: Vanishing Act (Nancy Drew files #34) (tbr)
41, J. M. Bannon: The Untold Tales of Dolly Williamson
42, Tracy Townsend: The Nine (p&m)
43, C. T. Phipps: Games of Supervillainy

Comics
17, X-Men: Legacy: Salvage
18, Uncanny Avengers vol. 1: Counter-evolutionary
19, X-Men: Schism
20, All-New X-Men vol. 4: All-Different

August
44, Lee Killough: Deadly Silents (tbr)
45, Carole Nelson Douglas: Catnap (tbr)
46, Kevin J. Anderson: Alternitech (tbr)
47, C. T. Phipps: Secrets of Supervillainy
48, Elizabeth Peters: Guardian of the Horizon (p&m)
49, Andy Weir: Artemis (p&m)
50, Elizabeth Moon: Command Decision (p&m)

Comics
21, Batgirl: Greatest stories ever told
22, Batgirlvol 1: the Darkest Reflection

September
51, Penny Warner: Dead Body Language (tbr)
52, Hannu Rajaniemi: Invisible Planets: collected fiction (p&m)
53, Max Gladstone: Three Parts Dead (tbr)
54, Elizabeth Moon: Victory Conditions (p&m)
55, James S. A. Corey: Leviathan Wakes (p&m)
56, Kerry L. Hughes, ed.: Fiction River: Tavern Tales

Comics
23, Batgirl vol 2: Knightfall descends
24, Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson, Vol. 1
25, Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson, Vol. 2
26, Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson, Vol. 3

October
57, Patrick Weekes: The Prophecy Con (tbr)
58, John Vornholt: Crossfire (tbr)
59, Richard Ellis Preston Jr: Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders (p&m)
60, Karen Wyle: Water to Water
61, Patrick Weekes: The The Paladin Caper (tbr)
62, Genevieve Cogman: The Lost Plot (p&m)
63, Juliet Marillier: Tower of Thorns (p&m)
64, Diane Duane: Intellivore (p&m)

November
65, Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski: Dyson Sphere (p&m)
66, Nancy A. Collins: Right Hand Magic (p&m, tbr)
67, Bob Mayer: The Rock (tbr)
68, Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith: Flash: the Haunting of Barry Allen (p&m)
69, Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith: Arrow: A Generation of Vipers (p&m)
70, J. Tullos Hennig: Greenwode (p&m)

Comics
27, The Flash by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar

December
71, J.Y. Yang: The Black Tides of Heaven (p%m)
72, James S. A. Corey: Caliban’s War (p&m, tbr)
73, Juliet Marillier: Den of Wolves (p&m)
74, S. P. Somtow: Do Comets Dream? (p&m)
75, J.Y. Yang: Red Threads of Fortune (p&m)
76,

Comics
28,

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The third and final book in the Eternal Sky epic fantasy series.

Publication year: 2014
Format: print
Publisher: TOR
Page count: 430

Steles of the Sky continues right where Shattered Pillars ended. Al-Sepehr and his assassins seem to be even greater threat than before and our intrepid heroes are really struggling to face him and his allies. Also, when the story starts, the characters have all over the map doing their own things.

Overall, was a good ending to the epic fantasy trilogy with some surprises, too. However, there’s definitely room for more adventures to some of the characters, and the setting is also in an intriguing place.

One of the lesser seen secondary characters starts to call themselves Iskandar which greatly amused me, because that’s one of Alexander the Great’s Eastern names.

Quotes:
“Like any weapon, it only takes one mistake for me to turn in a hand.”

“Comforting thoughts should be questioned more stringently than any others. For they are more likely to lead us astray, as we wish to believe them.”

“It was unwise to dwell on eventualities. Here and now was the only world. Anticipation bred misery.”

Collects issues 1-6 of Xena: Warrior Princess volume 2.

Writer: Genevieve Valentine
Artists: Ariel Medel, Julius Gopez

This limited series is set during season 6 when Xena and Gabrielle have already faced Rome and the current Caesar, Augustus, has made Xena into a champion of Rome, at least in bards’ tales. Xena and Gabrielle team up with a group of fierce female warriors to combat Rome’s cruel ways.

The comic references a lot of stuff from the show, such as Gabrielle’s friendship with Augustus, Xena’s relationship with Borias, and Ares’ obsession with Xena. It’s definitely aimed at fans of the show and I’d recommend watching season 6 at least before reading this. I, uh, really want to rewatch the show after reading this (but I’m in the middle of Flash’s third season and then have Legends of Tomorrow to watch…)

It’s very much in the sprit of the show, although it’s made clear that Gabrielle and Xena are more than friends (which the show didn’t).

I liked the first artist more than the second one. The shift was in the middle of fourth issue and it felt quite jarring to me since the styles are quite different. There’s some unnecessarily revealing female “armor” but no more than is usual to the show.

I didn’t love the comic but liked it quite a lot, especially because it includes our heroes going undercover (which on the show I either loved or cringed through one episode and never watched again). Recommended to fans only.

