Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: ScarletBea on June 01, 2020, 09:48:51 AM

Title: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on June 01, 2020, 09:48:51 AM
Here it is: The what did you read this past month thread.

Come share your list and what you thought of the books you read last month. We're not looking for full out reviews, just a brief couple of sentences that sum up your impressions.

This is also not a contest for who read the most books, I know some of us struggle to find time to read one book a month, and others manage a dozen. That doesn't matter, so don't feel reluctant to post if you have read less books (or way more books) than others. This is all for sharing, and if you read anything, come let us know what it was and what you thought of it
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: cupiscent on June 01, 2020, 12:19:27 PM
Lady of Shadows by Breanna Teintze - sequel to Lord of Secrets, and not quite as strong, but a solid follow-up adventure romp.

A Conjuring of Assassins by Cate Glass - sequel to An Illusion of Thieves, a Machiavellian-Italian fantasy spy-heist, carrying on the solid character work and politics.

The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles - free offering of an oft-recommended romance author, this is a period-British-gentility gay romance, with magic added to the world. It was good fun.

The Seven (and a half) Deaths of Evelyn Hugo by Stuart Turton - Agatha-Christie-esque country-house murder mystery, add time-travel and body-hopping, shake vigorously. And, in my personal experience, slam the lot straight down because it's so very readable and I just had to know what the hell was going on. Really enjoyed this one.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on June 01, 2020, 01:37:13 PM
I read 4 books in May.

The merchant of dreams and The prince of lies, Anne Lyle - 5/5
Books 2 and 3 of her trilogy, this was a re-read and still totally enjoyable. Set in Elizabethan England and Venice, I'd almost completely forgotten the plot, so they were basically 2 new books hehe

The priory of the orange tree, Samantha Shannon - 5/5 (6/5?)
I loved this book! I loved the characters and what they do and think and their relationships, and the story just flowed, despite the 800 pages.

And a non-fiction one:
Friends like these, Danny Wallace
Quick re-read, waiting for my order to arrive, it tells the story of how Danny went around the world trying to find and meet his childhood friends again, as his 30th was approaching.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Bender on June 01, 2020, 03:52:38 PM
Divinity's Twilight: Rebirth - Christopher Russell

Steampunk book with magic and airships and panzer divisions etc. Was a good story, but a bit bloated and needs to improve on character development a bit. Decent read.

The Crafting of Chess - Kit Falbo

A LitRPG focused on crafting rather than fighting. Short and fun read with a good twist at end.

Along the Razor's Edge - Rob Hayes

Escape from dungeon prison type story, but lacks gravitas and character development isn't done properly. Has potential to get better though.

Flame (Awaken Online: Tarot #2) - Travis Bagwell

LitRPG. Don't bother.

Ascend Online (Ascend Online#1)
Hell to Pay (Ascend Online#1.5)
Legacy of the Fallen (Ascend Online#2)
- Luke Chmilenko

One of the best LitRPG's I've read. Good and fun storytelling.

Soulkeeper (Travail Online #1) - Brian Simons

LitRPG. Don't bother

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City - K.J Parker

Meh. A fun/sarcastic narrative that doesn't fit well with the theme. Kinda contrived plot with a climax that still angers me.

Forging Hephaestus - Drew Hayes

Very good superhuman book. Good worldbuilding, characters and taut story. Loved it.

Born (The Dire Saga, #1)
Seed (The Dire Saga, #2)
Time (The Dire Saga, #3)
- Andrew Seiple

Another good superhuman series. The first person referring to herself as third person type narrative might be annoying to some, but it has a decent plot, characters.

Network Effect (Murderot #5) - Martha Wells

Another cracking outing from Murderbot. Brilliant!

The Indestructibles - Matthew Phillion

Decent superhuman book. Nothing special.

Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Doctor_Chill on June 01, 2020, 04:06:55 PM
Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells (3/5) - Probably the weakest of the three so far.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (3/5) - Well written book, but I think it's trying to do two things at once, which means both are underdeveloped (push the genre by exploring the idea of economic colonialism while also exploring gender and sexuality in colonialism).

Divinity's Twilight: Rebirth by Christopher Russell (3/5) - Decent debut that, like Bender said, needs to be shortened through proper edits and a healthy dose of more character development. Fun Epic, High Fantasy with airships, though.

Just added An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass to the tbr, thanks cupiscent!
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Skip on June 01, 2020, 04:08:54 PM
Only one book this month, but it was hard-earned.

Ulysses, by James Joyce. It's a tough read, but I'm glad I read it. It wasn't so much stream of consciousness as torrent of consciousness. Being able to look up words and people and events readily did help quite a bit. If you tackle it, just don't come at the work expecting a novel. Lots of stories, but no novel.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: isos81 on June 02, 2020, 07:07:21 AM

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City - K.J Parker

Meh. A fun/sarcastic narrative that doesn't fit well with the theme. Kinda contrived plot with a climax that still angers me.


