I find that some books I like very much but just don’t have much to say about them. That was the case with two books that I read this month. Mostly a slow month but I think July is going to be big.
Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson is, in my opinion the second best book in the series so far – right after Midnight Tides. I know that my opinion is suspect because these two seem to be the least favorite by consensus. Erikson tells another sweeping epic that would not seem out of place amongst any of the Greek or Hebrew classics. The convergence of characters from hundreds of plot lines all comes together masterfully and tragically. The ending is so well done and so powerful for so many characters that this book feels like the end of the series. I would be perfectly content if there were no other books after this one. This leaves me somewhat dubious about the three remaining 1200-page novels.
Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber I have mixed feelings about. I really like the idea that this book represents – i.e. mixing other genres with Star Wars by using authors that write in those genres. Joe Schreiber writes horror books that, I understand are pretty good (I don’t read horror books so I don’t know this first-hand). I think it would be nice to see a really good Star Wars murder mystery, or a Star Wars courtroom drama etc. Anyway, my thoughts on this book itself are… eh. It’s a terrible Star Wars book… but maybe it’s a good horror story… I don’t know. It’s a lot more gory than any other Star Wars book I’ve read and it suffers from the same fundamental flaw that all horror that I’ve encountered has – the protagonists are too stupid to stop the horrific event when they had plenty of chances and knowledge (in this case the doctor could have employed bacta treatment, a procedure and resource that every medical facility in Star Wars has, and which cures EVERYTHING, and the disease that turned everybody into zombies would never have made it anywhere). I didn’t ever really feel any tension in this book; it never scared me or moved me in any way. I also wasn’t bored out of my mind, so…
The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Volume I by Joseph Smith is exactly that. It is what it is. If you’re interested in church history then read it, if not, then don’t. It is an exhaustive account of the first few years of the church and will tell you things you never even knew you didn’t know – so called “unknown unknowns” in the words of Donald Rumsfeld.
A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham is one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read. His prose carries so much meaning in every sentence that the book feels more like poetry to be experienced for its beauty than anything. Combine that with an intense murder mystery in a brilliantly realized fantasy world with completely real characters and this book is near perfect.