Today, the topic for Top Ten Tuesdays is Top ten books I’m looking forward to in 2018.

I have so many books in my TBR that’s not funny, especially electronically. I’d like to read all of them. But here are definitely some books that I’m looking forward to more than others, most of the continuations to books I’ve already enjoyed. But this is just the tip of the TBR:

1, “Seven surrenders” and “the Will to Battle” by Ada Palmer
I loved “Too much like the Lightning” to bits and I’m really looking forward to the next two books in the series.
2, Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
I also love “Ninefox Gambit”, although for somewhat different reasons than the previous books and I’d also looking forward to continuing the Machineries of Empire series.
3, Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon
Another SF series I started this year and I’m looking forward to continuing it.
4, Perifiditas by Alison Morton
I also started an alternate reality thriller series this year, Roma Nova, which I fully intend to continue.
5, The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold
I’ve really enjoyed the short fantasy novellas centered of Penric and I’m looking forward to the next one and however many Bujold ends up writing.
6, The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman
I loved the setting and the characters in this series and I’m eager to devour the next offering.
7, Vallista by Steven Brust
I’ve enjoyed the Vlad Taltos series for quite a few years and I’m hoping that the next book will be just as enjoyable as the rest.
8, Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh
I’ve read quite a few books from Cherryh but haven’t yet started her latest series.
9, The next Toby Daye book by Seanan McGuire
I love the series!
10, The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
The Broken Earth series has been a rollercoaster ride and I’m really curious to see how it will end.

Happy holidays to everyone who is celebrating!

The second book in the Eternal Sky epic fantasy series.

Publication year: 2013
Format: print
Publisher: TOR
Page count: 333

Bear plays with lots of epic fantasy troupes here. It’s not my favorite Bear book but it could be because I’m not really that interested in epic fantasy anymore. Please read the first book “Range of Ghosts” first because she doesn’t waste pages recapping what came before (which is good IMHO).

Re Temur who is the grandson of the great but dead Khagan is still in exile, looking for his lover Edene who was kidnapped by ghosts. However, his quest has changed. Now he, and his companions, are also looking for a way to wrest power from Temur’s usurper uncle and to unite the steppe tribes once again. To do that, Temur has to find a band of loyal steppe soldiers. But first, he needs to rescue Edene from Ala-Din, the headquarters of the followers of the Nameless, the Scholar-God. They’re also assassins who are hunting the small group.

Samarkar-la is a wizard and a former princess. She’s only recently come to her power but has studied magic for years. She’s also in love with Temur and follows him loyally. She’s also looking for a way to stop the leader of the assassins. Hsiung is a mute warrior-monk and Hrahima is a warrior from a tiger-like species. They’ve become a tightly knit band of friends who are very capable of facing the challenges of the road and the assassins.

Meanwhile, a terrible plague is sweeping across the lands. The wizards in Tsarepheth are trying to fight it, while struggling with intrigue. Also, the leader of the Assassins, al-Sepehr, has sent one of his people to cement Temur’s uncle’s claim to become the Khagan, the king of all steppe tribes.

Much like in the first book, in “Shattered Pillars” the main group is moving from place to place with disaster and assassins on their heels. The people around them plot and plan and we see glimpses of them. This book has many POV characters, some of them new.

I like particularly two characters: Edene, who was a secondary character at best in the first book, rose to an unexpected prominence in this one. I loved her development. She was a spirited steppe woman in the first book and now she’s heavily pregnant with a magic ring which gives her extraordinary powers. She managed to escape her captors and encounters dog-faced ghulim who seem to worship her as a queen. She’s determined to keep her unborn child safe and also rescue Temur from whatever dangers he’s facing. And the best way to do that is to become the queen of an evil, mythical place! Loved that even though I don’t really see how she can have a happy ending. I also really grew to like Saadet who is the twin of one of the lead assassins. Her situation is very complicated and interesting.

This whole series is set in a world that has clearly been inspired by the Mongols and the Middle-East. There are some twists to the cultures, which I quite liked, too, such as the Scholar-God being female and yet her religion has been twisted into supporting oppression of women. Apparently, women are so holy that they can’t be seen by men or do anything but menial labor…

The series has a lot of women with agency which was great. Bear also plays with the roles that men and women usually play in epic fantasy books.

Quote:
“What was a book? Not just ink and fiber and stitchery: a series of processes. To a wizard, it was not a static object–but a human thought caught and bound, made concrete through sacred technology. Magic, then, and a deep form of it.”

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This week, the Top 5 Wednesdays topic is Top 5 Books of 2017.

The year hasn’t ended yet but this is my top 5, so far. Happily, I read quite a few excellent books this year but still the choice was pretty easy.

1, Ada Palmer: Too Like the Lightning
2, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Blades
3, Yoon Ha Yee: Ninefox Gambit
4, N. K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season
5, Seanan McGuire: The Brightest Fell

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