DWJ March: Power of Three

Jones, Diana Wynne - Power of Three

My original cover for Power of Three

This is another Diana Wynne Jones book that I first read in either my childhood or teenage years. I bought my original paper copy second hand, but the cover on the right still gives a good indication of when that was.

Over on Kristen’s post, the comments are talking about the lack of good covers for this book, and while I don’t claim this is a good cover, it’s certainly different from many of the others, so I thought I would share.

This is one of those books where Jones turns everything on its head very quickly as we go from getting to know Gair, Anya and Ceri to meeting the very dangerous giants – who might just be something quite different from what we expect.

While I’d already read Jones before I read Power of Three, it was the first time she really showed me how she could shift the reader’s perception by the way she told her story. Once again, she blew me away and I remain a life-long fan.

DWJ March: Favourite Book Cover

I’m catching up with Kristen’s Diana Wynne Jones March posts again because I love Jones’ books and want to share the love.

Favourite cover is a hard question, since I have a soft spot for some of the covers I had when I was young, even if they aren’t actually the prettiest. However, I’m going to go with two covers for Fire and Hemlock.

Jones, Diana Wynne - Fire and Hemlock

The cover of my original edition of Fire and Hemlock

Jones, Diana Wynne - Fire and Hemlock

Most recent release of Fire and Hemlock

DWJ March: Eight Days of Luke

Kristen M. is hosting Diana Wynne Jones March again over at We Be Reading. I admit that I had forgotten until I went to Feedly to catch up on my blogs and there were the posts. Tuesday’s post was all about Eight Days of Luke, which is one of my favourite DWJ books.

I’m not up to making a new post, so I’m going to cheap and copy in my review from Goodreads from 2011. It’s a very good book. I recommend going to read it.

Eight Days Of LukeEight Days Of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (aka 8/10)

It was either this book or Dogsbody that was my first Diana Wynne Jones novel, many, many years ago now. I no longer remember which one, and both have a special place in my heart and my memory.

I have been looking forward to rediscovering them both – and while both were published in 1975, Ms Wynne Jones’ offical fan site lists Eight Days of Luke first, so that’s the order I’m rereading.

I went into the book remembering the basics – who Luke was and that it was based on Norse mythology – but the details were missing and I found I remember less of the aforementioned Norse mythology that I used to do. I also wonder if it would have been more generally known in Britain in the 70’s than now in New Zealand in the 2010’s, since Astrid figured it all out pretty quickly, while I was still trying to remember what I could. (By the end, I felt I knew who everyone was except Mr Chew, who I shall look up when I get a moment. [ETA: A fact my 9 year old filled me in on when he read the book in 2013.])

I think Wynne Jones did a lovely job with Luke as a manifestation of you-know-who (I don’t want to have to spoiler lock this) as he’s appealing and you end up cheering for him, but there’s an awareness that he’s not exactly reliable either.

As for David, he’s a delight; not perfect (Wynne Jones’ characters never are) but a lovely portrayal of a realistic boy caught up in hugely unrealistic events. He’s a loyal friend to Luke (and indeed to Astrid as the story continues), and does his best to do the right thing. He’s smart without being obnoxiously so and I enjoyed sharing the adventure with him.

Diana Wynne Jones was a brilliant author who could write amazing stories for children without ever “writing down” to them, while making those stories just as great for adults as well. It is a great pity her works are not better known and the world is indeed that bit reduced by the fact she won’t be giving us any more stories.

If you haven’t read her books, do give them a try. If you have, enjoy a reread.

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TBR List – Rereads

This is my TBR list of books I want to reread. I number it, not because I want to know what a ridiculous number of books are on the list, but because when I can’t choose, I use a random number generator to pick my next book. Therefore, the list needs to be numbered.

The TBR itself is the top level of this list. The sublists are the following books in any series so that I don’t have to go and look them up every time I finish a book. Instead, they are there waiting for me and I can promote the next book into the open top level space once I finish something.

If I am reading a series where I have read some of the early books, but not the later ones, the entire series list is currently on this TBR list. When I get to the point that I’m up to new books, the list will be shifted into the TBR list for new reads.

