As you may have guessed from the title, I have not finished Mockingjay yet. It’s all Penguin’s fault! First on Wednesday our awesome paperback rep, Betty, brought me Half-Off Ragnarok (just a reminder, it comes out tomorrow!) by Seanan McGuire and I HAD to read that. Seanan is one of my favorite writers that I lived without for far too long. Heck, I even went to a convention that wasn’t in my fandom just to see her last year! Then, on Thursday I went to the store for my book club meeting and our hardcover rep, Dave, had sent me an ARC of the next Aunt Dimity book, Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well. I’ve been a fan of Nancy Atherton’s for over half my life. So, you see, I HAD to read that too (I’ll post a review a little closer to the pub date, which is April 17). And then that brings us up to today, so I just haven’t had a chance to finish Mockingjay, but I’ll get to it tomorrow night I expect.
Here are a few other things that are on my To-Read pile:
Red Sonja Vol 1: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone
I’ve actually never read a Red Sonja comic before, something about the chainmail bikini always put me off a little, but I was (and still am) a huge fan of the movie, Red Sonja, with Brigitte Neilsen. It’s terrible, but I love it. It starred a red-haired, sword wielding, warrior princess, what’s not to love? Ok, so it’s cheesier than a large pizza, but I never cared. I think I saw it when I was eight or so and I was mesmerised. (Other movies to do this to me: Labyrinth, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, and Clue.) So, when I found out that Gail Simone was taking over Red Sonja, I got very excited. I don’t make it to the comic store very often these days, so I waited for the trade to come out. Simone has also got Legends of Red Sonja running right now with guest authors like Tamora Pierce and Meljean Brook! I’m too impatient to wait for trades on those, so I’m picking up the single issues when I get a chance.
The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove (On Sale June 12)
This is an ARC I got from Carol, one of my Penguin reps, (again with the Penguins!) a bit ago. (Full disclosure; we have three Penguin reps and they ALL send me books! It’s amazing. Also, they have the best design department. Sorry all my other publishers, but it’s true.) This is an alt history where the history is very altered, in fact, it’s broken. Our protagonist lives in 1891 in Boston. However, the rest of the world is NOT in 1891. South America is known as Late Pategonia, Britain has not yet heard of Shakespeare, Canada is full of woolly mammoths, and most of Southeast Asia seems to have skipped ahead.
Around the turn of the 19th century time… shattered. The different land masses were cast adrift from one another in time, although they stayed (mostly) anchored in space. Only very brave explorers and cartologer risked travel between the ages. Sophia’s uncle, Shadrack, is the most famous cartologer in Boston and her parents were explorers. Maybe they still are, but they’re lost somewhere in another age.
When Shadrack is kidnapped, Sophia is the only one willing to go after him. She’s facing danger from the different ages, of course, but she’s also facing danger from the government at home as new restrictive and xenophobic laws are being passed to restrict travel. If she leaves, she may never be able to come home again.
Mary Robinette Kowal would be on the list, but she gave me some manuscripts for my birthday, so I’m pretty set for a couple of books. (Best birthday EVER!)
So, when my Penguin rep brought me an ARC of Seanan’s Half-Off Ragnarok on Wednesday there was much bouncing, squeeing, and general rejoicing. The book itself comes out on Tuesday, as in this Tuesday, March 4. So you can have it very, very soon. And you absolutely should go out and get it. It’s made of sunshine and rainbows!
Unless you’re afraid of snakes. And then… take a Xanax and read it anyway?
This is the third book in the InCryptid series, which focuses on the Prices, a family of cryptobiologists, and their quest to understand and preserve the Cryptids of North America. The first two books (Discount Armageddon and Midnight Blue-Light Special) focus on Verity Price, the oldest of the Price girls as she works with the Cryptids of New York and tries, with moderate success to protect them from the Covenant of St. George, a quasi-religious order with aspirations of eleminating all Cryptids from the face of the earth.
