Mid-February Reading-Roundup

Let’s talk books today, shall we?

I’ve read four books since last I mentioned my literary life, and I’d like to give another go at the short-and-sweet review thing.

FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE AND FANCY SUITS, David Wong

This crazy-pants near-future sci fi thriller is by the same author as JOHN DIES AT THE END. I would not be surprised if the world in this book turned out to be the near-er future version of the world from SNOW CRASH–it’s that fast-paced, cyberpunk-ish, and wild. I enjoyed this book more than JOHN, as it has greater cohesion as a novel and says a lot of clever things about wealth, power, do-gooding, and superheroes.

INVASION OF THE TEARLING, Erika Johansen

I’m quite conflicted about this one. It’s the sequal to the hit QUEEN OF THE TEARLING, which I read in 2014 and didn’t enjoy as much as I wanted to. I have a hard time explaining why I didn’t fall head-over-heels for the Glynn Queen, but the best I can do is say the story is compelling but the execution isn’t quite there. INVASION was much the same way, though I did enjoy some of the bouncing back and forth between perspectives that occurs in this book to explain some of the bizarre world-building.

I dunno. I’ll probably read the third and final book when it’s released, and perhaps then I’ll either see the big picture and get it, or I’ll be able to articulate what bugs me about it all.

(But I will say that I freaking love the cover design.)

I, Q, John de Lancie

Ok. Yes. That John de Lancie.

So I’ve never been one for tie-in novels. I read a few as a kid but found them a strange experience–sadly this book wasn’t much different. It absolutely nails the voice and characterization of that trickster god of Star Trek, wandering soliloquies on time, reality, ages past, and all–but it just feels weird to me to be reading about these characters I knew first from the TV. This isn’t canon, it didn’t happen, and I had a hard time getting through the book even though it’s chuckle-worthy in more than a few spots.

RADIANCE, Catherynne Valente

This is a weird and wonderful book, one of those epistolary, non-linear narratives, a story told with the difficulty setting on HIGH. It’s alt-history, film history, art-deco, and classic sci-fi, all mushed together in a giant blob that somehow comes out looking distinct and intended. In some parts it’s a little hard to follow, as reality and fiction blend together in the narrative–but that’s one of the points of the book, that our stories aren’t cut and dry, with an easily defined beginning, middle, and end. It has a beautiful cover, and some beautiful language throughout.

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