Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ex Libris: January Books, Part 1

Obviously I'm way behind in my reviewing. That's because I'm also way behind in my reading. In a few words, my reading is getting in the way of writing and my writing is getting in the way of reading. Lastly, life itself is getting in the way of both. Gah.

But I cannot stop reading. I'm primarily a reader first before a writer and that means books-- lots of books. (Which is why I so love the anime ROD, the TV series about three girls with special powers and are quite fanatic about books. But I digress.)

So, without further ado, here are the books I finished reading in January. I do have to clarify that of the six books I read, there were two books I actually wasn't able to finish. These were Justina Robson's Keeping it Real and Thomas Wheeler's The Arcanum.

I was quite impressed by Robson's earlier book (Natural History) and I thought her latest looked impressive: a definite cross-genre that mixes science fiction and fantasy-- well, fantasy that has a solid basis in SF. In the future, a quantum accident rips holes in reality and reveals a number of dimensions peopled by elves, fairies, demons and elementals. Obviously, this has far-reaching effects in human society. In the case of one person, a half-machine/half-human secret agent Lila Black has to protect a mysterious elf rocker from assassins. Yes, you heard me right: an elf rocker.

Alas, the story was more cross-genre than I suspected, having overt tones of 'romance novels.' Despite my struggle to get through it, I couldn't get past the idea that a veritable killing machine so angst-laden could go soft-putty when in the arms of the said elf. That and I haven't read an elf book since I was younger. Some people will probably enjoy this book but unfortunately, it's not for me.

On the other hand, I remember when Wheeler's book came out, the concept of using historical and fictional characters as a team was quite popular, courtesy of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (plus the disowned sucky movie). So the idea of having Arthur Conan Doyle, HP Lovecraft and Harry Houdini as protagonists in one book seemed like a good idea, right?


This book bored me. As I read the book, I felt it was the equivalent of eating cardboard: you know it's not good for you, you've just wasted your money, and you just want to get it over with. So I quit half-way.



skinnyblackcladdink said...

i generally hate the elves-with-guns genre; shadowrun did it in for me.

there is, however, at least one elf in Justina Robson's 'Living Next Door to the God of Love', and so far, it's amazing.

i'm digging it better than 'Natural History'; though that fizzled out for me pretty late in the book, so this still might as well...

banzai cat said...

Really? Well, I'm still interested in the 'Natural History' books so will probably buy it when I have the money.