Half-Off Ragnarok leaves Verity to some much deserved rest off-screen and moves on to her brother, Alex, who has taken a position as a visiting herpetologist at the Columbus zoo. Of course, being a Price, his presence there isn’t quite so simple. First, he’s under an assumed name. Second, he’s actually there to do a research project on a tiny Cryptid known as a frikken, a feathered frog. Third, he’s running a basilisk breeding program in the back of the zoo’s reptile house. Oh, and his assistant is a lesser Gorgon. You know, with snakes for hair and a penchant for petrifying people when she forgets her glasses. (You may have guessed one of the MANY reasons I love this book, what with my site name and all.)
All of this is totally manageable. Granted, it makes it a touch hard to date when you have to cancel dinner reservations because a mythological creature attacked you earlier that day. And intimacy can be difficult when you have to explain the brass knuckles, guns, knives, and vials of cockatrice antivenin you might have stashed about your person. Which is why Alex’s relationship with the zoo’s other visiting zookeeper, Shelby Tanner, is on the verge of self-destructing.
And then, one of the assistant zookeepers is petrified. As in turned to stone. As in dead. Alex is sure that neither his assistant, nor his breeding pair of basilisks had anything to do with the death, but how likely is it that there are three sets of Cryptids around the zoo with petrifying powers?
Pretty likely, as Alex discovers when he’s attacked in his own back yard.
Alex and Shelby get drawn closer together at the same time that they are pulled further into danger as the petrifier’s body count rises. This was a delightful book all the way through. Seanan is, herself, a trained herpetologist, and her love or the reptiles shines through. Also, there is an awesome animal called a Church Griffin (cross a Maine Coon cat with a raven) named Crow who I want to wrap up and bring home. The Aeslin mice that featured prominently in the first two books have their own part to play here too. Hail! Hail the subplot of the mice! Hail! (The anthropologist in me desperately wants to interview a colony of Aeslin mice as soon as possible!)
Alex is sweet, funny, and just clueless enough to be adorable. Shelby is Australian, enough said. Added to that are more glimpses of the family as we see Sarah again as well as Alex’s maternal Grandparents. I probably would never have survived a Price childhood, not being the best at the physical side of… anything really, but I’m pretty sure the family reunions would totally make up for it!
Who should buy this book? Anyone who wants to have fun! Who should not buy this book? Anyone with a pathological fear of snakes. Or fun.
First, I want to thank everyone who is following me. I just hit 100 followers, so that’s awesome. (If any of you are spambots, please don’t tell me!)
Second, I’m sorry this is late. I took a really long, unexpected nap yesterday, so I managed to achieve very little. So, apologies having been extended, here are my thoughts:
As before SO MANY SPOILERS!!!!
-I actually liked Katniss when I couldn’t hear her internal monologue, when I could see the emotions rather than just being told that she had them. There were plenty of times where I said, “Oh, I know what she’s thinking there!” because I read the book. What was interesting is that when I compared my thoughts with those of my boy-nugget (who has seen the movie, but not read the book) we often disagreed about what she was thinking. The best example of this is the moment on the train on the way to the Capitol when Katniss sees Peeta and Haymitch talking in the dining car. My reading of that moment was something along the lines of, “Peeta is getting advice and will have the advantage, I need to get in there.” His read was more, “Ok, this is real and I need to follow Peeta’s example and start taking things seriously.” His Katniss comes across as more naive and gentler than my Katniss, who is working the angles and looking for an advantage.
-Gale is way more likable in the movie. Part of this is because they’ve cut Madge out of the movie, so we don’t see Gale get angry and bitter at a girl who has nothing to do with the system he’s raging against. We also get shots of Gale reacting to the games, rather than just seeing what Katniss thinks he’s feeling. So, he becomes a more sympathetic character. It also helps that the scene of the Reaping with Prim is so much more powerful and you’ve got Gale stepping in to protect this little girl that you’re heart is breaking for.
