darlingfox: ([clamp] if lady luck gets on my side)
Remember that book challenge I mentioned? No? Well, I do.

I’ve actually read 10 books out of 16 (and many books that have nothing to do with the challenge), I’m just a really lazy reviewer. Today I thougth that if I’m not up to writing anything Deep and Meaningful, I could at least say a few words, a couple of books at a time.

Today’s theme is Patricia A. McKillip because two of the books I read were hers.


Song for the Basilisk:

A royal child escapes fire and certain execution by hiding in the ashes of the castle fireplace. Flame and death fill his mind and shape his thoughts so he is invisible to his enemies. His rescuers send him to the bards living on Luly, the music school on a rock at the end of the world. There he is called Rook. Thirty-seven years pass and his family's enemy again reaches out his hand to crush any remaining members of the house of Tourmalyne. Rook remembers his real name and journeys home. There he becomes an impetus for revolution and an inspiration for the royal opera, which draws the novel's principals together for a performance before the Basilisk and his family.
- from Amazon.com, edited a bit to shorten it

It was refreshing to read something that wasn’t about a young boy with mysterious past, a quest and a future as a king (mind, I don’t dislike that kind of fantasy: after all, I also read shounen manga which is pretty much the same thing). In fact, I was surprised to notice that the main character was a middle-aged man with an adult son and a failed relationship with a woman he loved. He had a revenge quest, but it was very different to read from an adult’s point of view. The book wasn’t about Rook growing up and finding his destiny as foretold by a prophecy. He was a grown-up already with real responsibilities and his final destination was his own choice.

The book and author get cookies from their treatment of women. Rook’s wife (if they were even married, I’m not sure) had her own life and when she decided that it didn’t go hand in hand with Rook’s she left him. And that was all right, no one judged her for that. Lady Luna was also an interesting character and I definitely didn’t expect the direction her story took. She was strong without being, well, traditionally masculine like so many heroines, and I really appreciated that she wasn’t made to be Rook’s love interest.


In the Forests of Serre:

Everyone in the kingdom of Serre avoids the Mother of All Witches, an ugly, powerful, and dangerous woman who lives in the Forest of Serre. But then the grief-blinded Prince of Serre rides down the witch's white hen and earns her curse. Prince Ronan believes nothing can be worse than what he has already experienced, but soon the curse destroys what little the prince has left, and he wanders lost and half-mad through the Forest of Serre, pursuing a beautiful, elusive firebird. His only hope may be the young Princess Sidonie of Dacia, to whom his brutal father betrothed him against his will... and hers. But Princess Sidonie may have no interest in helping a man she's never met. And her powerful, mysterious magician-guardian, Gyre, has secret intentions and desires of his own.
- from Amazon.com, shortened a bit

I didn’t like this as much as I liked Song for the Basilisk, but it was still a good read. I’m a big fan of fairy-tales and folklore, and this book was full of those.

It wasn’t until after I’d read the book that I realized that nothing had happened. Well, obviously a lot of things had happened, but it lacked... showiness? Some things that happened affected a lot of people but they weren’t flashy acts of magic or big battles. It was all very quiet and the fantastic things, talking foxes and such, were just an ordinary part of the scenery. More plot threads were left open than resolved. For example, spoilers )

The book gets the same cookies the Basilisk did: the female characters were well-rounded and interesting. This was also an another example of a rather unusual love story. The prince had already been married and that had ended horribly. He still loved his first wife but was, eventually, willing to marry the princess, who didn’t really know her husband even at the end of the book.



I definitely recommend both books. They're interesting and the language McKillip uses is so very beautiful. ♥ Sometimes I had to stop reading just to admire it, and I was reading the book in Finnish. I have a third McKillip, Ombria in Shadow, waiting for the moment I’ll be inspired to read it. I hope it’ll be as good as these!



This was also day 13: a fictional book in that 30 days meme I suddenly remembered...
darlingfox: ([misc] books)
day 06 → whatever tickles your fancy

Anyone up for a reading challenge?

Risingshadow.net has an interesting one going on and while I'm not joining them (no account, too lazy to make one), I thought I might try it here.

The challenge is to read sixteen books in one year, with titles that each fit one of the following categories:

color
animal
first name
a place
(state of the) weather
a plant
profession
time of day
a relative
part of the body
a building
medical condition
food
body of water
a title [as in, king or president etc.]
music term

For example, Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night could be a "time of the day" and Elaine Cunningham's Windwalker a "state of the weather".

I'm not counting anything I have to read, just the books I read because I want to. Rereads are also forbidden because it'd be too easy. I'm still unsure what to do if/when I read something with a changed-in-translation title: if the original has "food" in it and the translation doesn't (or the other way around), does it count? Decisions, decisions...

You, of course, are free to do this however you want to, if you want to! I just thought it'd be interesting to see what you lot read and what you think about those books if you actually review them.

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December 2012

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