Current Reads

Phoenix by Steven Brust:

I just finished this. It’s the fifth of ten books (so far). The main character, Vlad Taltos, is an assassin and well respected member of the House of Jhereg. That would be the House that runs all the organized crime in the Empire. He accepts a job from a god and starts a war and ends an uprising and frees his wife and bargains for his life and goes on the run. All just in this one book.

I used to be able to plow through 10+ books in a series with no problem. These days I usually need a break of several years after reading 3 or 4 in the same series. But Brust’s books are different. In the last few weeks I’ve reread the first 5 books in this series and I plan to keep on through the rest. I love these books. More importantly, I love Vlad. He certainly larger than life and extraordinarily capable, but there is something very human about him. Combine that with Brust’s nearly unparalled ability to tell a fun tale, and you get books I can’t put down. Plus they are very manageable size. I like that I can get through them in a few sittings.

Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle:

Madeleine L’Engle died on Sept 6 of this year. I was really heartbroken when I heard that. Reading her Time series is one of my first and strongest reading memories. When I found out there were more books after A Wrinkle in Time I was in heaven. Those books did what books are supposed to do, they filled me with wonder. I was hooked after that.

So On hearing of her death, I decided to reread them. And they stand up to it after all these years. To a point. The first two, A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door, took me right back my childhood and right back into those worlds she created. The third and forth books, A Swiftly Tilting Planet and Many Waters, slowed down. They both have a preachy quality that the first two don’t, even though the first two do have a very clear message. And Many Waters slows things down even more by being essentially a re-envisioning of the biblical flood story. It doesn’t lack the vivid characters and creatures that populate all her books, and when the action gets going, I do get lost in there. There just seems to be a lot less action, and a lot more unrelieved moral message. Despite not being as good as the first two, both books are still excellent, and I recommend the whole series highly.

Phoenix Many Waters


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