Current status: Done Wrong
— Eleanor Taylor Bland (mystery)
Dropped. Not really where my brain is at, right now, and this title is fourth in the series, I think it is. Going to try and find the one with the summary/case that was more interesting.The Steel Remains
— Richard K Morgan (fantasy)
Dropped... for now. Just not doing it for me. Story is okay, characters have potential, but it wasn't holding me. Havemercy
— Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett (fantasy/steampunk)
Dropped. See this exchange
for an uncharacteristically (for me) succinct review.The Hero's Walk
— Anita Rau Badami (literary)
GET THIS BOOK. READ IT. It's not slow, it's dense, but it's rich. Emotional without being melodramatic; introspective without drowning in navel-gazing. It's a story of mourning, grief, loss, and how even inside a family, we can still be strangers.
It's about an upper-caste (but hardly wealthy) man who disowned his daughter for marrying a Westerner and ditching her arranged marriage, who after nine years of distance learns his daughter and her husband have died in a car accident -- and his is the only family able and willing to take in the orphaned grand-child. It's about an eight-year-old girl who's lost her parents, her voice, her culture, and her moorings, in that order. It's about a grown woman who's lost repeated chances at marriage thanks to her mother's selfishness, but might not have lost her chance at love. It's about a life-long obedient daughter-then-wife who realizes she's had it up to here
and it's time to start declaring, and chasing, what she
wants. It's about a younger son, shadowed by his older sister and desperately wanting to make the world better but getting nowhere. It's a lot of people getting nowhere, but that's to be expected when you're not sure how to get there, or if you even have the courage to try. It's a gorgeous, thoughtful story, sometimes-sad, sometimes-wryly-humorous, always human and respectful and ambiguous towards its characters.
This is not a story to swallow whole, or even to chew up in large bites. It's a story to be savored, and a story that lets you in to be the observer in complex and burdened personal histories that make up this strange new land for an orphaned child. It is also not, I should note, saccharine, in any way at all: the grand-daughter is not some bubbly Westernized child who shows up and delights, charms, and changes everyone. The grand-daughter is suffering and struggling with her own grief for her lost parents that's just as deep as her grandparents' grief for their lost daughter.
Honestly, I can't speak highly enough of this story. The plot is simple, though the story gets right into it very quickly -- and then backs up, circles around, to give you a bigger picture to understand each character's reactions and fears -- so it's both slow and quick-moving at the same time. It's written without overly-purple pretensions at poetry; it's just deft and assured writing that carries you along, giving enough description to create the place and time. The craftsmanship in the writing is just that good, that you never stop to say, oh, how the author must have labored over this description! -- which is what I mean by 'pretentious'. The author trusts the power of her story and has the confidence in her own voice to give you the story as it needs to be given, at the pace that works, with the details that belong.
Really. Find a copy, read, and enjoy. The Devil in the Dust
— Chaz Brenchley
Currently reading. Figure it'll kill some time while I wait for the interlibrary loan books to come in, even if I'm less than crazy about the alternate-history/reality version of the Crusades. (The mention of 'Catari' in the first few pages as one of the heretical groups was slight giveaway; the next four pages' details confirmed it.) ( Also: commentary on Water Touching Stone, Companion to Wolves, and The Hero's Walk. )