Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2013

This is strange… I had more time for reading in October yet I’ve read fewer books. Overall, I am very happy with my October books. They were all excellent reads and I didn’t get the feeling that I had in September, of not having time to read because work was so stressful. I did have time to read and I enjoyed every page.

Books read: 4
Pages read: 1324
Series started: Imperial Radch
Series continued:
Series finished:

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THE BEST

Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice   9/10

ancillary justiceThe internet has exploded with praise for Ann Leckie and it is all justified. This amazing debut does so many things that should not work and makes them awesome. Breq – the last remnant of a formerly great AI spaceship named Justice of Toren – is looking for answers and revenge. She is joined by Seivarden – a character I fell madly in love with over the course of the novel – and shows us cultures that feel original and somehow familiar at the same time.
And don’t even get me started on what Ann Leckie does with language. She uses almost exclusively female pronouns, regardles of a character’s gender. This book makes you think, it makes you question your prejudices, and it’s a gripping story with great characters. Just read it!

Catherynne M. Valente – The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two   9/10

fairyland 3You’re not surprised about this, are you? Cat Valente is one of my current top two authors (the other one being Terry Pratchett) and I expected nothing less than perfection in  this third Fairyland volume. The beginning was a bit tough to read, mainly because it takes so long for September to reunite with her friends, Ell and Saturday. Once they are together again and have a plan to save Fairyland, everything comes together beautifully and Valente managed to rip my heart out again. Stopping a Moon Yeti from breaking the moon is not so easy, especially if time travelling friends are involved… A wonderful book, full of magic and love and beautiful language.

China Miéville – Railsea  8,5/10

railseaWhat a fun book. Miéville returns to YA fiction in this riff off Moby Dick. But it only starts that way. Sham travels the Railsea on the moler trail Medes, whose Captain obsessively hunts the great ivory mole that took her arm many years ago. But Sham stumbles into an adventure much bigger than a mere mole hunt.
Miéville plays with language in many ways. The omniscient narrator teases his readers, jumps between viewpoints, and generally adds to the pure fun of the story. I loved this book, particularly the ending. It could have gone terribly wrong but Miéville makes it work. Highly recommended, especially if you’re looking for a Miéville book to start with.

Nnedi Okorafor – Kabu Kabu 7/10

kabu kabuA short story collection by the author of the amazing Who Fears Death. I didn’t love all the stories, but I found enjoyment in most of them. My favorite was the science fiction story “Spider the Artist” about a Nigerian woman who makes friends with a robotic spider-creature that protects the pipelines from oil robbers.
Okorafor’s style has impressive range, her stories come in all shapes and sizes. There are those that read like folktales, fairytales, historical fiction, epic fantasy and science fiction. Her characters are equally diverse. Most protagonists are Nigerian (to some extent) women, and mos stories are set directly in Nigeria. It was just beautiful how the author showed the richness of a culture and a place that is rarely shown at all in speculative fiction. Recommended.

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No THE WORST and no THE REST this month. Like I said, all my books were pretty fantastic

Plans for November:

Jeff Vandermeer – Wonderbook
I’m almost done with this massive, beautiful, inspiring work of art. It is a guide on how to write speculative fiction but it is also so much more. Articles by many established authors and gorgeous (!) artwork on every page make it a book worth having, even if you just look at the pictures.

Stephen King – The Shining
Something creepy for Halloween. I only made it halfway through when November caught up with me but it reminds me again why I like Stephen King. He paints characters that feel so real you wouldn’t be surprised if they lived next door – although if I met Jack Torrance (or worse, Danny), I would probably run and hide. Can’t wait to finish this and then, finally, watch the movie. (Yes, I am one of those people who have never seen it. But I do know key scenes, including spoilers.)

Robin Hobb – Fool’s Fate
Now that a new Fitz and Fool trilogy is planned, I need to finish the existing books. At 800 pages, I feel a little daunted, but then again, I have yet to read a Hobb book  I don’t like.

Gail Carriger – Curtsies & Conspiracies
Sophronia strikes again. Gail Carriger returned to her quick-witted, funny self with the Finishing School series and I can’t wait to read this one.

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