I still don’t much care about the romantic subplot, but I get why Katniss cares about him more now.
-Peeta is ok, but I’m not strongly attached to him in the film any more than I was in the book. He seems sweet? That’s about all I’ve got.
-The fashion was a disappointment. I still like Effie’s costumes, but everything else was… eh. The 1930′s-1940′s feel of District 12 was nice. I thought that was well done, and the Reaping gave me a very WWII vibe, which I’m assuming was intentional.
The Capitol costumes were much of a muchness. There was lots of orange, pink, and turquioise, but that’s about all I got. The pink dogs were an ok touch, but not as outre as I think they were supposed to be. We’ve already got extreme pet grooming here, so dying a dog pink to match an outfit wasn’t that big of a deal.
Seneca and President Snow were somewhat distinct since they were wearing reds and purples. They were also never framed next to a large group. The facial hair helped make him specific. I’m not sure how I feel about him actually being visible, since he never appears in the book. He almost comes across as sympathetic, when compared to President Snow at least. He thinks he’s putting on a show, he doesn’t really understand the rest of the political situation.
-Moving the riot in District 11 up to this film was an interesting choice. I don’t like it that much because I love the bond that forms between Katniss and the District when they send her the bread. It makes me sad that we lose that. I also think the wedding in Catching Fire doesn’t work as well when we already know that Katniss can’t do anything to make President Snow happy. The rebellion is too big before the first games are even over. (Again, this is stuff that didn’t bother the boy-nugget because he doesn’t know anything about what happens in the books.) I also don’t see why they would send them to District 11 on the victory tour (which I know they do because I’ve seen some of that scene in the trailer) if the District has already started rebelling.
-Making the pin a secret between Katniss and Cinna is interesting, I guess. I still like the connection between Madge, her mother, Katniss’s mother, and Haymitch that we’ve lost now.
-The time in the arena is compressed, which is fine. Rue’s death is so much worse since Katniss gets to think she’s made it in time. It’s kinder in the book that she got there just too late. That scene was, unsurprisingly, touching. I actually started crying in the very beginning of the movie when Katniss sings the song to Prim because I knew what was coming. Amanda Stenberg was fantastic. I just want to hug her.
- The rock camoflauge is pretty terrible. It’s impossible to take seriously, but I was braced for it, so I didn’t laugh.
- Peeta doesn’t lose his leg? What? Because… that’s a pretty big difference. Then again, his artificial leg never really comes up in Catching Fire, so, ok I guess.
-BUT! Peeta being basically healed when the games are over take some of the intensity out of that last confrontation between them. He doesn’t have his failing health to hold over Katniss to try to get her to kill him. He’s fine, so we don’t have Katniss’s breakdown in the hovercraft afterward, so that A) puts their romance on shakier ground for me (again, the boy-nugget didn’t feel that way. He thought it was totally fair that everyone bought the love story as presented.) B) I legitimately don’t know how Katniss feels about Peeta at the end of the movie. I’m pretty sure she thinks he’s a perfectly acceptable person. I’m sure she would now be sad if he died, but I don’t know that he matters to her. I don’t see her automatically including him in any escape plans as things stand now. I know, at the end of the book, that she cares. She may not be in love with him, but she cares about him. Even the blocking is more ambiguous. The interview picture I have up here – they’re sitting in separate chairs, which are specifically designed so that they can’t get any closer to each other. In the book they’re on a loveseat and Katniss curls up with her head on Peeta’s shoulder. There is emotional and physical distance between them.
Even the moment on the train is diffused in the movie. In the book Peeta actually realizes that Katniss isn’t in love with him and he’s torn apart, but he’s still willing to fake it in front of the cameras. In the movie, you get Katniss saying she wants to forget and Peeta saying that he doesn’t. That’s it.
Yes, my boy-nugget is probably right, I’m seeing a lack there because I know how it was written, but I think that I would still find it subdued.
