imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (wolf)
So fandom is very happy with the fanon that Thorin has a horrid sense of direction, which I am perfectly willing to go along with, but I think we’re all missing a very important point:

Thorin’s grand plan can be boiled down to, “I hope the dragon is dead.”

No, wait, it’s worse. Because at the very beginning of the book he doesn’t have the map or the key, so his grand plan is actually, “I hope the dragon is dead, because we’re gonna be walking right in the front gate.”

And then once he does have the map and the key, well, the plan changes to, “I hope the dragon is dead, but if it isn’t, I will have my itty bitty hobbit burglar carry several tons of gold out of the mountain, without the dragon noticing, and then we will carry that gold across open ground to a floating city, and then figure it out from there.”

Um. What?

And then you add to this the fact that he has no maps that we ever see of the land between the Blue Mountains and Erebor, that he has a blood feud with the king of the Mirkwood elves, that he is genetically predisposed to gold-induced insanity, and that the only support he appears to have is twelve dwarves (and a very cranky hobbit and a disappearing wizard) – well. (Yes, yes, Dain of the Iron Hills shows up to support him, but that’s only after the dragon is dead.)

This is not a well-thought-out plan, is what I’m saying.

Admittedly this seems to run in the family, since the previous generation’s grand plan was, “Let’s go drive the orcs out of Moria! Which has a Balrog in it!” Even leaving aside the vast armies of orcs and goblins, why would you want to re-conquer someplace which has got a giant evil fire-demon living in it? The damned thing is even called Durin’s Bane!

Hereditary monarchy is all well and good if that’s how your fantasy race happens to be wired, but someone needs to whap the collective Durins upside the head and explain that Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance and that dragons and Balrogs are bad to face without proper preparation.

And Thorin needs a better plan.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
So last night I finished reading Dragonsong to my fiance (I read, he does the dishes, everyone is happy), and despite his utter and complete lack of slash goggles, we both agreed on two pairings: Elgion/Alemi and Menolly/Robinton. (My personal OT3 is Sebell/Menolly/Robinton, but we haven't gotten to Sebell yet.)

So now my headcanon is that Alemi takes over as Sea Holder when Yanus dies, and he and Elgion make Half-Circle the most LGBT friendly Hold on Pern. Because they are adorable.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)

In Fire Forged, edited by David Weber. Hurrah Honor Harrington &co! 4/5

Kings of the North, by Elizabeth Moon. More of the side characters from Paksenarrion. Moar plz? 5/5

Thirteenth Child, by Patricia C. Wrede. Fascinating take on magic and superstition, and I wait impatiently for the sequel. 4.5/5

A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Re-read. Burnett writes such saccharine stuff, but sometimes you just want sugar... 4/5

The Rogue Crew, by Brian Jacques. Not his best. He can't really be dead. Wibble!!! 3/5

Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente. Absolutely fascinating. No idea how to describe it. 4.5/5

The Fresco, by Sheri S. Tepper. Re-read. Tepper is fun feminist fiction (ooo alliteration) and I use her as comfort reading. 4/5

Unnatural Issue, by Mercedes Lackey. Most recent in the Elemental Masters series, not quite as good as some of the others, ending a little too abrupt, but a good creepy adaptation of the source tale. Still like Deerskin better. 4/5

Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. Re-read. So good! 5/5

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. Re-read. Meg is more annoying than I remember her being. 4.5/5

Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce. Re-read. I love Kel so much. 4.5/5

Your Call Is (Not That) Important To Us, by Emily Yellin. Fascinating non-fiction. I work in customer service, and gods it is not fun. 4/5

The Snow Queen, by Mercedes Lackey. Re-read. Good but not her best. Ending far too abrupt. 3.5/5

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Re-read. Not as saccharine as some of her other stuff - Mary and Colin are quite satisfyingly bratty. Dickon is just too good to be true, though. 4/5

Knives and Swords, A Visual History. I love Japanese swords so much. They're beautiful - just this one long sweep of unadorned steel, made for one purpose and utterly perfect for it. Ok, fine, that purpose is killing people, but damn they're pretty. 4.5/5

Exile's Honor, by Mercedes Lackey. Re-read. Oh, Alberich, I love you so. 4.5/5

Pandora's Planet, by Christopher Anvil. Another example of the fuck-with-humans-and-you're-screwed genre of science fiction. Deeply weird ending, though. 3/5

