Tread Softly on my Dreams

I picked this up long enough ago that when I waded into late eighteenth century Ireland, I had no idea what I was getting into.  My formal history of that time and place is so lacking that most of the names (including Robert Emmet’s) were unfamiliar, and all the events came as a complete surprise to me.

I was impressed with Ms. Browne’s rich characterization and her ability to make the world come alive as if it were happening right now.  The language and thinking patterns of the characters felt a touch modern to me, but I was impressed with the story-telling and the way Ms. Browne infused such a dark story with an underlying sense of undying hope.

At some point, I’ll probably go pick up the others in this series.

Sticks and Stones

Mandy, the heroine in this book, manages to work through an overwhelming burden of grief and guilt without that burden overwhelming the reader–or becoming trivialized. Granted, she’s got magical help, but still, it’s an impressive feat.

I’ll definitely be picking up more of Shawn Mcguire’s books in the future.

Sand

The main characters in this book dive into sand for treasures from the world that’s been buried under the dunes. They spend much of their lives buried, hardly able to breathe because of the weight of sand grinding in on them.

Much of the book, I felt like I, too, was buried, hardly breathing under the weight of that sand. I don’t know whether that’s genius or torture–or maybe both.

The ending comes as a bright, blessed, release. And considering what the ending is, that troubles me.

Anybody else bothered by their reaction to this book?

An Acceptable Time

A nice enough story about Polly, one of Meg and Calvin’s kids, but it doesn’t have quite the magic of A Wrinkle in Time or the other books in that series.  I’m not entirely sure what makes the difference.  It might be that the science is more fantasy than science.  It might be that the world-building relies a bit too much on the reader having read the other books–I didn’t feel as fully immersed in the story here.

However, if I weren’t comparing it to the amazing experience of Wrinkle, this book would do quite well.  It’s well written, with great characters and complex problems that come to a satisfying, not too simplistic, resolution.  A good book.  Not, perhaps, one I’ll keep coming back to, but one I’m glad I read.

Burial Rites

Extraordinarily well written, with fascinating characters, and lush details. I’ve never visited Iceland (and certainly not in the 19th century), but I feel like I’ve been there now.

Not a happy story, though. It has redemptive elements, but not that touch of joy and hope that makes me want to read books over and over. Glad I read it once, though.

The Goblin War

As I’ve probably mentioned before, one of the great things about RMFW conferences is the number of books we get in the swag bag. I love, love, love going home with enough to keep me busy–for a bit anyway.

The Goblin War is one of these.  I certainly never would have picked up only book three of a series if I’d been choosing the book myself.

All the same, I wasn’t too lost when I got dropped into the middle of a story that follows trio of young people and their goblin friends as they tramp through a couple of connected worlds, restoring balance and justice. In fact, I was interested enough that I’ll probably try to track down the first couple of books, so I can get a better idea of the whole picture.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I thoroughly enjoyed this, though I must admit I found it less satisfying than the original seven. The story line is great; it’s lovely to get to know some of these characters as adults, and I’m interested all the way through. However, I miss the inimitable style (and punny humor) of the originals, to say nothing of the rich descriptions. I dare say that like most scripts, it’s better seen than read. Even as it stands, however, the book is well worth the fairly short time it takes to read.

Hunter’s Run

Ramón Espejo isn’t the kind of character I usually take to.  He’s gritty, foul-mouthed, uneducated, and violent.  But I liked him. And I liked the way he figures out who he is and what makes life worth living for him.

The world is rich in detail, the aliens true aliens–in thought as well as look, and the plot both surprising and inevitable.  A great story.  Not quite good enough to make my keeper shelf, but excellent nonetheless.

Dust

Dust is the third book in Hugh Howie’s Silo series, and while it continues to have the detailed world-building, interesting characters (Juliet and Donald are both fascinating), and suspenseful, fast-paced plot of the first two, I found myself less invested in this one.  I spent much of the book with the nagging feeling that something was missing–important bits of the complicated groundwork laid in the first two books dropped away, leaving a much less complicated dystopia, with loose threads (characters, bits of the conspiracy) left hanging to unravel or chafe, so that the (admittedly satisfying) ending felt too easy.  Perhaps another book in this world will come and pick up the dropped threads–or perhaps I’m too picky.

Nonetheless, this was fun, and I’d probably pick up another Hugh Howie book, even in this series, if the occasion arose.

The Daemon Prism

I picked up my first Carol Berg book after hearing one of her amazing workshops on world-building (or was it revision?) at one of RMFW’s Colorado Gold conferences.  That was The Spirit Lens, the first in the series that finished off with this one I’ve just read.

The series follows a librarian/failed magician, a magic skeptic and an unorthodox mage as they unravel conspiracies and legends that threaten their kingdom, their world, and even the afterlife.  In this particular book, Dante, the mage left disabled after his fight with the forces of evil at the end of book two (The Soul Mirror), discovers that his enemies are not quite so defeated as he thought, and righting what is wrong requires facing his own past, his own demons.

As I expected from work by an author with so much good stuff to say about revision and world-building, this series boasts finely polished prose and a richly textured world.  The characters are well-rounded, interestingly flawed, and sympathetic.  I’m rooting for them all through their intricately plotted quest to save the world.  The books don’t quite make my all-time-favorite, reread again and again shelf (I can’t quite put my finger on why), but they’re thoroughly enjoyable, and I’ll certainly pick up more Carol Berg books in the future.