-That being said, the emotion as a whole works so much better in the movie. Suzanne Collins never really convinces me about any of the emotions outside of Rue’s death and the freakout in the hovercraft at the end. Everything else feels dry and removed. The movie makes me feel so much more.
Ultimately, I think I have to give the edge to the movie. It’s actually better than the book. (The only other movie I have said this about was Sense and Sensibility.)
Well… I was not entirely prepared for the end of this book. But, I’ll get to that in order.
I’m going to do this as sort of a giant stream of consciousness babble, much like my chapter notations for The Hunger Games. There will be spoilers. Oh so many spoilers! So please, don’t read this if you haven’t read Catching Fire yet. Or at least seen the movie (which, I haven’t since I just finished the book five minutes ago).
First of all, I’m sort of surprised how long it takes for the book to get to the Quarter Quell and we’re well over halfway before the Games actually begin. I had previous knowledge that seriously, spoilers!
Peeta survived into Mockingjay, but I didn’t know anything about how, so I was pretty interested in how that was going to happen, since I knew they both went into the arena. I also knew (because who hasn’t seen those stills) that the arena involved water, which I’m assuming was a big ‘F*#k You’ from the Capitol to the Girl on Fire.
The love triangle that’s kind of there, but not really there? Yeah, I’m not feeling it. And, to an extent, neither is Susanne Collins apparently, because at the start of the book Peeta and Katniss haven’t really spoken for six months. Gale has kissed her once and then they’ve barely seen each other either. So, we just get more internal angst from Katniss.
Gale seems to be defined by his absence. He’s barely in Book 1, since Katniss is in the Capitol and then the arena. We don’t actually see their reunion, since The Hunger Games ends just as they get back to District 12. Then, in Catching Fire, Gale has to work in the mines, so we have Katniss telling us that they hunt on Sundays, but we still don’t see them interacting much.
Katniss goes through a longish bout of intense self loathing and I just… it seems kind of out of character for her. She doesn’t really seem that introspective, but maybe I’m just annoyed. It’s a sort of strange emotional note from a relatively unemotional character. And maybe that’s coming from the fact that Katniss’s emotions are told to us, but not really shown to us. And maybe I think that because I’ve been doing writing workshops. But, I’m told she has all these emotions, but I don’t feel them with her.
Ok, the situation in District 11 is really upsetting. I love what Peeta tries to do with donating part of their pension to Rue and Thresh’s families. Katniss’s speech is touching, and the salute from the District is really moving. And then the Peacekeepers (can we just call them Stormtroopers? They even wear white!) step in and it becomes unutterably terrible. We’ve seen a brief clip of the old man being dragged off in the trailer and it played through my head while I was reading this. Then I flashed back to other scenes from other movies where an old man stood up to a tyrant. The Avengers is really the only place I can think of where that actually works out ok.
Plutarch showing Katniss the mockingjay watch. It bothered me a little bit that it took Katniss so long to figure out that a) the mockingjay was a sign of rebellion, b) she is the mockingjay, c) Plutarch showing her the watch means that he is (theoretically) on her side.
The new Peacekeeper Thread arrives and, apparently, puts things back the way they used to be before Katniss can remember. Gale’s whipping is pretty bad, but maybe I’ve just watched/read enough historical stories. I’m horrified, but not surprised. And it was easy to think, “At least he isn’t being hung.”
President Snow is menacing and horrible. He smells like blood and roses, which sounds like something from Seanan McGuire’s Indexing. I have a guess on the blood, but the roses seem kind of strange. Maybe he likes them because they have thorns.
Bonnie and Twill and District 13. I don’t really know how to feel about them. I wish them luck, but I kind of doubt they’ll make it. I know District 13 is real though, that pesky foreknowledge again.
