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[personal profile] hawkwing_lb
Books 2011: 128-130

128. Sherwood Smith, Blood Spirits.

Sequel to 2010's Coronets and Steel. Once again, Smith's fake European country of Dobrenica strikes me as geographically and historically impossible - Soviets? And Russians still on the eastern side of the border, when all other indications seem to be that this is a Balkan-region state? Come on - with a side order of nostalgia for the ancien régime.

Which is part of what makes this book, like its predecessor, so hard for me to like. Once again, American Kim Murray travels to her grandmother's home country, where she gets mixed up in the politics of a very small number of families, all related to her, and the death of royalty is complicated by vampires and magic.

I liked the vampires and the magic. The plot is pacey and adequately tense, and this would be a perfectly cromulent book, except...

There's a reason that the ancien régime is ancien. "American goes to Europe, finds romantic olde-worlde history," is probably my least-favourite type of story. It gives me hives, for more reasons than I have words to articulate.

129. Barbara Hambly, Ran Away.

Eleventh in the Benjamin January series. After The Shirt On His Back's foray into the wilderness, Janvier is returned to New Orléans, where he becomes involved in the investigation of a Turkish pasha accused of murdering his concubines. Janvier knew the Turk in Paris, ten years before, and his recollection of the man's honour leads him to endanger himself to discover the truth.

Brilliantly written, as always. A large portion of the first part of the book is taken up with Janvier's memories of Paris, and for the first time we see more of his first wife, Ayasha, than her name. A lucid and intelligent entry in the series.


130. Cicero, Selected Letters. Oxford World's Classics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008. Translated with an introduction by P.G. Walsh.

This volume presents a wide selection of Cicero's letters from across his lifetime. Cicero writes interesting, engaging letters, and these give rather fascinating insight both into his personality and into the last decades of the republic.

The translation is vastly readable, and the notes reasonably comprehensive. I recommend this for anyone with a passing interest in the dying years of the Roman republic.

Date: 2011-10-02 11:43 pm (UTC)
ext_29896: Lilacs in grandmother's vase on my piano (Bookwoman)
From: [identity profile] glinda-w.livejournal.com
Barbara Hambly, Ran Away.

Want. Wantwantwantwant. (Just borrowed The Shirt on His Back from the library last week. Am having to get these second hand and in paperback nowadays, but have to *have* them, y'know? And I've wanted more of Ben's Paris backstory.)

Date: 2011-10-03 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hawkwing-lb.livejournal.com
It is very good, I think, if not quite Graveyard Dust or Sold Down the River.

Date: 2011-10-03 09:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] puddleshark.livejournal.com
Ooh, new Benjamin January! I think the budget might must stretch to a copy.

Date: 2011-10-03 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hawkwing-lb.livejournal.com
This is what I said when I discovered its existence!

It's pretty good. But Ben Janvier is always pretty good, so... :)


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