Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Three A+ Books

Since I never got to my monthly book reviews in November or December, I offer as penance the three best books I read in those two months. (This is because I'm bizarrely obedient to my own self-imposed world view that it would be ethically wrong of me to review January's books without at least acknowledging my failure.(Yes, I do have a psychiatrist. Yes, I clearly need him.))

WARBREAKER/Brandon Sanderson
One of my best discoveries in 2010, Sanderson (who wrote THE MISTBORN TRILOGY) delivers a stand-alone tale of unpredictable loyalties, dark intrigue and dangerous magic. To keep a treaty made long ago, the king of Idris must send his daughter to marry Susebron, the God King of Hallandren. Loath to part with his eldest daughter, Vivenna, King Dedelin instead sends his youngest daughter, tomboyish 17-year-old Siri, who struggles to make sense of the schemers and spies in Susebron's court. Hoping to rescue her sister, Vivenna joins a group of Idrian operatives with questionable motives. As Vivenna comes to terms with her magical abilities, resurrected hero Lightsong questions the role of the undead Returned Gods, who command Hallandren's mighty army of zombie soldiers. Sanderson melds complex, believable characters, a marvelous world and thoughtful, ironic humor into an extraordinary and highly entertaining story. (Yes, I copied this from Amazon. I am also bizarrely honest. But it really was an outstanding book. And the next two reviews are all mine.)

A classic that can't quite be pinned down--part science-fiction (because the time travel), part historical (because the travel is to 14th-century England), and wholly fascinating. Kivrin is an Oxford student who has been preparing for years to travel to 1320. Her tutor, Mr. Dunworthy, is more than a little uneasy. And when the tech running the drop comes down with the first case of what becomes an epidemic flu, no one is quite sure where or when Kivrin is. I knew I was going to love this book from the first paragraph, because Willis' characters leaped off the page and put my imagination in a stranglehold I'm still not entirely free of.

Remember when I reviewed AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE by Lucy Greely a few months ago? That was a memoir of being a childhood cancer survivor. This is a memoir of being Lucy's friend. Ann Patchett (BEL CANTO, RUN, PATRON SAINT OF LIARS) wrote this amazing book in the months after Lucy's death at age 39. The two became friends straight out of college, and Lucy was the kind of friend you can never be free of--if you even want to. I loved everything about this book, and recommend you read it in companion to AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE.

Now, with the righteous sense of duty done, I can think about January's book reviews.

And also the fact that I have decided to write a chapter a day until the first draft of my Tudor rewrite is finished. It's not so bad as it sounds, since I am working with at least a couple hundred pages of text. It did, however, take me more than three months to write the first three chapters, which had to set up a new story arc just for Book One of this trilogy revision. But I want to finish! Hence my goal. Actually, hence my public announcing of said goal since I tend to work better when public disappointment is a threat.

Off to finish Chapter Five!

No comments:

Post a Comment