The wedding dresses were sort of interesting, both because of the gorgeous dress from the trailer and also because that was the only part of The Hunger Games trilogy that I’d read before. Last year, for Banned Book Week, I participated in a read-a-thon at the Desert Island Supply Co. here in Birmingham. We were shooting for 36 solid hours of reading. I don’t think they got that, but I came in in the evening and read from Catching Fire. I started right around the end of Chapter 11 when Katniss is having to deal with the fence. So it was fun to cycle back around to that.
The announcement of the Quarter Quell and the victors becoming tributes again wasn’t a surprise. I did go back and check the back of the book though. It doesn’t mention anything about that. I wonder what it was like to read this when it first came out and not know that Katniss was going back into the arena?
Peeta as the motivational and organizational force behind getting them all in shape is strange, but he’s assuming a leadership role, that makes sense. He’s the one with the charisma. Katniss has the guts and the stubbornness, but Peeta is the one everyone listens to.
I kind of love that Haymitch also outsmarted them in his Games. But maybe it explains why District 12 gets ignored and overlooked. The Capitol has kind of hated them for twenty-five years.
The chariot ride – “We star-crossed lovers from District 12, who suffered so much and enjoyed so little the rewards of our victory, do not seek the fan’s favor, grace them with our smiles, or catch their kisses. we are unforgiving.
And I love it. Getting to be myself at last.” Yeah. Katniss doesn’t like to forgive much of anything. I’m glad she managed to patch things up with her mom some before she had to go back to the Capitol. Although, I do wonder if the ‘no goodbyes’ rule was sent down by Snow or just something Thread thought up.
I’m so glad that Thesh and Rue’s families are ok! I was really worried that the extra shots in District 11 were for them.
And now Katniss is mad at Peeta again because he teased her. For the love of everything, woman, WTF? Seriously? You can’t take some teasing? Yes, Joanna was naked in the elevator because she likes to shock people. But you know Peeta would never do anything mean spirited (he’s kind of unbelievable that way). So, you know he’s not being mean when he teases you, so why are you so bent out of shape? To the point where you don’t even want to be friends anymore? (Although, that passes pretty quickly).
Katniss’s trick with the dummy during her exhibition for the Gamekeepers just struck me as childish. Although, that and Peeta’s painting do seem to make Effie check in with reality for a brief moment.
The wedding dress is one of the places I feel like the movie design really excelled. And, of course, the transition into the mockingjay is great. Dangerous, but great. I don’t think that the medieval-style gown that Susanne Collins described would have played well on screen. I happen to really like that style of dress, but it would have come off as costumey in the wrong way I think. Katniss trying to be Galadriel instead of being a strong, beautiful woman of Panem. (That being said, what is up with the jumpsuit during the Reaping scene? Jumpsuits are not cute. Maybe they were trying to work the arena outfit in somewhere, since they’re not actually using it in the movie?)
Baby?!? I did a spit-take on that one. Was not expecting Peeta to go there.
I’m curious if the tributes holding hands will be in the movie. I could see it being cut, but it’s a great scene.
Ok, now we’re getting to the Games themselves and it’s mostly a long list of agony:
Peeta and the morphling
Thank you, Finnick for retrieving the arrows after the monkeys. That made me happy.
The evil clock is kind of brilliant, but it seems designed to kill the tributes really quickly. I’m wondering what the original plan for the arena was, because it seems like that’s too much work to revamp in only the year since Kantiss rocked the boat.
Once again, Katniss is super suspicious of everything. Even I figured out that Joanna was removing her tracker, not betraying her. If Joanna had wanted her dead she would have hit Katniss with the pointy end of the ax.
The forcefield, the explosions, the hovercraft – once again, the end of the book is going really fast.
I’m absolutely on board for her plan to kill everyone before the Capitol can torture them. (I also had controversial views on Beloved when we read it in college.)
