Sunday Status Update: November 5, 2017

This week, Frodo gives Rivendell a 3 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. Minor spoilers for Lord of the Rings.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Frodo: This week, I tired of Hobbiton and took the long journey back to Rivendell. It has grown quieter there since the end of the war, as more and more elves take the ships away from Middle Earth to the Undying Lands. Consequently, there were fewer people to talk to and rather less to do in the empty halls of the Last Homely House. There was little singing, and none scheduled for the night I was there. Eventually, I and a young elf named Glindir just settled down to a game of cards. Elrond himself joined us later, apparently having nothing better to do, and got rather fussy when Glindir took a few hands. Also, the soup was stone cold. I left with the terrible presentiment that all good things pass away, and even the seemingly eternal cannot flourish when winter comes. Also that my next holiday will definitely be spent with the Dwarves.

Bill: I’m still digging out of a grading hole, but I did finish Ian Cameron Esslemont’s thoroughly enjoyable Deadhouse Landing, the second in his Malazan PATH TO ASCENDANCY trilogy. I’ve also started Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer, the third in his STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE series.  Since it’s 1200 pages long, I may just copy and paste that sentence in next week’s Status. TV-wise, I turned off this week’s Orville halfway through—pretty sure I’m done with it, and probably with The Inhumans as well since I seemingly can’t muster the interest to watch this week’s, even as background noise while I grade. On the other hand, I’m going to stick with The Gifted, which isn’t great, but has its moments. The best TV though was The Tunnel, which I found utterly mesmerizing. In movies, I really enjoyed the vast majority of War for the Planet of the Apes, but the way it went into full bore idiot plot the last 20 minutes left a bad taste. And we also watched the bad with aspirations of pedestrian Kill Command. Looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok on Wednesday!

Jana: This week I read Jade City, by Fonda Lee, which takes everything I love about Hong Kong gangster movies and blends that with fantasy, magic jade, and warring crime families. I also read Levi Black‘s Black Goat Blues, the second book in his MYTHOS WAR trilogy and the sequel to Red Right Hand. There’s a bit of middle-book syndrome here, but sometimes that can’t be avoided. I started reading Molly Tanzer‘s upcoming novel, Creatures of Will and Temper, and the easiest way to describe it so far is “gender-flipped The Picture of Dorian Gray,” though there’s more to it than that. I made miserable progress on my TBR stack in October, so this month I’m hoping to get caught up enough on ARCs that I can start hacking away at the still-unread 2017 books before 2018 begins. It’s nice to dream, right?

Kat: I finished up Mercedes Lackey‘s DARIAN’S TALE with Owlsight and Owlknight. This was better than the previous VALDEMAR trilogy I read, but still not great. These books are just too fluffy for me, I guess. I’d be ready to totally give up on Lackey if it weren’t that I already own a bunch more of her books at Audible… I also read Phule’s Paradise, book two of Robert Asprin‘s PHULE’S COMPANY series. These are currently being released in audio format by Tantor Audio. Phule’s Paradise was entertaining, but also not great. Next in line: Steven Brust‘s latest VLAD TALTOS book, Vallista. I hope it’s going to be a good one!

Marion: I’m writing this on Wednesday morning, and I’m looking forward to a great week of reading, because John Crowley’s Ka, Ann Leckie’s Provenance and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Beautiful Ones all arrived at my house over the weekend. I’ve started The Beautiful Ones and it is a delightful “drama of manners.”

Nathan: This week I read Elantris, which convinced me, first, that Brandon Sanderson is getting better as he goes along, and second, he was strongly influenced by Orson Scott Card, especially in dialogue and humor (I had long suspected this, but this book really nailed it down for me). That may sound like faint praise, which is not my intention! I found the book enjoyable and at points moving; it just didn’t get to the deeper level in emotion and significance I think Sanderson reaches in some of his more recent work. I also read Vallista by Steven Brust, which I plan on re-reading as soon as my dad finishes the copy I gave him for his birthday (and read before handing it over!). This is one of the intricate-puzzle TALTOS novels, along the lines of Orca and Yendi, and it’s a pretty good yarn that also throws a lot more light on the endgame of the series. I enjoyed it very much.

Rachael: These past few weeks work has eased up, which feels like coming out of hibernation – and is great for the reading quota. I finished Robin Hobb‘s Assassin’s Apprentice (started strong; petered out), Sabaa Tahir‘s Ember in the Ashes (very vanilla) and am halfway through Kate Atkinson‘s Life After Life.

Sandy: Moi? For reasons too long and boring to go into, I have decided to bump Gustav Meyrink’s 1915 novel The Golem to a later date, and instead am now reading Fritz Leiber’s short novel of 1960, The Night of the Long Knives. Don’t ask. I hope to be able to get a review of this one out for you very soon…

Skye: I’m still reading! Not a lot of change on that front for me over the past couple of weeks (same books, same slow pace due to school). I am ALSO catching up on a backlog of reviews though, so that’s more exciting for here – look out for those! The biggest challenge I’m facing right now in reviews is the Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow. Reviewing 25 stories at once is proving to be difficult, but taking it a few at a time will have it done soon I hope.

Tadiana: This last week I finished Andy Weir‘s Artemis and Stephanie Garber‘s Caraval, and was a little underwhelmed by both. I finally dove into Volume II of the Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories collection and read The Word for World is Forest (the first novel – actually a novella – in that volume) in one sitting last night. I’ve stalled on Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s The Bear and the Serpent – actually I’ve been distracted by other reads – but will try to pick that up again and make some progress in it this week. I’ve also started Katherine Arden‘s The Girl in the Tower, the upcoming sequel to last year’s medieval Russian fantasy The Bear and the Nightingale, and it’s excellent so far.

Terry: Most of my reading this past week was news. So much happening! But I’m finding comfort in Kristin Cashore‘s new book, Jane Unlimited. Review coming soon, I hope.

Tim: This week, I continued with THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an audio series that I’ve been listening to on and off since… wow, I don’t know. Sometimes it seems like forever (though it’s all been this year — I’m at least fairly sure of that). I’m most of the way through The Return of Sherlock Holmes at this point, which only leaves His Last Bow and The Valley of Fear. And whither then? I cannot say.


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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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