Let’s try this again!
Books I’ve already talked about
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley, and also here
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, and also here
Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Death of a Peer by Ngaio Marsh
Court Duel by Sherwood Smith
Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart: I liked this one a lot, probably best of the group of Stewarts I read this month. I think it’s partly the plot which (like Thornyhold) has a bit of the fantastic to it, and partly the setting.
This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart: I did also enjoy this one, set on Capri. I had never in my life heard that Capri might be the inspiration for the island in The Tempest, though. Everyone I’ve ever known about has thought it was the New World. However, that may be a more modern interpretation.
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley: Her Majesty’s Secret Supernatural Service–also known as the Exchequy. This was a very enjoyable book (despite the bits of guts and gore that occasionally popped up). Myfanwy is a nice main character and the plot zips right along. (I also insisted on pronouncing her name the Welsh way in my head.)
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly: For the most part I really liked this book–I thought Andi was conflicted without being over-angsty and I liked the weaving together of past and present. However (and thiss is slightly spoilery) I was less pleased by the time-traveling aspect. It came so late in the plot and seemed out of place and weak. In short, I didn’t feel it was necessary, except as a way for Andi to prove Amadou’s identity, and there was so little thought given to consequences (showing an 18th century Frenchman an iPod? Isn’t that like 10,000 butterflies at onces?). However, overall I did very much like the story and would still recommend it.
Bone and Jewel Creatures by Elizabeth Bear: Has the elegant language and dreaminess of Patricia McKillip at her best. I was less caught by the characters, though, and some of the motivations and reactions at the big showdown just didn’t work for me. Still lovely, though.
The King Must Die by Mary Renault: I meant to write a whole post on this and then it just didn’t happen. But I found it both a fascinating take on the Theseus story, and a huge influence on Tracy Barrett’s Dark of the Moon and Megan Whalen Turner’s worldbuilding in the Queen’s Thief series. (I am worried about what the latter means, given the whole king sacrificing self theme.)
Dune by Frank Herbert: The worldbuilding here is amazing, and I was willing to forgive the lack of deep characterization given the epic sweep of the book. But I could have done without the heavy-handed foreshadowing in the first half. After [REDACTED] [redacted]s, the plot moves along much more quickly and without the sense of looming prophecy that annoyed me in the first part.
Sabriel by Garth Nix: YOU GUYS. I know I’m super late reading this and all, and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before, because it’s SO GOOD! I love the world and Sabriel and the way it reminded me in parts of The Blue Sword (the good kind of reminding, not the cribbed off each other kind). I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Also, the awesome cover art didn’t hurt.
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima: This was actually the second time I’d tried to read this one. I got stuck in the beginning the first time and somehow couldn’t get through. Once I got beyond the sticky point, I found a really nicely depicted world with some fascinating characters. I admit to being a bit dubious of Han, but I like everything else so much that it doesn’t really matter.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart
Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart
The Haunting by Margaret Mahy
Death of an Expert Witness by P.D. James
Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Cruisie
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Airs Above Ground by Mary Stewart
Fast Women by Jennifer Cruisie
Funerals are Fatal by Agatha Christie
I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Faking It by Jennifer Cruisie
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
Cygnet and the Firebird by Patricia McKillip