Bout of Books 12: Wrap-Up

So Bout of Books 12 is officially over! I was sick for a couple of days and read almost nothing then, but let’s see how I did overall.

  • Pages read: 417
  • Books read: 2
  • Books started: 1
  • Challenges participated in: 1

I also met both of my goals! I wanted to finish reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, and start reading Ancillary Justice. And I took part in one challenge: describe what is happening in your book with series of images, the silly result of which you can see in my progress post.

Books I finished

The Lies of Locke Lamora The Sleeper and the Spindle
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch – 4 of 5 stars
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell – 5 of 5 stars

Books I started

Ancillary Justice
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie


Bout of Books 12: Progress

Here I will be posting about my progress for the Bout of Books 12 read-a-thon during the week.

Sunday, Jan 11th
Pages read: 60
Reading: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Saturday, Jan 10th
Pages read: 83
Read: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch


The Lies of Locke Lamora

Friday, Jan 9th
Pages read: 64
Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Friday’s challenge by The Book Monsters:
Describe what is going on in your book by a series of images.

I give you The Lies of Locke Lamora:

Thursday, Jan 8th
Pages read: 8
Reading: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
I was still feeling sick on Thursday, and the only reading I did was in bed before falling to sleep.

Wednesday, Jan 7th
Pages read: 8
Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
I was sick on Wednesday, so I just watched TV from the sofa instead of reading. Read one of the interludes, though.

Tuesday, Jan 6th
Pages read: 58
Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Monday, Jan 5th
Pages read: 136
Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell


The Sleeper and the Spindle

Bout of Books 12

I quite abruptly decided to take part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon, which started today. I spent most of the end of last year reading graphic novels, so I’m trying to kickstart my book reading again with this read-a-thon.
The book covers take you to Goodreads.

What is Bout of Books?

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books team

Planned Reading List & Goals

The Lies of Locke Lamora Ancillary Justice
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie

I started reading The Lies of Locke Lamora all the way back in November, when I suddenly but the book down and went on that graphic novel binge. I’m already halfway through, and I want to finally get to finishing it. And I just got Ancillary Justice from the library. Reading it is part of my 2015 SFF Reading Challenge, and I can’t wait to get started! I’ve heard really good things about it.

Most likely I will be picking something else up, as well, but these two are definitely the ones that I want to read this week! Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle has been calling my name, too, and it would be the perfect length for a read-a-thon side-read…

2015 SFF Reading Challenge

These are the 10 adult SFF books that I’m really excited to get to, and I’m going to try to read them all in 2015. Last year my challenge was about a specific sub-genre, namely high fantasy, but this year I decided to choose books from all over the wide genre. There were so many interesting books that came out last year, but I also listed old books which I’ve been interested in for a while now.

None of these are books that I actually own! ;_; And most of these start another series! Go me!

Maija’s Top 10 Adult SFF Books to Read In 2015

Ancillary Justice The Goblin Emperor A Stranger in Olondria The Mad Ship Swordspoint City of Stairs The Mirror Empire The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms Feed The Magicians

1. Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie – review
2. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison – review
3. A Stranger in Olondria by Sophia Samatar – review
4. The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders #2) by Robin Hobb – review
5. Swordspoint (Riverside #1) by Ellen Kushner – review
6. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
7. The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley
8. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin – review
9. Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant
10. The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman

2014 High Fantasy Challenge Wrap-Up

Last year I set myself a High Fantasy Challenge, wherein I chose 10 high fantasy books that I’d been meaning to read for a while. It was straight after an abysmal year of reading only three high fantasy novels. So, how did I do, in the end?

  • I managed to read six and a half books from the list.
  • (One of them turned out not to exactly be high fantasy, but we won’t get into that.)
  • The three books that I didn’t get to were the ones that I was the least excited about.
  • I also read one sequel for a book on the list.

One thing I noticed was that at the end of the year this list started to feel a bit stifling. I really wanted to read the sequel to Ship of Magic, but I felt like I should pick up a book from this list instead. And, because of that, I ended up reading neither.

The books I read (click for reviews)

The Name of the Wind Prince of Thorns The Last Wish Ship of Magic The Last Unicorn The King of Elflands Daughter

I’m in the middle of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

The books I didn’t get to

The Well of Ascension The Blade Itself Furies of Calderon

Books read outside the list

The Wise Man's Fear
The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

I really liked The Name of the Wind, so I had to start reading the sequel right after finishing it! So now I’m caught up with this trilogy, since the final book hasn’t been released yet. I also read three high fantasy short stories – the Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin.

So, that is 7,5 high fantasy novels & 3 short stories read in the year 2014. I think that is a good, but not great, step up from the three of 2013.

The King of Elfland’s Daughter Review (2014 High Fantasy Challenge 6/10)

The King of Elflands Daughter
The King of Elfland’s Daughter

By: Lord Dunsany
First published in 1924
Book 6/10 of my 2014 High Fantasy Challenge

The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland’s Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists. The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the “happily ever after.”

It’s time to finally write this review of the last book that I managed to read for my 2014 High Fantasy Challenge. I picked this book up because I felt it was time for a fantasy classic for a change. While this book is a classic that one doesn’t hear talked about very often, it is known among fantasy authors to this day. It was published in the twenties, and Lord Dunsany’s work influenced both Lovecraft and Tolkien. Neil Gaiman has written the introduction to this particular edition, so clearly his influence is still alive and well.

When I started reading the book, I was expecting it to be a story of a prince’s adventures on his way to the elf princess who he was planning to marry. Now, even you can see that I hadn’t read the back cover text very closely, for it’s said right there that this is a story of what happens after the “happily ever after”. The prince gets his elf princess at the very beginning of the book, and the rest of the story follows the struggles of an elf trying to fit in the human world, of her husband trying to understand his wife, and also of their half-human, half-elf son living between these two worlds.

One thing that can be said about The King of Elfland’s Daughter is that it is a very lyrical novel. “The poetic style and sweeping grandeur” of the back cover blurb are very much present. In the introduction, Neil Gaiman says that “his words sing, like those of a poet who got drunk on the prose of the King James Bible, and who has still not yet become sober.” This is a very accurate description.

At first I found the long sentences to be beautiful and charming, but I have to admit that later on they started to get on my nerves. Lord Dunsany is great at descriptions, great at the craft of writing, but there were times when the story was less than compelling, when the descriptive language became a slog to read through. The atmosphere feels more important than the characters. I have to say, though, that I was very captivated by the elf princess’s struggles to understand human habits.

To continue quoting from others, Jo Walton talks about Lord Dunsany’s writing style in this article:
“His acknowledged masterpiece novel, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, is probably best described as good but odd. He isn’t at his best writing characters, which gets peculiar at novel length. What he could do, what he did better than anyone, was to take poetic images and airy tissues of imagination and weight them down at the corners with perfect details to craft a net to catch dreams in. It’s not surprising he couldn’t make this work for whole novels, when as far as I know, nobody else has ever quite made it work in prose. If it is prose. It’s some of the most poetic prose ever written, quite enough to get anyone drunk on words.”

I have no doubt that Lord Dunsany’s prose works better in smaller chunks, and I might yet look into some of his short stories. For now, I have to say that while I was enchanted by the book in the beginning, I grew a bit tired of the enchantment during the length of the novel.

3 out of 5 stars.