  1. Bear, Greg – The Infinity Concerto
    1. The Serpent Mage
  2. Dexter, Susan – The Sword of Calandra
    1. The Mountains of Channadran
  3. Donaldson, Stephen – The Mirror of Her Dreams
    1. A Man Rides Through
  4. Doyle, Debra and Macdonald, James D. – The Price of the Stars
    1. Starpilot’s Grave
    2. By Honor Betray’d
    3. The Gathering Flame
    4. The Long Hunt
    5. The Stars Asunder
    6. A Working of Stars
  5. Egan, Doris – The Gate of Ivory
    1. Two-Bit Heroes
    2. Guilt Edged Ivory
  6. Elliott, Kate – An Earthly Crown
    1. His Conquering Sword
    2. The Law of Becoming
  7. Hambly, Barbara – The Time of the Dark
    1. The Walls of Air
    2. The Armies of Daylight
    3. Mother of Winter
    4. Icefalcon’s Quest
  8. Kennealy-Morrison, Patricia – The Silver Branch
    1. The Hawk’s Grey Feather
    2. The Oak Above the Kings
    3. The Hedge of Mist
    4. Blackmantle
    5. The Deer’s Cry
  9. Jones, Diana Wynne – Enchanted Glass
  10. Kerr, Katharine – Days of Air and Darkness/A Time of Justice
    1. The Red Wyvern
    2. The Black Raven
    3. The Fire Dragon
    4. The Gold Falcon
    5. The Spirit Stone
    6. The Shadow Isle
    7. The Silver Mage
  11. Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve – Trade Secret
  12. Lindskold, Jane – Changer
    1. Changer’s Daughter
  13. May, Julian – Intervention
  14. McCaffrey, Anne – Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
    1. Nerilka’s Story
    2. Dragonsdawn
    3. The Renegades of Pern
    4. All the Weyrs of Pern
    5. Chronicles of Pern: First Fall
    6. The Girl Who Heard Dragons
    7. The Dolphins of Pern
    8. Red Star Rising
    9. The Masterharper of Pern
    10. The Skies of Pern
  15. McKillip, Patricia A. – The Riddle-Master of Hed
    1. Heir of Sea and Fire
    2. Harpist in the Wind
  16. McKillip, Patricia A. – Song for the Basilisk
  17. McKillip, Patricia – Fool’s Run
  18. McKinley, Robin – The Hero and the Crown
  19. McKinley, Robin – The Outlaws of Sherwood
  20. Moran, Daniel Keys – The Last Dancer
    1. The AI War: The Big Boost
  21. Pratchett, Terry and Gaiman, Neil – Good Omens
  22. Rawn, Melanie – Stronghold
    1. The Dragon Token
    2. Skybowl
  23. Roberson, Jennifer –Shape-Changers
    1. The Song of Homana
    2. Legacy of the Sword
    3. Track of the White Wolf
    4. A Pride of Princes
    5. Daughter of the Lion
    6. Flight of the Raven
    7. A Tapestry of Lions
  24. Roberson, Jennifer – Lady of the Forest
  25. Sayers, Dorothy L. – Unnatural Death
    1. Lord Peter Views the Body
    2. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
    3. Strong Poison
    4. The Five Red Herrings
    5. Have His Carcass
    6. Murder Must Advertise
    7. The Nine Tailors
    8. Gaudy Night
    9. Busman’s Honeymoon
  26. Scott, Melissa – Five Twelfths of Heaven
    1. Silence in Solitude
    2. The Empress of Earth
  27. Snyder, Midori – New Moon
    1. Sadar’s Keep
    2. Beldan’s Fire
  28. Vinge, Joan D. – Psion
    1. Catspaw
    2. Dreamfall
  29. Vinge, Joan D. – The Snow Queen
    1. World’s End
    2. The Summer Queen
    3. Tangled Up in Blue
  30. Williams, Tad – Stone of Farewell
    1. To Green Angel Tower
  31. Wren, M. K. – Sword of the Lamb
    1. Shadow of the Swan
    2. House of the Wolf
  32. Wren, M. K. – A Gift Upon the Shore
  33. Wurts, Janny – Stormwarden
    1. Keeper of the Keys
    2. Shadowfane

Updated: 9 March 2014

TBR List – New Reads

This is my TBR list of books I want to read but never have before. I number it, not because I want to know what a ridiculous number of books are on the list, but because when I can’t choose, I use a random number generator to pick my next book. Therefore, the list needs to be numbered.

The TBR itself is the top level of this list. The sublists are the following books in any series so that I don’t have to go and look them up every time I finish a book. Instead, they are there waiting for me and I can promote the next book into the open top level space once I finish something.

