dangermousie: (HYD: Rui book)
[personal profile] dangermousie
I have been on a fantasy/scifi kick lately and read a number of fun things:

* Redshirts by John Scalzi - in the future, the newest crewmembers of a spaceship notice than whenever a crewman goes on an away mission with one of the five officers, something bad always happens and someone always dies. It's a hilarious parody of Star Trek but it's also clever and unpredictable...

* Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs - one of the books in his 'Barsoom' series, this follows the misadventures of Tara, princess of Helium (and daughter of John Carter) and Gajan, jed (prince) of Gathol. It's got romance, it's got crazy adventures, and is not deep or meaningful but it is pulp at its best. Plus, bodyguard-who-worships-the-ground-princess-walks-on is my favorite trope.

* Live and Let Drood by Simon R. Green - the latest in his Secret Histories series. The Drood hall is seemingly destroyed and all the Droods slaughtered - Eddie is the sole Drood left and must avenge his family. SRG is my favorite working author and SH is one of my favorite series. Nothing I can say that won't be spoilery, so I say - read it! Eddie/Molly are an amazing OTP as always, the adventures are great, and some family mysteries (finally, we learn about Eddie's parents!) are revealed.

I saved the best for last - by pure chance, I stumbled on Brandon Sanderson's Elantris, that rarity-of-rarities, a standalone 'traditional' fantasy novel. The city of Elantris used to house demigods - people who could perform amazing magic with a sweep of their fingers, who glowed and lived almost forever. It wasn't a hereditary thing, either - anyone could become Elantrian - a transformation would happen at night and the person, rich or poor, man or woman, would wake up transformed. However, all of this ended 10 years ago - after a great cataclysm, Elantris fell apart and all Elantrians turned from demigods into pitiful, disgusting, mindless creatures. After initial upheaval, the country transformed and continued on, and Elantris was locked up and abandoned. One problem - the transformation still takes place, still at night, and still taking anyone - only it now transforms them into hideous cursed beings and their fate is to be thrown into the ruins of Elantris, never to be seen again. When the novel starts, Raoden, the Crown Prince, wakes up to discover he has been transformed. His father, too ashamed to admit what has happened, proclaims him dead and has him thrown into Elantris.

The novel follows three people - Raoden, who tries not only to survive the hell of Elantris but both to make sense of what happened and to protect the fellow sufferers within, Sarene, Raoden's wife-by-arranged-marriage (the two had never met), who has been told her husband had died and who stays on to protect the kingdom and counteract the influence of the third protagonist - Hrothden, a highly-ranked functionary of a militant religion intent on taking over the world.

I loved this book! It's clever - with a good plot and solid world-building, but what really got me was the characters - even the tertiary characters come alive, but I fell madly for both Sarene and Raoden (and also Sarene/Raoden), who deal with some majorly heavy stuff while remaining true to themselves. SO VERY GOOD!!! Now I need to read more of his stuff.


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November 2012

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