And again, we have the crazy anger. Haymitch betrayed her. Everyone was using her. Blah, blah, blah. Ok, yes, Peeta was captured and that’s terrible. No one told her the plan because, well, she wouldn’t have gone with it. I get that. It’s not really a Harry Potter situation here, where he has a destiny and knows about it, has accepted it, and should have been kept in the loop because it would have kept more people safe. Katniss isn’t prepared to be the symbol of the rebellion. She hasn’t worked in secret for it for years. She’s just a girl who got lucky and became a symbol. A very rash girl.
I’m not saying she doesn’t have the right to feel betrayed. She’s got the right to feel anything she wants to. But I find it mildly disappointing that that’s what she goes with. And then she tries to die out of spite, which I kind of respect.
Then Gale shows up. Mrs. Everdeen and Prim are safe, everything else in District 12 is gone. The End.
WTF? Again. That’s an ending alright. I hate cliff hangers, have I mentioned that? I get really anxious. Fortunately, A) I know a bit about Book 3, so I’m not freaking out, and B) it’s in the car, so if I didn’t I could dive right in. I’m not going to, because it’s midnight and I’ve got work at 8:00 in the morning, but I could if I needed to. Again, what must it have been like to read this right after it came out? With at least a year to go until Mockingjay came out? I’m pretty sure I would have gone nuts, and I’m not even sure I like the books.
And that’s the thing. I’m committed. I have to know what happens, but I still don’t really like Katniss, especially after the Pit-of-Despair thing going on at the end of this book. I like Peeta better, but he’s a little too good. Honestly, I’m attached to Fennick, Joanna, and Beetee almost as much as I am Katniss and Peeta.
I don’t particularly care about Gale, to be honest. And Prim is more a symbol than a person.
I’m sad about Madge, and Greasy Sal, and everyone else from District 12. The old man from District 11. Cinna, and the friendly tributes who died in the arena. But I’m still just not that attached to Katniss herself.
Expect my thoughts on Mockingjay later this week.
I’ve just started Catching Fire. I’m not going to do the chapter-by-chapter posts unless someone asks for them, but I’ll write up my thoughts when I’m finished. I’ve got Mockingjay in hand, so I can sweep straight into that when I’m done. This will post on Saturday, if I had to guess, I’d say my Catching Fire review will be up on Sunday.
Is there anything you’re wondering about my reactions? Anything I should keep an eye out for?
Do you have a favorite moment or costume? I want to know all about it!
I’m keeping this short because it’s late and I’ve still got some letters to write for LetterMo. So, have a happy Saturday!
Hey, look, it’s not another Hunger Games post! Instead of talking about teens killing each other for a rich and bloated minority, I thought we’d talk about books and the magic that a special reader can draw out of them. That’s right, we’re talking about Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. After rather too long admiring his cover poses, and blog posts, but not actually reading any of his fiction, I finally picked up one of Jim Hines’s books on an Audible sale and I whipped through it in three days. That’s fairly quick for me to get through an audiobook unless I’ve got a major car trip, which I didn’t.
I’ve been a fan of Jim Hines the man for a long time. Let’s talk a little bit about that before I get into the book itself. Jim does lots of posts that are interesting to me. He’s probably most well known on the internet as the guy who puts on weird outfits and poses like women on book covers. Which is true. He does. It all started when he wrote a post about how ridiculous most of the cover poses were for women on speculative fiction covers. To prove his point, he tried to contort himself into some of those positions. It kind of grew from there. There’s even a calendar now!
He even got John Scalzi involved! I appreciate that both men obviously put some effort into finding shoes. And it’s nice that Scalzi took it the extra step and got a wig. So, why do I love this man who is wiling to humiliate himself (and endanger his joints) in the name of feminism?
Here’s what Jim has to say about the whole thing:
It’s easy to point and blame the artists, but publishing a book is like making sausage, and there’s an awful lot that goes into the final product. The art director at gives the artist a certain direction. The sales department has ideas about what they need to make it marketable. Bookstore chains have been known to reject books based on covers they didn’t think would sell. Then there are the readers-if they keep buying boob-and-butt books, publishers will keep putting them out. And of course, all of this is happening in a society still struggling with sexism.