The Dark Mirror, by Juliet Marillier. Oooo Celtic mythology/history/fiction! So pretty! Read this and immediately went and ordered the sequels. Only one major "Oh God So Stupid" moment. 4/5

Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss. Lots of fun, but my suspension of disbelief died when the kangaroos showed up on the same island as the ostriches, in the Atlantic Ocean. Um. No. 3.5/5

Six Moon Dance, by Sheri S. Tepper. Re-read. Comfort feminist fiction with flipped gender roles. Whee! 4/5

Blade of Fortriu, by Juliet Marillier. Sequel to Dark Mirror, above. Also very good. 4/5

The Well of Shades, by Juliet Marillier. Sequel to Blade, above. Awwww Faolan! 4.5/5

Not that anyone's curious, but the reason nothing's ever below a 3/5 is because if it's that bad I just never finish it.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
-Lightborn, by Alison Sinclair. Very interesting world, and I want to know more about how the Curse came to be. Perhaps I should read the prequel. 3.5/5

-If I Pay Thee Not In Gold, by Mercedes Lackey and Piers Anthony. Re-read. Has undeniable flaws but I am willing to forgive a lot for hot transgender demons and a reasonably awesome heroine. 3.5/5

-Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins. Good, though not quite as good as the first two. Still, a satisfying ending all round, with moments of true pathos and suspense. 4.5/5

-Tortall and Other Lands, by Tamora Pierce. I love the Shang Ostrich, or whoever she turns out to be! 4/5

-Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach. Non-fiction. Absolutely fascinating. I do love her writing! 4/5

-Birthmarked, by Caragh M. O'Brien. Very interesting all round. I hope there's a sequel. 4/5

-A Companion to Wolves, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear. Re-read. I love this one every time I read it and there's a sequel coming out soon! 4.5/5

-The Tide of Victory, by Eric Flint and David Drake. Re-read. Go Belisarius go! 4/5

-The Dance of Time, by Eric Flint and David Drake. Re-read. Also a good one, though there's a touch too much obvious tying-up-loose-ends. Ending always makes me cry. 4.5/5

-If He's Wicked, by Hannah Howell. Re-read. Oh, romance novels, sometimes I love you. Only when you are not too utterly horrid, though. Howell usually manages it. 3.5/5
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
-The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, edited by Patricia Monaghan. This was the only 'new' book I read this month, and it was fascinating. So many cool stories! Can we bring back goddess-worship please? 4/5

-A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Re-read. Apart from the really objectionable racism in the introductory chapter, this book was, as ever, lots and lots of fun. 4/5

-The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley. Re-read. I read this one aloud to Best Beloved, and it is one of my favorite books in all of ever. <3. 5/5

-To Sail Beyond the Sunset, by Robert Heinlein. Re-read. I like Heinlein, though sometimes the sexism is a little strong. And I like Maureen, who is kinda awesome. 3.5/5

-Stealing Fire, by Jo Graham. Re-read. Yes, again. Yes, I love this book. 5/5

-Black Ships, by Jo Graham. Re-read. Also a very good book. 4.5/5

-Bonk, by Mary Roach. Re-read. Non-fiction exploration of the scientific side of sex. Alternately hilarious, educational, and cringe-inducing. 4.5/5

-Tiger Eye, by Marjorie M. Liu. Re-read. Fun escapist fantasy with shapeshifters! 4/5

-Pegasus, by Robin McKinley. Oh wait, another new book! Where is the sequel? Where is my SEQUEL? Wibble! 4.5/5

-Dragonsong, by Anne McCaffrey. Re-read. Menolly is adorable! 4/5

-Dragonsinger, by Anne McCaffrey. Re-read. Menolly is still adorable, and I ship Robinton/Menolly/Sebell like no one's business. 4.5/5
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
-We Few, by David Weber and John Ringo. Re-read. I like space opera, and I like against-all-odds forlorn-hope type of books, and this is both. 4/5

-The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. WOW, is this long! But awfully interesting, and waiting for the sequel is going to be really painful 5/5

-My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. Re-read. So pretty! And the falcon! 4/5

-The Hob's Bargain, by Patricia Briggs. romances, and the supernatural, but I wasn't sure about this one. 3 and a half/5 (maybe I should switch to out of 10?)

