Reading roundup – July 2nd 2016

July 2, 2016

Good morning.  This week I’ve been really unfocussed in my reading.  I’ve dipped into several books, but not finished that many of them.  It’s been a crazy busy week for me at work, which hasn’t helped.  OK I admit it.  Any free time I’ve had I’ve spent playing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens rather than reading.  Those games are addictive.

One book I did finish and enjoyed was His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik.  This is the first in the Temeraire series in which the Napoleonic Wars are reimagined with dragons.  I loved the concept, characters and themes.  I especially enjoyed the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire, the dragon.  The ninth and final book in the series, League of Dragons, has just been published.  Much as I enjoyed the series, I’m not certain I want to invest the time to read the rest of the eight, so I cheated and read’s Temeraire reread.  I’m hoping this will catch me up sufficiently and I will pick up League of Dragons in audiobook format – narrator is Simon Vance, how could I not go for the audiobook? – as soon as I have a spare Audible credit.  I gave His Majesty’s Dragon four stars out of five

The other book I finished, and it’s more of a novella really at 174 pages, is Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.  This is set in a residential home for young people who have returned from visiting other magical lands and who need a place to help them readjust to normal life.  I was drawn to the concept and that was very interestingly done, in particular the “mapping” of the various magical realms onto a graph with axes of Nonsense-Logic and Virtue-Wickedness.  The fact that the main protagonist, Nancy, identifies as asexual is also fascinating, and very unusual in a YA novel,  It’s incredible how the removal of any sexual tension completely changes the dynamic of a story.  What I really didn’t enjoy so much was that it turned into a kind of gruesome murder mystery.  I wasn’t expecting that and it did impact my enjoyment of the book.  I gave Every Heart a Doorway three stars out of five.

Other books I dipped into this week were The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye which I’m listening to in audiobook format.  I’m not sure why, but it just hasn’t grabbed my attention so far.  I will persevere with it, however.  I’m not very far in, and I suspect it may just  be a slow starter.

This week I also started one of the books I picked up at BEA, Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, the start of a new series retelling the story of the Snow Queen by the author of the Dorothy Must Die series.  So far I’m not finding it as easy to get into as Dorothy Must Die, but I remember that series was a slow starter too, so I will keep on with it.  At this point though Snow isn’t as engaging a protagonist for me as Amy Gumm.

It’s certainly a Danielle Paige week for me as the latest novella in her Dorothy Must Die series, The Order of the Wicked, hit my Kindle this past Tuesday.  I am enjoying it so far.  It’s great that the novellas, while not required reading for the series as a whole, do add extra depth and new perspectives to the narrative.

Winds of Winter, the Game of Thrones series 6 finale aired this week and it was a thing of beauty (a few missteps aside.)  That first 20 minute or so setup for Cersei’s trial was exquisite.  Much kudos to director Miguel Sapochnik.  The images of the protagonists preparing for their confrontation in the Sept of Baelor set to Ramin Djawadi’s breathtaking music Light of the Seven was stunning.  I’m listening to it as I write this.  This season has certainly showed some of Djawadi’s best work on the show to date.  I plan to do a full post on the season as a whole so I won’t say too much more now.

Upcoming releases in July

The first release I want to talk about is Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine, the second in the Great Library series.  Ink and Bone was one of my favourite reads of 2015, even if I see I didn’t write a review for it – oops.  The concept and the characters are so fascinating and I can’t wait to read more.  I’ve preordered it on Kindle and will likely pick up the audiobook, too.  Paper and Fire will be released on July 5th.

Also coming out in July is Before the Snow by Danielle Paige, the prequel to Stealing Snow.  Given how Paige’s novellas usually add some great context to the novellas, perhaps I should have waited to start Stealing Snow until I have read this.  Before the Snow is released on July 26th and I have preordered it in Kindle format.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  This is it, the big one.  The story we never thought we’d get.  This is the sequel to Harry Potter, penned by J.K. herself.  The twist is that it isn’t a novel, but a two-part play, currently in preview in London, and the book that will be published on Harry’s birthday, July 31st, is the rehearsal edition script.  So far everything I’m hearing about this – and I’ve managed to remain spoiler free #KeepTheSecret – is awesome.  I am really looking forward to hearing what happens to the next generation of Hogwarts witches and wizards.  Interestingly enough, at the time of writing the book is not available to preorder in Kindle format, so I’ve gone ahead and ordered it from Kobo.

Speaking of the wizarding world, did you catch the details Rowling released about Ilvermorny, the North American school for the magical community?  I really want a whole novel on Isolt Sayre’s journey!

That’s all for this week – the Force is calling to me to go play the Lego game.

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