Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 591176 times)

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Offline bob48

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3600 on: March 28, 2017, 08:26:22 AM »
Yeah. I have read it. Very spooky indeed. Gave me the chills a couple of times.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3601 on: March 28, 2017, 11:34:14 AM »
Well that settles it. Good enough for you Sir is more than adequate for me. Was it a quick read? My hardback copy is 600+ pages but if it's good I don't mind.
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Offline bob48

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3602 on: March 28, 2017, 11:48:19 AM »
Once I started getting into it, I couldn't put it down.

If you read it in a room by yourself, I guarantee you'll end up in a chair which does not have a door or window behind it......
'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'

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Recombobulate the discombobulators!

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3603 on: March 28, 2017, 11:49:25 AM »
Oh dear...now I gotta read it 💀
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Offline bob48

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3604 on: March 28, 2017, 11:50:47 AM »
Mwhahahahaha >:D
'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'

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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3605 on: March 28, 2017, 11:54:03 AM »
I am titillated!
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3606 on: March 28, 2017, 08:16:06 PM »
Officially have begun The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.
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Online JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3607 on: April 03, 2017, 07:08:18 AM »
So, in accordance with my continuing 1:5 plan, where I work in 1 page of strictly "fun" reading for 5 pages of "research/study" reading (also sometimes fun), I recently finished Mark Sumner's The Prodigal Sorcerer, the next book in the very-loose-series of original Magic: the Gathering novels published by Harper-Prism -- basically the books before Wizards of the Coast (MtG's ip owner) took more direct control of the intellectual property to restart the series in a much more continuity-building fashion.

That's an especially important qualifier in this case, because this story has even fewer pretended connections to MtG than its predecessor The Cursed Land. That book, which served as a sort of prototype to "the Dark" storyline (a catastrophe plunges the world into hanging onto a thin thread of existence with the sun obscured), might have been pretty clearly an independent story originally with some MtG elements tacked onto the fringes, but it still had mana and some colored magic and Planeswalkers. This story reduces the MtG connections to a few cursory nods to famous artifact cards (classically famous now) which don't even get used in the story. I'd bet a Coke that the word "mana", nor even the concept of it, is never used in the story once.

But like the previous novel, the story is quite good! -- so, unless you're the type of person who insists a MtG novel be about, you know, MtG (and you're perfectly in your rights to insist on that since the story is marketing itself to fans of MtG as a selling point), then you'll probably like it. Even if the titular prodigal sorcerer, though plot-important, isn't a main character, and doesn't behave at all like the card (either in personality or ability), and only gets around to looking like the card at the end of the story for a few scenes in a way (literally a "fashion" even) that's completely superficial.

As an aside, for those who recall me tracking this issue, of the two MtG cards featured on the back, one is of course the Prodigal Sorcerer (with its text largely obscured, probably by an accident of design but conveniently in this case). What's the other card?

A swamp.

One of the five basic lands. That's it. Because there's a swamp in the story.  L:-) The cover-art marketing for this series so far is ludicrous. The front cover is even funnier, because obviously the artist asked what the sentient reptilian race in the story is supposed to look like, and got a note that said they have traits of snakes and iguanas and lizards and geckos and, uh, those things like alligators with the long snouts I guess. (Gharials.) So the artist simply put all those animals in clothes standing around separately in the background!

I did say the novel itself was quite good, right? The goofiness of various marketing factors shouldn't be allowed to obscure this (even though fun to talk about). It isn't especially action packed, so again readers insisting on that will be disappointed; but for a short book (309 physically small pages with relatively large font) it's packed instead with a colorful cultural/political plot. The big betrayals can be seen developing long before they strike, but the author seems to realize he can expect experienced readers to pre-plot this and so writes up to their expectations rather than trying to trick them. The story isn't nearly as grimdark as the first four books, or even as the previous one, although a rape threat develops toward the end (kind of out of plot nowhere though it makes sense in context). And the author takes advantage of a situation to throw a final-third twist on reader expectations about a developing romance (not related to the rape threat, btw.) There's a drug-addiction plot element, too.

Without going too far into spoilers, the setup is that a magical research institution has set up a magical wall with a large diameter around their tower to keep threats from marching armies into the area to loot their gear (since they aren't combat mages at all). This wall is porous and completely unharmful: all it does is radically slow down people (and only living creatures, maybe only sentient living creatures) passing through it, so that anyone on the other side can easily dispatch them.

Inside the magewall, are three races of humans, elves (this book's Elves Are Different), and the aforementioned lizardfolk, who would normally have little to do with each other but now for several generations they've been forced to interact more than they'd prefer. With increasing hostility and resentment.

The book starts with a climactic battle led by a human revolutionary who honestly and truly just wants everyone in the land to live in peace, and who seeks out help from the institute to take the one large city of the region (largely inhabited by the Varishino, the lizardfolk) without any loss of life or harm to anyone. He receives this help from the prodigal sorcerer of the title, over-against worry from his fellows about interfering, and this sets off the story per se. (This isn't much of a spoiler, since all this happens in the prologue chapter(s)!) The new king now has to navigate turbulent political and socio-cultural waters, trying to make peace among the three peoples, while one of the much larger nations outside the wall attempts to destabilize the situation for a convenient invasion -- they live in a mostly swampy area (thus the basic land card on the back cover) and need better land to live on, so their concerns are understandable, but their radical lack of resources affects their cultural expectations, too.

I enjoyed the book a lot, and keeping in mind my provisional qualifications I gladly recommend it.

Next up in the series will be Ashes of the Sun, eventually: I'll have more than 1500 pages reckoned up again soon.  O0 :coolsmiley:
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 07:12:09 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3608 on: April 03, 2017, 04:46:50 PM »
Uh...wut?
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Offline mirth

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3609 on: April 03, 2017, 04:48:19 PM »
I know what I'm not reading.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3610 on: April 03, 2017, 04:50:28 PM »
 :buck2:
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Offline bbmike

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3611 on: April 04, 2017, 04:14:00 AM »
I'm reading Kenobi: Star Wars Legends. Good so far but I'm starting to hope the plot picks up soon.
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Offline Nefaro

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3612 on: April 05, 2017, 08:31:43 PM »
Finished up The Innovators and quickly read Jim Butcher's first Dresden Files book Storm Front. Currently reading his 2nd book Fool Moon, and Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice. Waiting to be read is The 3-Body Problem by Cixin Liu.



Finally got around to picking up a couple Dresden Files books, after having them on my wish list for years. 

A couple softbacks were going for half price, so I snatched them.  Storm Front (#1) and Grave Peril (#3). 

Saw people say that the first book isn't the best in the series.  So figured I'd read at least two or three for a start & keep an eye out for a discount #2 in the meantime.

Offline Martok

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3613 on: April 06, 2017, 12:56:21 PM »
I finally started into my copy of Maximilian Uriarte's graphic novel Terminal Lance: The White Donkey today.  I'm guessing it'll be an interesting read...and hopefully an enlightening one, as well. 
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #3614 on: April 15, 2017, 01:47:33 PM »
Finished The Historian...damn fine book and one that inspires me to write one similar, one day.

Started the graphic novel 1441 AD - Trail of Steel by Marcos Mateu-Mestre.
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