-The Firebird, by Mercedes Lackey. Re-read. I love this one. The hero visibly grows up, and I like fairytales with a twist. 4 and a half/5

-Freedom's Landing, by Anne McCaffrey. Re-read. Good fluff, very against-all-odds humans-against-aliens mind candy. 3 and a half/5

-Asterix the Legionary, by R. Goscinny and A. Uderzo. ASTERIX THE GAUL!!! He is all kinds of awesome. 4/5

-Through Wolf's Eyes, by Jane Lindskold. Re-read. I like Firekeeper a lot, though I wish the series would find an ending... 4 and a half/5

-Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls, by Jane Lindskold. Re-read. Very interesting take on magical thinking and madness. Lindskold writes some really good stuff. 4 and a half/5

-The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. Re-read. This time I read it aloud to Best Beloved, so we could both enjoy it. I want to be Aerin when I grow up! 5/5

-Birth Day, by Dr. Mark Sloan. Very interesting nonfiction book on childbirth through the ages. 4 and a half/5

-The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. glad I read this but now I want to stay home and never come out again because people are evil. 4/5
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
-Stealing Fire, by Jo Graham. Yes, a re-read; I re-read books constantly. Sometimes people are baffled by this. I still think this book is awesome. 5/5

-Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien. Very cute, even if the gender roles are a bit iffy. 4/5

-The Darwin Awards, by Wendy Northcutt. Gods, people are stupid. Like, how did we manage to get out of the primordial ooze, stupid. 3/5

-Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay. Still lovely. Still immensely long. 4/5

-Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. Very, very good, and I am still waiting for the next one to come in at the library. 4/5

-Chalice, by Robin McKinley. Adorable. Wonderful. Basically I love everything McKinley's ever written. When is the library going to get Pegasus? 4/5

-Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See. I only got halfway through this, because I have a limited tolerance for "something horrible is going to happen and I'm not going to tell you about it yet"...which was going on for the whole first half of the book. Unfinished.

-Travels of Thelonius: The Fog Mound, by Susan Schade and Jon Buller. Very cute, half novel, half graphic novel, and the main character's name is an appalling pun. He's a chipmunk, you see... 4/5

-A Little Book of Language, by David Crystal. I only got halfway through this one, too, because he kept talking down to me. Patronization, I do not want. Otherwise interesting. Unfinished.

-King of Sword and Sky, by C.L. Wilson. Very enjoyable mind candy, no redeeming social value, characters inches from Mary Sues...absolutely wonderful for the days you don't want to think. I want to read the next one. 3/5

-Wind Rider's Oath, by David Weber. I like the characters, I like the plot, when are you going to come out with the next in the series, Mr. Weber? Come on, I'm dying to know why Brandark's so important! 4/5

...Which makes, I believe, 9 books and 2 half-books in this month. Woo!
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)

Ok, for starters, I really like David Weber's writing. I have a thing for space opera and aliens and against-all-odds battles and all that good stuff. So, going into Out of the Dark, which involves aliens trying to conquer the Earth and discovering that doing so is much like thrusting one's bare hand into a hill full of red ants, I was excited and happy.

And for the first three hundred pages, in which the aliens continue to discover that, yes, humans are bloody dangerous, and also they keep shooting at you long after logic dictates that they should give up, I was very happy.

And then the vampires showed up.

I disapprove of deus-ex-machina via vampire. I really, really, really disapprove. Once you have gotten your characters into a deep hole filled with nasty things, you are not allowed to then say, And then they can FLY! when there has been no evidence before this point that your characters so much as know that flight is possible. Once you have allowed the aliens to conquer the Earth and attempt to exterminate and/or pacify its people (and we all know how well the latter's going to work, now don't we), you do not get to go OH WAIT DRACULA and make it all better.

So yeah. Cranky Imaginary Golux is NOT AMUSED.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
-Owlflight, Owlsight, and Owlknight, by Mercedes Lackey. The trilogy follows Darian Firkin through his adoption by the Hawkbrothers and his growing maturity. The first book is very black-and-white, but then Darian is very young, so his mindset does not allow for much grey. The second book is my favorite of the trilogy, since it does allow for 'greyness' in its portrayal of the people, and also I quite like and empathize with Keisha; also, we get to see Darian actually grow up quite a bit, not physically but emotionally and mentally. The third book is more about the characters than their adventures - and I like adventures - and really we've already seen some of the same character development in the first two books, so it doesn't do as much for me, though it does wrap up a couple of plot arcs nicely. These aren't as end-of-the-world-if-we-fail as some of the Valdemar books are; the worst that can happen is that a small village is overrun, or a few characters die; the fate of Valdemar and the world at large is not at stake, which is rather pleasant. 7/10, 8/10, 6/10.

