Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some Book Nibbles - Which Should I Read Next?

I have a bunch of debuts that I've sampled lately, and I thought I'd post my thought on what I've read so far.

(I have actually finished a book recently. It is What Happened to the Indians by Terence Shannon. I'm going to be reviewing it for Self-Publishing Review, but I'll post a snippet here.)

The only current debut in this group is Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont. I'm finding it a bit opaque. After a prologue (the subject of a future post) that didn't engage me with any characters, I was ready for the official chapter one. However, it reads a bit like a vocabulary exercise. We have a "verdigrised helm" (which means its tarnished from copper), a menhir (which is an oblisk) and "almond eyes of burning gold nictitated to life." (I had to look that one up, and it means "to blink"). This kind of hits on a reader pet peeve of mine. I subscribe to the Mark Twain school of thought when it comes to readability, and that is to "Use the right word, not its second cousin."

The rest are older debuts.

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti engaged me immediately, and has the strongest hook of the group. It's about a young woman who delivers messages over a clockwork city by means of a set of mechanical wings. It opens with her rescuing the occupants of some sort of skyway car that is about to crash.

Innocent Mage by Karen Miller reads like a character development novel. I'm finding it readable, but also easy to put down. Its about a young fisherman who goes off to live in the big city. Little does he know his coming was prophesied, and that the friends he recently make are carefully shaping his destiny.

I'm actually about one-quarter of the way through Griffin's Shadow by Leslie Ann Moore. It continues with the story of Jelena as she goes to meet her father, the king of the Elves. Right away she finds herself in the midst of political manuvering. The repressed half-elves of the novel are fascinating, and there's a satisfying amount of conflict, especially from an unexpected source. However, there are so many point-of-views in this novel that I'm having trouble keeping engaged.

I've read the first three chapters of The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. It's about a modern-day girl who runs away from both her hometown and her ability to read lace, which is a way to read the future. She is called back to town--Salem, Massachusetts--when her lace-reading elderly aunt disappears. It is both readable and engaging, and I could easily keep going.

I snagged a copy of Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley at the used bookstore last month. Last night I read the prologue, which interested me deeply. (That's they thing about prologues. They work when they work, and they don't when they don't. Probably the worst prologues for me to get through were the ones written by Robert Jordan.)

I'm looking to read something non-challenging. Which one do you think I should read next?


Kimber An said...

The Lace Reader

Kat @ Fantasy Literature said...

Clockwork Heart
We liked that one.

TK42ONE said...

I would say The Lace Reader.

Of those you have listed, I couldn't finished Winterbirth. Innocent Mage is okay, but like you said, easy to put down. The Lace Reader is also easy to put down, but I think easier to read (and shorter too). Plus that twist at the end really gets you.

Jennifer Estep said...

It's not a debut and not on your list, but if you haven't read it, I'd highly recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. The best epic fantasy I've read in a while.

Tia Nevitt said...

Ooh, don't tell me anything more about plot twists!

Jennifer, that and The Blade Itself are recent debuts that I've missed, which I really want to read. Kat is going to supply me with it and the sequels (thanks, Kat!), but I'll remember Lies when I next go to the used bookstore.

Rabia said...

Clockwork Heart. That sounds like it needs to go in my TBR pile, along with the 50 other books currently languishing there.

Kate said...

I enjoyed Innocent Mage, but I did have to push through the beginning. It gets more interesting later, especially with some of the other main characters. I could have used a lot less of the character development at the beginning as you said, and I felt like it really only got to the point near the end.

Shelley/Book Fanatic said...

I agree about books that use words like "verdigrised helm". I want to enjoy my story and not have to keep my dictionary in hand! I'll be staying away from that one!

Tia Nevitt said...

I'll keep reading to see if the language eases up, or if the story is such that I forget about the language.

Thanks for the tip about The Innocent Mage!

Renee said...

If your looking for an enjoyable, but not to heavy read, I'd go with Clockwork Heart. The world-building is original, but not too deep, and the action & romance keep the story moving. :-)

David said...

re: Night of Knives - I usually agree about the language but in some cases it can help the atmosphere of the story. I haven't read Esslemont yet, though. Honestly, while I didn't know what "verdigrised" meant, I did know "menhir" and "nictitated." I guess it depends on what you've been exposed to (I know menhir from reading about Stonehenge and from Glen Cook's Black Company series, and nictitation from random animal/science shows on TV that refer to blinking.)

ediFanoB said...

I read CLOCKWORK HEART and I think you will like it.
WINTERBIRTH is the second book form your list I read and it is alos worth reading.

Tia Nevitt said...

You guys rock! Yes, I have been properly sucked into Clockwork Heart, but Winterbirth really calls to me, and I am not by any means finished with Night of Knives.