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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014


I'm baaaacccckkkkk! Did you miss me? I had hoped that in the last 2 weeks that I would have read more books than I did but hey, I was sight seeing in the lovely Edinburgh for a few days. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it. So what did I manage to read?

Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014
I got Empress of the Sun which is the third book in the Everness series by Ian McDonald from NetGalley quite a few months ago. If you have a really good memory you might remember that I finished Be My Enemy and discussed it in my last WIR. I had convinced myself (although I am sure that I had read it somewhere) that Empress of the Sun was the final book of the series. I spent the whole book thinking 'oh McDonald is really wrapping things up well' until I got closer and closer to the end when I started to think the exact opposite. By the time I finished I was quite disappointed that this wasn't the final book and I need to read more about the plucky, teenager Everett Singh.

Empress of the Sun is split between telling the story of the original Everett Singh who finds himself ship wrecked on a disc shaped planet surrounded by murderous bird/robot-like aliens. Everything seems quite bleak as the airship Everness has taken quite a beating and Everett feels responsible for what has happened to her (the ship) and to her crew. The story then alternates to Everett M Singh, the genetically enhanced 'other' Everett introduced in book 2. Everett M is doing everything he can to blend into the original Everett's life while at the same time trying to control the Nahn who he encounters in book 2. I really looked forward to the Everett M chapters, much more so than the original Everett.  I didn't really engage with the original Everett story line and thought the Jiju. These were the dominant species on this new world who decide to help Everett. They reminded me of JaJa Binks from Star Wars for no other reason than I found them irritating. Everett M however, was quite amusing especially the parts where his ass is getting more hits on Facebook than he is. These chapters were convincingly written from the viewpoint of a troubled teen.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed mainly because I thought this was the end of the series. The final pages end with a good twist but getting there was a bit too much of a struggle and I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014My flight back to London was delayed by over an hour and on top of doing some impulse shopping I also purchased a book that I later regretted. I found Touched by Darkness, the first in the Sentinels series, which was recommended to me on Amazon. Boy, did Amazon get that recommendation completely wrong. I was just lucky that this book was free as I would have had to complain if I paid for it. I am not going to go into too much detail but this book verged into the ridiculous category for me and had I saw the cover before I downloaded it I wouldn't have have wasted my time. Is he wearing a wig?

I then started to read The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan. I am writing a full review of this book so can't say too much plus it is very long and I am only about a quarter of the way through.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014
I started to get a bit desperate that I wouldn't have that much to tell you about as The Dark Defiles was taking me so long to read so I quickly went back to my Amazon recommendations. They didn't let me down this time as I found Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartsrikers 1) by Rachel Aaron. You might remember I read this author's sci-fi series (under the pseudonym Rachel Bach) and I also started the first of her Eli Monpress series. NDFL (can't type the whole thing...sorry) was a great reprieve from the intensity of The Dark Defiles and was very amusing. This is the story of Julius who is the runt of a dragon clan who has spent most of his life avoiding the rest of his family until his mother seals him in a human body and leaves him to fend for himself. Julius is too nice to be a dragon...just as a the title suggests but delivers some PDF (public displays of funny) lines which I have highlighted for future reference. His task is to hunt down another dragoness and redeem himself in his mother's eyes. This isn't an easy task for Julius as he isn't your typical dragon. With the help of a human mage, Marci - Julius finds his way in the world and off his mother's hit list (for the time being anyway).

I quit enjoyed this book and there was some public chortling at some of the lines. Aaron needs to watch Julius as he can be a bit too virtuous at times which made the story a bit dull at points. Also, avoid too many fight scenes as this also gets a bit repetitive. Other than that this is a great start to what I hope is a light hearted, amusing series. Go Julius Go!

That is all for me for this week. I hope you are all enjoying whatever it is you are reading. I am hoping to keep the momentum going and have more to tell you about next week. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014



Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014


Hopefully this post will be coherent and not a big ramble as I just got back from Canada and have a lovely case of jetlag. Thanks to Air Canada's old plane stock the hubinator and I ended up with seats where the sound didn't work on the TV system. That meant we had 6:57 hours of uninterrupted reading time...well apart from the food/drink service, duty free announcements and quite a bit of turbulence. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014
I finished Sixth Grave From the Edge by Darynda Jones. I do really like this series and think it is quirky. I especially like the chapter headings....they are hilarious. Charley is a great character and her hottie boyfriend Reyes sounds as smouldering as the pits of hell where he was born. I do think that this instalment was the weakest of the series. There are so many subplots that my head was spinning by the end. Jones even starts one involving Charley and her father and does nothing with it. It feel like I had missed part of the book. Sometimes less is more. Sixth Grave felt like Jones was following some formula like

book plot = Charley must solve 2 murders + goof around with Cookie  x canoodle with Reyes \  convince Angel to work for her - drive to the abandoned asylum x drink lots and lots of coffee.

The ending was quite a shocker but this barely made up for the over egged sub-plots. I will still look forward to the next book but I hope Jones sticks to the Charley and Reyes plot rather than all the mini mysteries.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014I then decided to take a plunge and bought the first book of the Legend of Eli Monpress series, The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron. If you will remember I read the Paradox series a few weeks ago which are written under Rachel's pseudonym Rachel Bach. When I expressed an interest to read her other series Rachel very kindly warned me they were quite different to the science fiction adventures of Devi Morris. The Eli Monpress series is fantasy which is different but equally good as the Paradox series. In The Spirit Thief, the accomplished thief and wizard Eli Monpress has kidnapped the king of Mellinor in an attempt to receive a hefty ransom and increase his bounty. Hot on his tails is Miranda on her oversized ghosthound who has been assigned the mission to apprehend Eli but ends up helping him in a plot twist that deserves to be read rather than talked about. Monpress finds that kidnapping a king isn't as straightforward as he hoped as the king's brother and equally powerful wizard is out to become king himself and bring back wizardry to Mellinor. It's up to Eli, his motley crew of companions and Miranda to save the day and the kingdom.

I like The Spirit Thief and think it was a solid start to a series. I also like Eli but I think I liked his companions more, especially Miranda (more of a reluctant companion) and her ghosthound Gin. You can't beat a giant talking dog. The story was equally split between Miranda and Eli which I think is unusual but effective.  I was slightly confused for the first 1/4 of the book about the spirits and how the wizards manipulated them as Aaron doesn't explain this until later in the book. Once I got my head around that aspect of the book it seemed to flow a lot more smoothly. I will be looking forward to reading more of Eli's adventures over the coming weeks.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014
I then returned to a series I haven't read in months - The Split World series by Emma Newman. I finished Any Other Name on the flight home. I found it a bit difficult to get back in this series after such a long break but once I remembered 'who was who' then I eased back into the world that Newman has created. I am really conflicted about this instalment. While I like Cathy and feel sorry for her I also think she is quite whiny. This was totally unfair as she was being forced into a marriage of 'inconvenience' and her whole life was being controlled by her family and the other Fae. Overall, I find Any Other Name to be quite a 'middling book' which seems to really set the scene for the final book of the trilogy. I am not going to make the mistake of leaving reading it for too long this time!

Finally, I was trawling through my Amazon recommendations and, once I got over the horror of being recommended motorcycle themed books, I found The Scribe which is the first of the Irin Chronicles by Elizabeth Hunter. I am only a few chapters into this book but so far so good. I will let you know more next week so until then Happy Reading.
Melanie's Week in Review - July 27, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - June 1, 2014

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