28 October 2017

That Inevitable Victorian Thing; E.K. Johnson

That Inevitable Victorian ThingThat Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liked the idea, but it felt a bit cluttered by trying to do too much with the idea of diversity and alternative Canadian/Victorian Era history. As a result, the writing and world building beyond that diversity isn't as strong as it could have been. I know that won't be a popular opinion, but it's mine.

Everless; Sara Holland

Everless (Untitled #1)Everless by Sara Holland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

That there's a clear indication that this will be part of an un-as-yet-titled series (trilogy? more?) is a little disheartening. I'm so tired of the non-standalone books. Ok, I get it as a publishing necessity but as a buyer and reader? So tired. And that ends that rant.

Sempera's reliance on blood to extend lives or as currency is unusual, to say the least. The near-feudal world will feel comfortable to readers, as will the mysterious reasons why Jules' father has hidden them away from the Gerling family (and Jules' eventual relationships with the two Gerling sons). So what makes this different? The world building is a bit more detailed, a bit more original and a bit more real-feeling than is usual. And that made me want to read more, to explore more, particularly as Jules begins to come into her own.

ARC provided by publisher.

Ink, Iron, and Glass; Gwendolyn Clare

Ink, Iron, and Glass (Ink, Iron, and Glass, #1)Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, if only "ink" weren't in the title: the creation of a world by writing it can only draw comparison to Funke's Inkheart. And this doesn't deserve that comparison because it's not close to being the same thing. But then, there are bits of Narnia (the World Between the Worlds) and other novels inside.

The world that Clare has created here is a great mix of European steampunk and what might be called pre-industrial, with call outs to writers and events that teens may (I hope) be interested in seeking more information about. Example? Garibaldi's unification of Italy. Which was an interesting choice of focal point, IMVHO, because Italy and that history is not a common setting for us (France and Amsterdam also play fleeting roles).

How this plays out, and what happens in the "real" world that Elsa comes from (although I suspect a love triangle in the next book, which... really hoping not) I can't wait to read.

ARC provided by publisher.

Image and Imagination; C.S. Lewis

Image and Imagination: Essays and ReviewsImage and Imagination: Essays and Reviews by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, for real Lewis fans only. Many of these are reviews of books (Lewis' reviews, not reviews of his books) that only make sense if you know the book, while others are essays on topics that appealed to him and probably won't be of interest to the general reader.

Having said that, if you, like me, are a Lewis fan, this is a great addition to your bookshelf. His voice ad his writing are as clear as ever and sorely missed.

The Snowman; Jo Nesbo

The Snowman (Harry Hole, #7)The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this because the movie was coming out but now that I've done so, perhaps I don't need to see it on the screen. Hole remains one of the more compelling leads: so very contradictory in nature (is he a drunk? an addict? compassionate? decent? all of the above or none? does it matter?). And while usually it doesn't matter whether you read this series in or out of order - note, I haven't been - I can see where understanding the relationship with Oleg and Rakel would help with the "outside" mystery of his life.

As mysteries go, this isn't bad. A couple of times there were red herrings, and once I found an annoying clue that only Hole sees, not the reader, so there's no way to solve this on your own. Beyond that, far less gruesome than the next book will be, with some nice tinges of local color that really set the books in their place (as opposed to a generic Scandinavian setting, a la Lackburg).