  1. Andrews, Ilona – Magic Strikes
    1. Magic Mourns
    2. Magic Bleeds
    3. Magic Dreams
    4. Magic Slays
    5. Magic Gifts
    6. Gunmetal Magic
    7. An Apple for the Creature
    8. Magic Rises
    9. Magic Breaks
  2. Beagle, Peter S. – Tamsin
  3. Berg, Carol – Restoration
  4. Bishop, Anne – Bridge of Dreams
  5. Briggs, Patricia – The Hob’s Bargain
  6. Briggs, Patricia – Masques
    1. Wolfsbane
    2. Steal the Dragon
    3. When Demons Walk
  7. Briggs, Patricia – Raven’s Shadow
    1. Raven’s Strike
  8. Brown, Peter – Man Walks into a Pub
  9. Bull, Emma – War for the Oaks
  10. Butler, Octavia E. – Wild Seed
    1. Mind of My Mind
    2. Clay’s Ark
    3. Patternmaster
  11. Cherryh, C. J. – Fortress in the Eye of Time
    1. Fortress of Eagles
    2. Fortress of Owls
    3. Fortress of Dragons
    4. Fortress of Ice
  12. Corey, James S. A. – Nemesis Games
  13. Czerneda, Julie E. – To Trade the Stars
  14. de Lint, Charles – Trader
    1. Someplace to be Flying
    2. Moonlight and Vines
    3. Forests of the Heart
    4. The Onion Girl
    5. Tapping the Dream Tree
    6. Spirits in the Wires
    7. Medicine Road
    8. The Blue Girl
    9. Widdershins
    10. Make a Joyful Noise
    11. The Hour Before Dawn
    12. Old Man Crow
    13. Little (Grrrl Lost)
    14. Promises to Keep
    15. Dingo
    16. Muse and Reverie
  15. Harrison, Thea – The Wicked
    1. Kinked
    2. Dragos Takes a Holiday
  16. Haydon, Elizabeth – Destiny
    1. Requiem for the Sun
    2. Elegy for a Lost Star
    3. The Assassin King
    4. The Merchant Emperor
  17. Healey, Karen – The Shattering
  18. Hicks, Michael R. – In Her Name
  19. Hobb, Robin – Fool’s Errand
    1. The Golden Fool
    2. Fool’s Fate
  20. Holmes, Jeannie – Blood Secrets
  21. Hoyt, Elizabeth A. – Darkship Renegades
    1. A Few Good Men
  22. Jemisin, N. K. – The Shadowed Sun
  23. Kirstein, Rosemary – The Outskirter’s Secret
    1. The Lost Steersman
    2. The Language of Power
  24. Larke, Glenda – Stormlord Rising
    1. Stormlord’s Exile
  25. Laurens, Stephanie – The Perfect Lover
  26. Liu, Marjorie M. – In the Dark of Dreams
    1. Within the Flames
  27. Marillier, Juliet – Child of the Prophecy
    1. Heir to Sevenwaters
    2. Seer of Sevenwaters
    3. Twixt Firelight and Water
    4. Flame of Sevenwaters
  28. Marillier, Juliet – Heart’s Blood
  29. Marillier, Juliet – Wildwood Dancing
  30. Maslakovic, Neve – The Far Time Incident
  31. McIntyre, Vonda N. – Dreamsnake
  32. McKillip, Patricia – The Bards of Bone Plain
  33. McKillip, Patricia A. – Od Magic
  34. McKillip, Patricia A. – The Tower at Stoney Wood
  35. McKinley, Robin – Deerskin
  36. McKinley, Robin – Rose Daughter
  37. O’Connor, Denis – Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage
  38. Owens, Robin D. – Heart Fortune
    1. Heart Fire
    2. Heart Legacy
  39. Scott, Melissa and Graham, Jo – Lost Things
    1. Steel Blues
  40. Shinn, Sharon – Angelica
    1. Angel Seeker
  41. Spencer, Wen – Elfhome
    1. Wood Sprites
  42. Stiefvater, Maggie – The Scorpio Races
  43. Tyers, Kathy – Wind and Shadows
    1. Daystar
  44. Wilks, Eileen – Blood Challenge
    1. Death Magic
    2. Tied with a Bow (Human Error)
    3. Mortal Ties
    4. Ritual Magic
    5. Unbinding
  45. Willis, Connie – Bellwether
  46. Woodworth, Stephen – In Golden Blood
    1. From Black Rooms
  47. Woolfson, Esther – Corvus: A Life with Birds
  48. Wrede, Patricia C. and Stevermer, Caroline – The Mislaid Magician

Updated: 17 July 2015

Some Updating is Needed

I struggled to keep this blog going last year – and I may do so again later this year as I’m still running on the “it’s a new year, so try again” mindset right now.

