Saturday 15 April 2023

Shelfish Opinions 3 - Bs & Cs

Shelfish Opinions: 3 - The B's & Cs!

Continuing the Youtube theme - making these videos is also giving me blog material.

Previous Shelves here: 1 (A's) 2 (B's)

I decided that I would move on from critiquing people's writing to critiquing people's writing, but now the writing is whole books, and the critiquing is cursory opinion, and the selection is made by my (mostly) alphabetised shelves.

Since I have a great many fantasy shelves, this could be a new recurring feature that will hit dozens of episodes.

Let's see how it goes.

Imma present one shelf at a time and just talk my way through the titles there, saying if I've read the book and briefly, what I thought of it. It's worth noting that I'm not responsible for the purchase/acquisition of the majority of the books on our shelves. My wife's an avid fantasy reader, and my children have been also at various points in their lives.

It's worth noting that I'm revisiting a few of these books as extra As and Bs have pushed titles further down the shelf. I would have avoided repetition, but only noticed when I was mostly done with this post 😆.

So there they are, the glorious Bs/Cs of shelf 3. Let's take a closer look!

There's The Daylight War, book 4 of Peter Brett's Demon Cycle quintology, and an ARC of book 5, "The Core". I'm not great at following series. I'm such a slow reader that I often stop at book 1 in favour of exposing myself to a greater variety of writing. But I've met Peat a few times, he was very nice to a new writer (me), and I like him, so I went through all five of these. Another reason I cry off long series is that I feel quality tends to decline, and some jump the shark. Also maybe my attention span is suited to standalones and trilogies - it's certainly what I write. I did have fun with the books, but my favourite was definitely in numerical order, with book 1 being the best for me.

Following the Bretts are six graphic novels (New England Gothic, Hopeless Maine - Sinners, The Oddatsea, Hopeless Maine - Victims, Hopeless Maine - Personal Demons, Hopeless Maine - Inheritance) by artist Tom Brown with the story by Nimue Brown. I've met these guys too and they were early supporters of my writing. I'm a fan of Tom's art and the hauntingly odd stories darkly presented in these graphic novels. I even wrote a story in the setting, read here on youtube.

After that we have six books by Orson Scott Card. I read Capitol first, many decades ago. This book has 373 Goodreads ratings compared to 1.3 million for Ender's Game. The other Card books on shelf 3 are Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, Shadow Puppets, Xenocide,  & Speaker For The Dead. I'm a big fan of Ender's Game and have read all of these ... possibly running out of steam in Shadow Puppets. I don't agree with OSC's views on homosexuality, but none of that reaches the page (that I noticed) and I've enjoyed his fiction. It was also cool to see him review The Broken Empire very favourably.

The Girl With All The Gifts, by M.R Carey, is excellent. I won't spoil it, but read that. There's a related book I need to get and read. I know nothing about Rotherweird. Of the three books there by Canavan: The High Lord, The Novice, & The Magician's Guild I've only read book 1, Guild. It's over 20 years old and maybe I would have liked it more if I'd read it another 20 years before that. I found it OK but rather generic and lacking in excitement. I won't be reading on.

I've not read The Spider, or The Wolf by Leo Carew and know nothing about them. They're books 1 and 2 in a series and came out about 5 years ago. Noticeably absent here is The Way of Edan, by Philip Chase. That's because the ARC I have is a large A4 print out that won't fit the shelves. I did like the story a lot though. Seraphina's Lament is by Sarah Chorn who I've known for years online and who was the first to sign up to help out with the SPFBO. I did start the book but didn't finish. Sarah's writing is for me rather like Janny Wurts' prose - which has a large following. It's something I can enjoy in small bites but struggle with on the large scale.

Return of the Daud & The Corroded Man, by Adam Christopher are not books I've read. They came out in the twenty-teens and since then he's written some Stranger Things fiction. I read the highly acclaimed Piranesi last year after really liking the Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel TV series based on her more famous book. I was less impressed than most people seem to be, but the prose was very good and the book got off to a fascinating start.

Ready Player One hit all the right buttons for me as a teenager of the 80s into video games and D&D. I've never understood how it did so well with people of other generations and interests. Ready Player Two seems to have been poorly received. On Goodreads book 1's average of 4.23 slips to 3.43 for book 2.

And finally, Seeds of Earth and Shadowkings by Michael Cobley are not books I've read. Scifi from 14 years ago and fantasy from 22 years ago respectively. 3.42 and 3.14 repectively on Goodreads.

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