Sunday, October 16, 2011

And now we take a brief pause in our fantasy reading to bring you a little bit of non-fiction. Number 19 is The Jaws Log by Carl Gottleib.

I admit I had a moment of indecision when thinking about whether or not to include this book because I don't do re-reads on this blog, and technically, I have read this book before. But that was... 30 years ago? And honestly, I'm not sure I read it so much as just looked at the pictures.

This book details the making of one of my all-time favourite movies, Jaws. I mean, I already know a lot of the history of this movie and the trials and tribulations they went through making it, but this book was chock full of details that I still didn't know and once gain, I am amazed that this movie even got made, let alone be the increadible movie that it is.

I heard a nasty rumour not long ago that someone was thinking about re-making Jaws, and if anyone ever does, they need to be forced to read this book so that they know they will be shitting all over an amazing, hard-wrought, finely crafted movie that became a block-buster almost in spite of everything that happened. And there should then never, ever be talk of a remake.
Number 18 is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Yes, I broke down and read it.

I'm a little surprised at myself, mainly because I don't deal with post-apocalyptic-type stuff. But... I found this didn't bother me too much that way.

I'm not going to say too much about this book. I enjoyed it actually. As far as popular teen-lit x-over stuff, this is VASTLY superior to that sparking vampire series. The writing is a zillion times better, and we won't even compare the two protagonists. Hell, I'm sure Katniss could do away with awful old Edward with no problem.

Not too sure if I'll continue on, if I can track em down in the library, perhaps so.
Number 17 is Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. This is the sequel to The Name of the Wind. We pick up the story pretty much where it left off. In fact, it started the exact same way as the last book and I had to double check I'd bought the right one. But I had so off I went. We're back at the University with Kvothe. Of course he continues to get in trouble and eventually, he's in so much trouble that he has to take a leave of absence from the school. Funny enough, when this happened, I had been thinking that we need to get out of the University, and voila. Kvothe's lone noble friend has finally managed to attract what could be an extremely powerful sponsor for him. So off Kvothe goes to try and impress a man who's close to a king. I liked this part of the novel. There's some nice court intreigue, and quite a bit of romance as Kvothe also manages to run into his unrequited love, Denna, as well as help his patron woe an appropriate bride. The action then moves to the countryside as Kvothe is charged with to rid the neighbouring woods of bandits who are stealing tax money from his patron. With the usual fantasy small band of misfits, they manage to do so. I liked this part too. It was the next part I didn't. We then get this... diatribe where Kvothe follows a legendary creature of the Fae and becomes her lover for awhile. I don't know. I found this part rather boring. And trite. And annoying. And repetative. However, once he leaves and goes to the homelands of one of his comrades, it gets interesting again.

For the most part, I truly enjoy Rothfuss' world builiding, he's doing a lovely job overall, but I found so much about his foray into fae to be a mistep. It just came across as... too much.

We return to the University and I found by that time, that, like Kvothe, it was good to be back on familiar ground.

I'd also like to move the story forward in the narrative framing plot too. I'm sure we will, but right now, it's moving a little too slowly.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The next book, number 16 of this year, will have a very important footnote added to it. The book, The Magician King by Lev Grossman, is the first book I read in digital form. That's right, for my birthday, I got a Kobo e-reader. I won't talk about my feelings on the Kobo here as I'm still working those feelings out, but as I got it last Thursday and finished the book on Monday... I guess I don't hate it as much as I thought I might.

Of course, the speed with which I read it can also be attributed to the fact that The Magician King is a good book and a worthy successor to The Magicians.

When we catch up with Quentin and the other king and queens of Fillory, they're living the high life of... well, not doing too much at all. This lifestyle really suits some of them (Eliot and Janet), but Quentin seems bored and Julia, she's still broken. After a rather scary hunt for the Wishing Hare, it is revealed that things are not all right in Fillory and Quentin seizes upon this to go on a Quest. For he believes that a quest is just what he needs.

The narrative of this book is different from the last, and I found it an excellent departure. While most chapters deal with Quentin and his quest, the others focus on Julia, who was only a minor character in the first book, and tells the story of what happened to her and her journey to becoming an extremely powerful hedge witch. Of course, her story ends up being important to the main narrative as well, and it does all tie nicely together.

The Quest itself is simple, but not, just as all good quests should be. There is a lot of... coincidences, but that being a rather large trope of fantasy, it didn't bother me even if it did become predictable a couple of times. Grossman obviously knows his heroic quests, heck, there's even a harrowing of 'Hell' at one point.

The book ends up at a surprising place though. Well, it was a suprise and wasn't. It puts Quentin in a VERY unhappy place (whereas all those closest to him are very happy) and I'm not sure what that means. I don't know if there's another sequel coming or not, but if there is, I'm wondering if Quentin might go the Martin Chatwick route and if so, man that'll be a helluva read.