So I think this last semester of school has been the most intense that I’ve ever been through. It wasn’t the hardest classes that I’ve ever – that still belongs to Probability – but it was the most time intensive set of classes that I’ve ever had. The amount of work I did each night seemed to follow an exponential growth curve as April began until the last week of April when I felt like I didn’t sleep at all.
Imagine my surprise when I looked at my list of books that I had read this month and found that it was one of my better months. I’m really not sure when I read these books, but I did.
The Immortals by Tracy Hickman – Hickman has stated that this is his favorite book that he has written. I can see why. It’s very powerful and several orders of magnitude above his usual fare in quality of prose.
The Bonehunters by Stephen Erikson is a true epic in the style of Gilgamesh or Ulysses. It is also epic in the sense that it is longer than the Lord of the Rings – by itself – and it is only the sixth book of a ten book series.
Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay is perhaps one of the best books I’ve read all year. I don’t really know what to say about it except that it is very well written, flows really well and is alternately funny, intense, and horrifying (in a good way). Plus it’s written by the guy that helped Christopher Tolkien finish the Silmarillion. That makes it certain levels of cooler just by association.
7th Son: Destruction by J. C. Hutchins – So it turns out – and this is a pretty major spoiler if you’re planning on reading these books – it was all Nazis. I don’t wether to be appalled at the choose-your-own-adventure-ness of the plot or impressed that he had the guts to have Nazis as the bad guys in a post-9/11 world. Or maybe I should just like the action and adventure, there was certainly plenty of that.
Star Wars: Outcast by Aaron Allston – Allston used to be great. He was funny, almost always, light-hearted, fun characters, interesting plots (usually quite intense). This book was rarely funny, had no plot and mostly had no point whatsoever. Even Han Solo was boring. Star Wars needs new publishers and authors. Lately Allston and Denning have spent their time coming up with ridiculously contrived plots where the characters are requisitely stupid and clueless (despite forty years experience saving the galaxy from… well, pretty much everything) in order for the bad guy to run around doing atrocious things for eight books so that Troy Denning can write a three-hundred page death scene full of useless plot holes. I know… I’m too close to the work but it just makes me furious that they’re so intent on churning out the next set of Star Wars novels so fast that they can’t stop and make some of them good. I guess I’ll just wait until Matthew Stover decides to write another one, now that Karen Traviss isn’t doing anymore.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a brilliant classic. One of my absolute favorite novels. This is the eighth time that I’ve read it and the first time that I didn’t read it in only one sitting. I can’t really recommend most of the rest of his novels, however.
It was a good month for books. I at least enjoyed most of the books I read and didn’t really hate any of them.