What are we reading these days?
Heresy by S. J. Parris. First in a series of historical mysteries starring (the later-burned-as-a-heretic) Giordano Bruno.
Paper Girls #1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, & Jared K. Fletcher. You know how paper boys deliver the morning paper on their bikes? Some of them are girls. And some of those girls have seen some weird, creepy, unnatural stuff around their town. Number two is out now!
Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu (incredibly excellent ending!). Highly recommend, yes.
First Second Press (:01) is really killing it with their publications these days, I tell you what. I also have The Undertaking of Lily Chen out from the library. Unfortunately I ended up not liking any of the main characters very much.
What’s #2 reading?
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. This one doesn’t flow as well as the general Discworld– it feels like it’s missing a final editing, which it most likely did. Things that would, in previous volumes, be more subtle are a bit more heavy-handed and overt. Things that would previously have been more streamlined stand out as clever short vignettes. But I still like it very much. The messages are good. The commentary important. And, importantly, I feel like it is a fitting ending for our relationship with Ankh-Morpork, as we usher it on into the next long-century saying our final good-byes to favorite characters. Ankh-Morpork will move forward into the future, even if we are no longer watching. If the last Tiffany Aching is as good, then I will be happy.
So we’ve got this Loretta Chase thing going, but we can’t really fully recommend her. Like… Lord of Scoundrels was a little problematic but a huge page turner. Mr. Impossible was entertaining and had a great pair of main characters… but… the author used every vaguely racist Empire Cliche when dealing with the people of Egypt; it’s painful to even think about listing them. Knaves’ Wager was a disappointment– a hodgepodge of other romance novels and characters and tropes but still managing to be dull. She relied on the tropes too much to fill in the romance without actually showing things (like the hero says, “you’re too X to be trapped in this kind of marriage” but nowhere in the book up to this point has she shown herself to be X to the hero, not once)– it was pretty weak tea and I wish I hadn’t succumbed to the $2.99 kindle fee. Most of the rest of her work seems to rely on the hero not taking no for an answer. Which the heroine is secretly fine with when he is rich and titled. The only difference between the hero and the villain in one of her books is that the villain is bad with money!
Two more quick ones from #1: I finished Secondhand Souls from Christopher Moore. You probably need to read the first book before you read it. And I’m in the middle of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, which so far is excellent. The very best part is the official Utterances from the AI.
Read, Grumpeteers, read! What do you have on tap?