went through Hades with my hat off (ergoipsofacto) wrote,
went through Hades with my hat off

Belated July book post.

The Truth, Terry Pratchett
This is a fun one. THE POWER OF INFORMATION and IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERCOME YOUR UPBRINGING and PULP FICTION REFERENCES. The characters are pretty great, and a surprising number of them get actual development over the course of the book - Pratchett pays attention to the antagonists and the supporting cast, not to the extent they upstage the main show, but in a manner that is often funny and thoughtful. Our protag William de Worde is a likeable and sympathetic guy generally, and the rest of the cast is ever willing to call him on his faults, too. I dig that. (I also dig OTTO CHRIEK, who underneath the phonetic accent and goofy mannerisms is both a good dude and NOT ONE TO BE TRIFLED WITH, ON ACCOUNT OF HE IS A VAMPIRE.)

Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
Three dudes and a dog blunder cluelessly up and down the Thames, it is charming and silly, and there is no plot to be had anywhere. I do wish Jerome would never say anything about women, because the approximately two occasions on which the subject comes up are the most annoying passages in the book; otherwise I can't really find fault with it as a bit of light reading. It's free on Project Gutenberg and the first chapter is a pretty good indication of how the rest of the thing is going to go, so. I suppose if you're in the market for something frivolous, check it out.

Swords of Haven, Simon R. Green (re-read)
I went through A Thing in high school wherein I read all the Simon R. Green books I could reasonably get my hands on. Now I am out of books, and decided to look through these again. And... Well, I recalled there being a lot of one-liners, the magic (or tech, depending on genre - I first came in through his space opera, but this one's fantasy) being reasonably clever in places, and REALLY INVENTIVE AND UNUSUAL KINDS OF GORE. These recollections are true. But at least in this case, the rest doesn't really hold up.

This is an omnibus of the first three Hawk and Fisher stories, which... are basically fantasy murder mystery/police procedural type deals. The culprit is always the person who looks the most suspicious, and Hawk and Fisher are pretty freaking bad at solving mysteries. Sometimes the way in which the murder happened is cool. Some of the fight scenes are badass. But in general these are poorly-paced and read like first drafts, wherein everyone has to stop and talk about what's happened and what they know every five pages so the author can figure out how he wants to proceed. Phrases, sentences, or entire paragraphs are recycled from one story to the next or even within the same story. There are giant infodumps. The characters are all flat. And while Fisher is a super badass lady and, refreshingly, provides the muscle in our husband-and-wife protag duo, where all other women are concerned there is some weird vaguely sexist bullshit going on that I can't quite put my finger on.

So... high school me wasn't totally wrong, but failed to notice a lot of flaws. I'm not sure what I intend to do with the rest of my SRG books; considering the Deathstalker series was what first got me interested in space opera, I may not like finding out how disappointing they are on re-read. LE SHRUG.
Tags: books
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