There’s a big conversation to be had here, and I believe it’s an important one. I’m both grateful and overwhelmed by the response to this project and the discussion it’s generated.
To be clear, nobody’s saying sexuality is bad, or that poses showing off a model’s body are bad. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could get cover art that
Was true to the book and characters
Didn’t routinely reduce women to sexual objects
Didn’t emphasize women’s sexuality at the expense of strength or agency
That just rocks. So, I’ve liked him ever since I found out about that. But, for some reason, I had a disconnect in my brain between “Hey, I love what this guy is doing!” and “Hey, maybe I should support him with more than page views and a ‘like’ button.” It’s weird. I’ll buy a video game I’m not even sure I can play (Assassin’s Creed: Liberation) because it has a female lead and my response to that is “Take my money so you will learn and give me more of this,” but it took me an incredibly long time to think, “oh, this guy who does a thing I like online where he is witty and entertaining also writes long books where he is probably witty and entertaining and buying them is a tangible way of supporting that.” Yeah, I’m kind of stupid sometimes.
So, I finally picked up Libriomancer, and boy was that rewarding.
The premise of the Magic Ex Libris series is that books, specifically the energy readers put into books, can be harnessed by magicians known as libriomancers. The more people who read a particular edition of a book, the more power that book has. Things that are too powerful (Harry Potter, I’m looking at you) have been locked for safety. There is an organization, founded by Johannes Gutenberg, known as Die Zwelf Portenære, or the Porters. Their job is to keep magic and magical creatures hidden from the mundane world. Everything goes fairly well for centuries.
Isaac Vainio is a semi-retired Porter working in a small-town library in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He hasn’t touched magic for two years, but when several vampires walk into his library and try to kill him, he dives into the books around him to fight back. Disrupters from Star Trek, monofiliment swords from cyberpunk novels, light sabers, ray guns, Excalibur itself; all of these are available to a libriomancer with a big enough library.
A dryad named Lena, and a fire spider named Smudge are his unlikely allies as Isaac finds himself unexpectedly back in the field. Vampires have been attacking Porters, Gutenberg is missing, and Isaac is the only one with the freedom to dive headfirst into the investigation. Unfortunately, all the signs point to a rouge libriomancer being behind the conflicts.
There are a few things I adore about this book (and the second, which I’m listening to now). First, Isaac reads the same kind of books that I do; fantasy and sci-fi. He references some of my favorites - Feed by Mira Grant, Beauty by Robin McKinley, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. In Codex Born (the second book) he references Tamora Pierce, who is one of my all time favorite authors EVER. Also, I cosplay. I actively try to bring images and artifacts from the books I love to life. How could I not love this idea? My ideal afterlife is to have a library with access to all the books in the world (Beauty, by the way, has just such a library. It’s even better than the one in the Disney movie!) So, the concept is a winner for me to start with.
The other reason I love the book so much is Lena. Lena is a potentially problematic character. She’s a dryad, who was pulled out of a book called Nymphs from Neptune. The (fictional) book was written during the pulp era where men were men and women were sex objects. The nymphs psychically imprint on their lovers and become the ideal mate. Want a curvy blonde who is sassy in public, but a complete sub in the bedroom? That’s what she’ll be. Want a domestic goddess? A sex kitten? A randy nymph right out of Greek myth? Do you want Xena the Warrior Princess? That’s what your nymph lover will become. Lena was literally designed to become the perfect lover.
So how awesome is it that Hines manages to make her a fully fleshed out character. She has desires and self awareness. He talked about her over on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog. Isaac is interesting. He is, in a way, the same character design as lots of other heroes I like; brash, self-sacrificing, and a total smartass. I like him becauase he’s a well written version of the kind of guy I like to spend some quality reading time with. But Lena is something special.