-Hawkspar, by Holly Lisle. I adore this book and keep going back to re-read it. Hawkspar is a wonderful protagonist, strong and stubborn and ethical but willing to make compromises if she has to; Aaran, the other protagonist, doesn't do quite as much for me, but he's charming and obsessed with rescuing his sister, which is kinda sweet. Political intrigue! Racism! Occasional betrayals! REALLY CREEPY stone eyes! 9/10

-The City Who Won, by Anne McCaffrey. I quite like the brainships series - the idea of cyborgs is an old one, but McCaffrey does it well. Simeon, our protagonist brain, is kind of a jerk, but he grows up substantially over the course of the books; Channa, his brawn, is utterly awesome: strong, brave, no-nonsense, and more than a match for Simeon. Unfortunately, Amos, the third in this little love triangle, drives me BONKERS. He's handsome and charming and clever and a condescending, misogynist jackass. Ick. But! Pirates! An orphan girl who's a mechanical genius! More pirates! They are wonderfully evil and I may want to grow up to be Pol t'Veng if I can't be Miss Susan. Maybe not. Anyhow. 8/10, mostly because Amos irks me so much.

-The Monster's Legacy, by Andre Norton. I know Norton is the grand old lady of scifi/fantasy and everyone loves her, but somehow she's never really grabbed me, and this book continues that trend. The details - surviving in the wild being really hard, and injuries taking a while to heal, and two-year-olds being kind of annoying, and seamstresses maybe not knowing how to take care of children, especially in the wild, especially when the only available help is wounded - are all very well done, and I liked the realism of them. On the other hand, the monster and the magical gifts and the sudden interference of the goddess were far, far too easily explained away or glossed over, and neither of the main characters ever had a proper freak-out about O GODS I HAVE MAGIC AND THERE'S A DESTINY WAITING FOR ME KILL ME NOW. Which would have been a proper reaction at at least two points in the story. So overall, 7/10.
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (Default)
-The Visitor, by Sheri S. Tepper. Again, I love Tepper's writing. This one is post-apocalypse with scientists and magic happening at the same time. Interesting premise, well-written, and the main characters are believable and kept me interested in them. A slight deus-ex-machina ending (...literally) but good. 8/10

-Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett. My favorite Discworld book ever. It makes me break out in squee. Miss Susan is, as ever, awesome; Lobsang and Jeremy are charmingly dysfunctional; and Lu-Tze is...adorable. I would cuddle him, but it would confuse him. Bonsai mountains! The incarnation of Time! Auditors! Chocolate! 10/10

-Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I keep seeing his stuff and being intimidated by the fact that he never writes anything under 500 pages and there are these huge hardcovers lurking on the shelves and eek. But this was engaging and wonderful. Tai, the main character, is sweet and kinda charming in an odd way; the setup of the court, and the political machinations, felt real to me; and the secondary characters and details were vivid and well-presented. The only complaint I have is that Kay expects the reader to remember tiny details from 200 pages ago so you get his in-jokes. Fun, and good for a long plane ride or something. 9/10

-Daughters of the Dolphin, by Roy Meyers. This is forty-year-old pulp scifi, which means that the only thing I can compare it to is Tarzan, a book I adore despite its many flaws (O HAI RACISM). (Tangent: While I was fine with the dinosaurs and the tailed people, I had to stop reading the Tarzan series somewhere between the doppelganger and the 'ant-men', because some things are just too silly.) This is the middle book of a trilogy, as far as I can tell, though I've never read the others, and while it's a perfectly good book to read while waiting at the laundromat, the flaws are manifold. First, can we have slightly less racism plz kthanx? Second, wow, sexism, we has it. Why would you assume that women raised by dolphins would give a good goddam for combs and mirrors? Or fancy clothes? Finally, while I have no objections whatsoever to threesomes in fiction or in real life, it does squick me a bit when the (heavily-hinted-at-but-never-appearing) eventual threesome turns out to be between the protagonist and his adopted daughters. Abuse of authority squick, I has one. The protagonist is a bit of a Marty Sue, too - dolphin-strong, uber intelligent, and absurdly handsome, and probably immortal!!!11! So, I grant you that, but so, so wrong. 5/10
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (bookshelves)
-God Stalk, by P. C. Hodgell. I adore this book. It's the first book that ever kept me up past my bedtime reading it. Jame, our heroine, is strong and brave and clever, while being scared and confused. She's trying to do her best, and it's not her fault things keep falling down. Honestly, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes high fantasy, or humor, or strong female characters, or...well...reading. 10/10

