book report

November 19, 2010

Many of my favorite writers, most of whom are not prolific, as in they don’t automatically have a book or two out every year as a matter of course, have new books out this fall.  I feel blessed, it’s an embarrassment of riches, and it’s incredibly frustrating because I’d like nothing better than to shut off the computer and curl up with all these books and a bottle of wine and read read read.  But of course I have a rapidly approaching deadline, I’m behind on the manuscript, and going out of town again, and it’s the holidays…  So I can’t drop everything to read read read.

I’ve sort of done it anyway.

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold.  The Vorkosigan saga has been my master course on how to write an ongoing series.  It’s brilliant.  And this is the first Vorkosigan book in eight years.  I plowed through it.  And. . .oh boy.  As I described it to a friend, it’s 300 pages of a nice side adventure romp, and then four pages of kicking my teeth in.  It’s still sinking in.

Pegasus by Robin McKinley.  McKinley is probably my favorite author.  Pegasus is beautiful.  Heartbreaking.  McKinley does this thing in many of her books where her main characters are surrounded by kind people who love them very much, which you think shouldn’t make for a very interesting story, except there’s always this terrible subtext, never stated directly, of those characters telling the main character, We love you and will protect you as long as we can, but we know we can’t do it for much longer and then you’re on your own, and our hearts are breaking.  I end up sobbing through the whole book.  And Pegasus does this same thing, turned up to eleven.  AND THEN IT ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER.  McKinley never ends on cliffhangers!  McKinley never writers sequels!  Gah!  What’s going on!  Apparently, the second half of the story (not a sequel, she insists on her blog) will be out in 2012.  Gah!  (And I can already hear people saying “but you did the same thing in Voices of Dragons.”  Well, no.  Voices of Dragons has an ambiguous ending.  There’s a complete story in there.  Pegasus, not so much.)

Up next:  The Bards of Bone Plain, by Patricia McKillip, which isn’t quite out yet (it’ll probably be my post-novel gift to myself), and All Clear, by Connie Willis, which is the second half of her cliffhanger book, Blackout, which was out last winter.  So yes, two of my favorite authors released cliffhanger books in the same year.  What’s going on here?!?!


11 Responses to “book report”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    And here I was planning on reading Pegasus this weekend. I might have to rethink that now that I know I’ll be an emotional wreck and not be able to feel better for another year and a half.

  2. Jakk Says:

    I hope this dosn’t give you any ideas now… 😉

  3. Kathryn Says:

    I’ve read Cryoburn three times already – the second time so I could go through and pick up all teh references to what happens at the end that I missed on the second reading, the third time because it’s just so good, dammit.

    Very excited to hear that Lois is already abouht fourteen chapters into an Ivan-centric book, featuring Byerly and set on Komarr – she has been doing readings from it at her signings.

  4. Kathryn Says:

    Gah, that should be ‘missed on the first reading’, obviously….

  5. Liz Kreger Says:

    I love it when my favorite authors release at the same time. Its a cornacopia of riches as far as I’m concerned. But then, I’m not under a deadline at the moment. I just downloaded four books into my Nook the other day and cannot wait to delve into them.

    Some of my favorite authors are yourself, of course, Jeaniene Frost, Keri Arthur, Patricia Briggs. Can you see that I’m on a total UF kick? LOL

  6. izzybella Says:

    This the second time today that I’ve heard (read) mention of the Vorkosigan saga. And by “mention” I mean pretty much raving about it.

    I think this is a sign I should check it out.

  7. David Bowles Says:

    I have to admit I’m a Wheel of Time fan. If you have read this series, what do you think of the female characters in it, Carrie?

  8. carriev Says:

    I read The Eye of the World, told a friend who’s a fan, “There are ten subplots by the end of the book and none of them get resolved.” He said, “Yeah, they’re all like that.” So I didn’t read any more.

  9. David Bowles Says:

    I’m a fan, but not a SUPER fan. The series is probably about three or four books too long, but it is finally getting finished now. (Posthumously, though)

    The first six books are all excellent reads I think, but the series sags in the middle badly. Unfortunately, in this case, middle is about 2000 pages of text.

    However, the last three books have all been quite good. It is a series, though, that you have to get invested in, simply because there is so much text to pour over.

  10. Kathryn Says:

    If only Robert Jordan had kept the pace of the first three books going, and stopped the plotlines proliferating like crazy, he’d have finished the series before he died.

    The pace has picked up in the last two books, but there’s just so many loose ends to tie up now, and Sanderson still has to finish them all off before we can finally get to the good stuff. Still, at least anyone starting the series now knows that the end is in sight – another 18 months, and we should have the final book.

  11. David Bowles Says:

    The sagging middle somewhat diminishes the brilliance of the work, but it is still a brilliant work of fiction. His characters are characters I literally grew up with. RIP Mr. Jordan.

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