Thursday, June 24, 2010

Last night I finished The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind.

This, the 7th book in Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, takes an unexpected turn.  Instead of focusing on Richard and Kahlan and their ongoing struggles against the Imperial Order, it focuses on two entirely new characters.  For reasons too complex to go into, one of these new characters is allied with the Imperial Order, against what we have thought of as the force of good in the other books.  In the end, the two sets of characters do interact to tie everything together.

This is an effective twist.  One of the complaints I've had about the previous books is that the protagonist, Richard Cypher/Rahl, has become a "superman", undefeatable in physical combat and immensely powerful in magical terms.  This has led to more and more ridiculous plot twists, like the Superman comics of old, as the author searches for new ways to challenge or limit his protagonist.  This twist removes all of those machinations and puts us back in a simple story, and it works very well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I missed one book that I finished just before leaving for Grass Valley - The January Dancer by Michael Flynn.

I'm a big fan of Flynn's, going all the way back to reading his stories in Analog.   The January Dancer is a different book for him, moving more into the area of space opera.  It also adds a different spin to that genre, by making the default culture an Irish one.  I don't think that has been done before.  Combine that with a clever new version of FTL travel, and an interesting plot about an alien artifact that has strange effects on those around it, and you've got another darn good book.

Like all of his books, recommended.

Yesterday I finished Feed by Mira Grant.

Feed is a post-zombie apocalypse type book, but one where civilization didn't fall.  It's set a number of years after a rogue genetically engineered virus starting converting people to zombie, where people have adjusted and go on with life.  Civilization works fine but has added many new constraints to deal with the possibility of continued outbreaks.

The protagonists are journalists (i.e. bloggers), a brother/sister pair and one of their friends, who get invited to cover a presidential contended and then get into trouble.

A strong read - more thought out than most similar books, with some surprising twists and turns along the way. 

Mira Grant is a pen-name for Seanan McGuire, who also writes urban fantasy under her own name.  I enjoyed Feed more than Rosemary and Rue,  since it did more to extend and surpass its genre.  I'll still probably check out the sequels to both books.