DrMitch's 2019 reads


In 2018 I didn't record what I read. I found myself regretting that. So in 2019, I will keep track.

1: The Annihilation Score (Charles Stross)
I've slipped a few books behind in the Laundry series (which is essentially a take on the Cthulhu mythos crossed with the spy genre crossed with bureaucratic workplace comedy in the British civil service), and I'm not sure why as I really enjoy it. Still, more to read! This one shifts protagonist to the point of view of Mo, wife of Bob the previous antagonist, and presents a deconstructivist take on superheroes in the Laundry universe (in a way which works surprisingly well), along with the King in Yellow. Good stuff.


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    Like you, I slipped almost to nothing by way of actual reviews in 2018, settling instead for the cheap and easy alternative of just leaving a star rating on Goodreads. A bit lazy, really. It would be a definite step up for me to leave a paragraph here, so thanks for the prompt (and the review, especially as I knew nothing about that series before reading this).

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    I also fell off the review wagon in the second half of the year. I read some cool books (like The Afterlife of George Cartwright ) that I would have liked to share, but was too busy writing other things, and porting my older G+ reviews over here, to review them. But I'll get back on top of them now with the new year, and with new books.

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    2: Cibola Burn (James S.A. Corey)
    Book four of the Expanse series. I'm not sure what to say about this... it's a space thriller, with some hardish SF trappings, good characters, and tropes from other genres. It was an extremely gripping read, and I felt myself hating the villain in his combination of pettiness and fanaticism, and ability to infect others with both.

    There's a formula to the Expanse books so far which keeps me from wanting to read the whole series all at once, but that's an observation rather than a criticism; I definitely plan to carry on reading them. Just not straight away.

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    3: Trigger Warning (Neil Gaiman)

    It's a book of Neil Gaiman short stories. I read many of these in 2017, but I'll post it here as I finished the collection this week. As with Gaiman's other collections, there's a mixture in terms of theme and in terms of quality. The shorter pieces tend to just evoke a single mood, with mixed success.

    But there were more than a few which were very good. Highlights for me were the fractured fairy tale of The Sleeper and the Spindle, the Isle of Skye folk tale that is The Truth is a Cave in The Black Mountains, a Doctor Who story, Nothing O'Clock, the fun of The Thin White Duke which reminds me of Moorcock as well as David Bowie, Click Clack the Rattlebag for a fun horror gimmick, a Vance pastiche in An Invocation of Incuriosity, and another tale featuring Shadow from American Gods in Black Dog. Oh, and a weird Sherlock Holmes tale, The Case of Death and Honey.

    Apart from the highlights I could take or leave it, but typing this I realise there were quite a few highlights.

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    4: The Fifth Season (N.K. Jemisin)

    I was impressed with this. A fantasy novel which is original in its concepts, doesn't drown the reader with dull detail, and is genuinely good. A rarity for me, especially with more recent fantasy books. The concept is a world wracked by earthquakes, and sometimes ruined by a "season" where they get out of hand and create sufficient atmospheric disturbances to bring on a years-long winter. And orogenes- those who have control over the earth, and are feared and hated for the danger of their power.

    It's cleverly and engagingly written, in a style which reminds me a little of Iain M. Banks. It engaged me; the book's the first of a trilogy, and I feel a bit cheated it ended on a cliffhanger, though it did solve other mysteries, But it's pretty relentlessly grim, meaning I'm not likely to read the next right away, though part of me is very tempted.

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