Thursday, January 31, 2008

2008 Books 4, 5, 6, and 7

4. Shade's Children, by Garth Nix. I picked this up spontaneously at the library because I enjoyed Nix's Abhorsen series. Shade's Children is so-so science fiction, I thought. It brushes up against questions about free will, human agency, and artificial intelligence; it's interesting, but the characters never seemed fully developed. (Or maybe I've been too spoiled by Robin Hobb lately.)

5. Harpy's Flight, by Megan Lindholm (the author who now writes as Robin Hobb). I enjoyed reading a shorter novel by this author. I dearly loved the two trilogies of hers that I have so far read, but Harpy's Flight provided a nice change of pace. Lindholm's worlds are so vivid and crisp, her characters so fully fleshed, that even a relatively brief story like this one is a delight.

6. Shaman's Crossing, by Robin Hobb. Book one of her newest trilogy. Hobb has created a new world (all 9 of her previous books, as far as I know so far, were set in a different world) and describes it for us as vividly as ever. Obviously I adore her descriptions and characterization skills; even more, I admire her ability to create and use political and military histories in her stories.

7. Forest Mage, by Robin Hobb. Book two of the newest trilogy. I should mention here the way Hobb resolutely pushes her protagonists through trial after trial until they are all but wrecked. Perhaps it's because I spent so many years of my life in a subculture that more or less ignored those kinds of stories in favor of Jeanette Oke-style rainbows and warm fuzzies, but I find this painful, true kind of storytelling absolutely gripping.


Shade's Children, by Garth Nix. Published 1997, 345 pages. Fiction.

Harpy's Flight, by Megan Lindholm. Published 1983, 202 pages. Fiction.

Shaman's Crossing, by Robin Hobb. Published 2005, 591 pages. Fiction.

Forest Mage, by Robin Hobb. Published 2006, 718 pages. Fiction.