Anyway, that means a lot of things of the sidebar need updating.

The “Also Reading” is out of date. I have books I can’t manage to keep up with but don’t want to give up on so they just sit on Goodreads as “currently reading” and nothing much happens with them. On my Kindle, they now have a collection called “Stalled” so I may have to add a new box and have one for books I’m also reading but not right now and another for ones I’ve stalled on but do dream I’ll still get back to and finish.

The Author reads are also stalled at the moment, but mostly because when I look at what I’m up to next, it isn’t something I want to read right now. A lot of them a rereads, so I’m hoping my plans to reread in 2014 will encourage me to get at least some of them read.

My list of reviews by Author is out of date and needs to be improved. I’ll do it when I feel up to it.

So is my TBR. It has now been split into two – new reads and rereads that are Word documents. I’ll have to see if I can find a way to transfer those across to WordPress without having to do it all over again. That also fits into the when I feel up to it category.

Otherwise, we’re pretty much okay. I need to add a link to my 2013 reading on Goodreads, but that’s a quick job. Theoretically.

Maybe I better come back to this post and tick things off as I get them done.

For now, the immediate job is to add a review for the second C. L. Wilson book, which I finished today. But I wrote a long piece about the first one tonight, so want to let things digest a bit before I dive into the next book in the same series, or I may find myself saying basically the same things.

The bottom line is that I suggest you don’t trust the sidebar information too faithfully at the moment. I will try to fix it as I do like my blog and I do like having it nice. I would so LOVE to manage a year when all my books got a least a small comment and they all got posted here. I haven’t managed it yet, but I remain hopeful.

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton

What Makes This Book So GreatWhat Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars (aka 8/10)

This book is a collection of essays published by Jo Walton on the Tor.com website between July 2008 and February 2010. The are almost all about SF (and occasionally fantasy) books she’s reread. Walton reads at a pace that leaves me breathless with jealousy and manages to read her way through both rereads of old favourites and new reads as well and a very steady pace.

I read pretty much all of these on the website when they were posted, but that didn’t stop me from pre-ordering the book and starting to read it as soon as it hit my Kindle, abandoning the book I had just started for the duration of this one. And I enjoyed it all over again. She reads a depth into books that I rarely manage and occasionally I get a bit left behind, but that’s okay.

I’ve read some of the books she covers in this book, but I admit most I haven’t. Walton seems to have a liking for complicated books of many layers and older books, and while I love the idea, I struggle to read such things and have been even more since my ME developed. Since that happened when I was 21 (and 23 years ago; I don’t mind if you feel the need to calculate my age), I missed out on some very fertile reading years. But that’s okay too, I love the books I read and I get as much out of them as I get out of them.

It didn’t matter if I hadn’t read the book she was discussing in any particular essay. It was still a most interesting read. Most of the books I still don’t feel a surging desire to read even now, but it’s always nice to know a bit more about books that are well known in the genre. I have bookmarked some essays to either go back and check out the original blog posts (they’re all still online) and see what the commenters had to say, or to consider the book for myself.

I think the books that tempt me the most after these essays are the Steven Brust books. So I stopped half way through the essay for the first one and skipped forward until we reached another author. Will I read them? I don’t know. There’s the time and the money and all the other books I want to read to consider. But I’m going to avoid spoilers to give myself the option. As Jo Walton says a few times in this book, you can get all sorts of things out a a reread but you can only ever read a book for the first time once.

She also has a few essays that aren’t about particular books, but about issues that come up in the SFF genre conversion. There are things like how SF fans read compared to how mainstream readers read – and her discussion of this makes me realise why literary fiction just doesn’t work for me. I read too much like an SFF reader and so I put emphasis on the wrong parts of the story. As, Walton says, mainstream authors often do the same when they try to write SFF.

She also talks about rereading series, different kinds of series, readers who gulp and readers who sip, the concept of skimming and that scary creature who can get into books you loved years ago and ruin them, the Suck Fairy (a term I’ve been using as I discuss rereading myself).

This is kind of an odd book, as it talks in detail about books that the reader may not have read. This reader often hadn’t, and this reader loved the book all the same. It won’t be for everyone, but give it a try if you think it sounds interesting. You could even try one or two of the columns on Tor.com and then come back and buy the book so Jo gets a royalty and you have her essays forever.

I also find it kind of ironic that my first new read for 2014 (White Nights by Ann Cleeves was started in 2013 so it only half counts), the year my only goal is to get in some rereads, is a book all about rereading.

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