Mar. 8th, 2017

osprey_archer: (books)
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

I don’t believe I finished anything this week. I started playing a Facebook game and it vacuumed up all my time. I should probably erase it.

No, wait, I did finished The Family at Misrule! Which I had 90% completed last Wednesday. Sorry, Facebook game, we had good times together but you must go.

What I’m Reading Now

Isobelle Carmody’s The Red Queen, a thousand page behemoth that I am becoming increasingly certain could have been edited down to five hundred pages if not less, if only Carmody could have been trusted to return the manuscript in a timely fashion if the editors gave it back to her. (I doubt they dared. The last book came out nearly thirty years after the first was published. They were probably terrified that they might wait another decade if they sent the manuscript back.)

I’m 250 pages in and Elspeth and co. have made no progress on Elspeth’s quest to save the world by dismantling the weaponmachines that already caused one apocalypse and might yet cause another. Instead, they are stuck in a weird little dystopian community, and under other circumstances I would be all for exploring weird dystopias, but I have been waiting half my life - literally half my life! - to read the ending of Elspeth’s quest. I’m probably as impatient as Elspeth herself for things to get a move on.

In fact, Elspeth keeps expressing her frustration that she can’t make any progress. I think this was a sign from Carmody’s subconscious that this part of the book could have been edited down to like 50 pages, tops, but alas she did not heed it.

Instead we get endless relays of - Elspeth finds out a bit of information; she chafes at the fact that she can’t tell her friends because most of the settlement is bugged; at last they gather at one of the non-bugged spots, and she tells them what she learned (which we the readers already know) and they suggest further avenues for inquiry (many of which we the readers have already thought of, although of course we have the advantage of having read dystopian fiction before), and then Elspeth chafes because she can’t get away to investigate, and then she finally gets away to investigate and the cycle starts all over again and GAAAAAAH SOMEONE COULD HAVE EDITED THIS SO HARD. SO HARD.

On a brighter note, I’ve been reading Sherwood Smith’s Miss Eleanor Tilney: or, The Reluctant Heroine, which as the title suggests is pro-fic of Austen’s Northanger Abbey, and a total delight. I really enjoy Smith’s Regency romances - I almost hesitate to call them that; I feel like Regency romance as a subgenre riffs off of Heyer, and Smith is riffing directly from Austen - the book is written in quite credible Austen pastiche - which gives them a very different feeling.

What I Plan to Read Next

I’ve added all of Sherwood Smith’s other Austen pastiches to my Amazon wishlist to add to my Kindle when I get the chance, but first I must read Nora Murphy’s White Birch, Red Hawthorn, a Netgalley book that is a memoir... essay collection... thing about the conquest of Minnesota.


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