This one's for you @Bender  :)

(https://www.mememaker.net/api/bucket?path=static/img/memes/full/2017/Jun/3/20/cant-have-a-bad-ending-if-i-end-the-book-in-the-middle-of-the-best-part.jpg)
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Caith on June 02, 2020, 08:59:27 AM
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King - much closer to King's fantasy work then his horror, strong gender-based theme (as you might expect, given the story line). Great characters, well written and readable, let down by being about one hundred pages too long.

The Grey Bastards by Jonathon French- some interesting world building and good action sequences but too much clunky plotting and fairly one-dimensional characters mean it fails to lift its head above average. Tries too hard to be Sons of Anarchy instead of being allowed to follow its own path. Doubt I'll read the next one.

Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky - odd and rambling but enjoyable. More a series of connected adventures of the lead character, as he recounts his experiences in a prison at the end of the world. Slow in places but worth sticking with for the weirdness.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: The Sword in the Tome on June 02, 2020, 06:15:37 PM
Dark Moon, Gemmell (3/5)

Sword of Destiny, Sapkowski (5/5) reread
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Cherie on June 02, 2020, 08:51:46 PM
Cinder and Scarlet the first two of the Lunar Chronicles Books by Marissa Meyer, both solid 4/5 for me.

The Machine Stops by E M Forster. An unexpected 5/5 for a novella from an author I didn't know had written any scifi.



And I finished The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary: a recommended, but hyped light and fluffy contemporary read that did actually manage to cheer me up when I needed it. I sometimes read out of genre; variety is the spice of life and all that.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: DrNefario on June 03, 2020, 01:57:03 PM
I used The Machine Stops to sneak some SF into my English Literature A-Level. I did an essay about flawed utopias. I also included The Country of the Blind by HG Wells, and a story from Interzone, which was recent at the time, but is now over 30 years old. Sigh.

Anyway. six books for me:

The Moon's a Balloon - David Niven - Hollywood autobiography. One of the non-fiction books I often have going in the background while I read other things. Quite entertaining.

Pushing Ice - Alastair Reynolds - Good SF about comet miners investigating a mysterious alien event.

Spark City - Robert J Power - SPFBO finalist. Readable enough, but didn't really know what it wanted to be. Also really long. And if you're going to use fake swears, "fuk/fuken" seems like the worst possible choice.

Passenger to Frankfurt - Agatha Christie - My new least-favourite Christie. A dreadful thriller.

Lifelode - Jo Walton - Weird fantasy with a multiple marriage at the centre, and with magic that varies by geography. Interesting, but maybe not great.

Redeemer of the Dead - Tao Wong - Second book in the System Apocalypse LitRPG series. Entertaining and action-packed.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on June 03, 2020, 02:25:02 PM
I used The Machine Stops to sneak some SF into my English Literature A-Level.
@DrNefario , are you doing your A-levels now? You're really young, I don't know why but I always thought you were way older ;D
How have you managed things with lockdown?
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: DrNefario on June 03, 2020, 09:03:36 PM
I am way older, it was over 30 years ago. :) I just remember the story, and was responding to Cherie's post. It was basically the only time I got to choose my own subject rather than writing about a set book, so it sticks in my mind.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on June 03, 2020, 09:51:48 PM
Oh oops, that'll teach me to read things properly hehe
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Oli_1977 on June 11, 2020, 11:53:48 AM
In May I read:

King of Thorns - Mark Lawrence - exciting, harrowing, funny, sad, a great read.

Blood of Heirs - Alicia Wanstall-Burke - fast moving and also a great read.

just started Eye of the World - Jordan which I've not read before which I suppose is odd considering my usual tastes.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: DCuervonegro on July 03, 2020, 04:12:04 PM
Dragon Reborn from The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. Seveneves by Neil Stephenson.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: isos81 on July 04, 2020, 09:13:53 PM
Just realized I did not post to this thread.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: DCuervonegro on July 06, 2020, 02:55:41 AM
I heard The Sword of Kaigen is pretty good. Would you recommend it?
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: isos81 on July 06, 2020, 05:40:14 AM
I heard The Sword of Kaigen is pretty good. Would you recommend it?

I dropped the book in the middle in order to start another. It was very good until. @Bender finished the whole book and recommends it.

(It was hard for me to follow all those Japanese-sounding words, tho)
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Bender on July 06, 2020, 09:27:17 PM
@DCuervonegro I have mixed reviews on it. Here is my full review on GR.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3071663425?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

It did win the SPFBO after all, so there's much to like in it. It was just not my cup of tea as it was a drama with fantasy thrown in rather than vice versa which I prefer more.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: DCuervonegro on July 06, 2020, 09:30:43 PM
Oh, I understand. I will read the review on Goodreads. I tend to like fantasy as a backdrop, though. When authors make it stand out too much, like with their worldbuilding, I fell disconnected. Anyone can come up with fantasy elements, but making them work is where the "magic" is for me.
Title: Re: What did you read in May 2020?
Post by: Bender on July 06, 2020, 10:16:07 PM
Oh, I understand. I will read the review on Goodreads. I tend to like fantasy as a backdrop, though. When authors make it stand out too much, like with their worldbuilding, I fell disconnected. Anyone can come up with fantasy elements, but making them work is where the "magic" is for me.

Sounds like this may be right up your alley. Enjoy.