-On Basilisk Station, by David Weber. Spaceships! Honor Harrington is the protagonist of a very long series, and I haven't read all of the books, but her introduction here is marvelous. She's believably clever and strong-willed, and the universe Weber creates is interesting and plausible. The later books have the same problem as the Temeraire series, with things just getting worse as you go along, and some books being purely setup for the next ones, but this one is self-contained. 9/10

-Thrice Bound, by Roberta Gellis. I picked this up because I'd liked Bull God, and it's just as good. Again, a slight problem with a too-trite ending, but otherwise quite enjoyable. Hecate, the three-faced goddess of Greek mythology, is presented as a magic-worker who can shapeshift between the forms of maiden, woman, and crone. She's strong-willed and quite charming. I must admit, though, that her reaction (or lack thereof) to the titular three bindings elicited the same frustration in me as Harry Potter's inexplicable refusal to go in for self-defense classes after discovering he's the target of a murderous madman did. Nevertheless, it's a fun book. 7/10

-Grass, by Sheri S. Tepper. I have a great fondness for Tepper's work, though the number of dei ex machinae is occasionally depressing. This book, with its plague, its aliens (both friendly and non), and its stubborn heroine, is lots of fun. And the romance is indescribable, but in a good way. Tepper wrote at least one sort-of-sequel to this, but Grass is a stand-alone novel. 8/10

-Making Money, by Terry Pratchett. I love, love, love the Discworld books. That said, Moist von Lipwig is not my favorite character (that's a three-way tie between Susan, Vetinari, and Vimes), but he's clever and fun to read about, and Vetinari is really in top form in this book. I'd recommend reading Going Postal first, though, just so as to understand who everyone is. 7/10

-Nimisha's Ship, by Anne McCaffrey. It's always nice to see female characters with strong math and engineering skills, who aren't dependent on men for their emotional integrity. That said, the time frame of this book, and the told-not-shown nature of interpersonal relationships, make me wish this had been a trilogy instead, so as to explain things more fully. Still, spaceships! Aliens! Wormholes! All very fun. 6/10
imaginary_golux: adult red riding hood and her wolf (bookshelves)
A friend mentioned that she found my book reviews and recommendations helpful, so I thought I'd start posting lists of the books I read, with comments and personal ratings. I read a lot of books, mostly science fiction and fantasy. So here goes!

-Tongues of Serpents, by Naomi Novik. This is the most recent in the Temeraire series, and while I quite like Laurence and his high-minded dragon, as well as the absolutely lovely worldbuilding, I'm beginning to wish that something would be settled. The books tend to end on mid-notes or cliffhangers, and I really want Laurence to find someplace he can be happy. Nevertheless, it's a lovely book. 7/10

-Bull God, by Roberta Gellis. I have a fondness for Greek mythology, and this is a charming retelling of the Minotaur. Gellis's bull-man invites sympathy, and her Ariadne is a sweet girl, but stubborn when it counts. I quite like this book overall, but the ending does become a little trite, a little too easy. Nevertheless, Ariadne/Dionysus OTP! 7/10

-Stealing Fire, by Jo Graham. I picked this up because I liked Black Ships (see below), and then it blew me away. Lydias is a wonderful hero, loyal, brave, and god-touched but not scared by it, and it's lots of fun to see Alexander the Great from the point of view of one of his soldiers, and then to see the aftermath of Alexander's death from that same viewpoint. The treatment of Greek sexual mores is astonishingly well done. I adored this, and since I borrowed it from the library, I need to go buy a copy now. 10/10

-Black Ships, by Jo Graham. I grabbed this for a plane ride and couldn't put it down. Watching the Aenead from the point of view of a priestess of Death was fascinating. Gull, the protagonist, is wholly believable, and the tangled romantic relationships are never untangled, only accepted. 8/10


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