Mar. 29th, 2013

saffronhare: (birch durer hare)
Well, I went and requested the next three books in the "Forensic Sorceresses" in Airships series written by Elizabeth Bear (officially known as the New Amsterdam series), and I've gotta say I was disappointed.

The White City
Seven for a Secret
Ad Eternum

For starters, there were no airships anywhere. Phooey. Also, my favorite character -- the forensic sorceress -- is barely mentioned. In fact, so much time has passed that she is very old and infirm for the second book and dead for the third one. Everything focuses instead on the vampire dude, Sebastien, who is genuinely likeable and who behaves in a gentlemanly manner toward humans in particular and humanity in general. And he's thankfully not a weeping and angsting vampire, a la Anne Rice, but he's not the character I bought into originally.

The big thing that bothered me about these books is the incompleteness of the stories. I don't expect everything to be wrapped up in a bow at the end, but I do expect a certain depth and arc to the storytelling. None of these ever really got going. There were so many interesting characters and conflicts introduced but never explored. It seemed that Bear had put together *part* of a book as a pitch to the publisher, and they'd just gone ahead and printed that instead of going through the actual work of developing the story, etc. I'm not a critical reader, you guys, so if this issue bothered me then it was really glaring.

They were very short, too...much more of an extended short story or installment in a short story series than an actual novel. I mean, I finished Seven for a Secret around 9 pm one evening and then finished Ad Nauseum Eternum by 11:30 p.m. I am something of a literary size queen, it seems.

I do still really like Bear's writing, though, and I'll be looking for whatever else I can get through the local library system. It's nice that the kids are old enough, and the household routines are in enough of a steady state these days, that I can read a bit more than I have for YEARS.

ETA: I also finished Grail, which was wonderful. Loved the way worlds collided, etc. The ending was, while heavy-handed in that "DM wants to wrap shit up definitively" manner, a decent way to wrap things up.
saffronhare: (birch durer hare)
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