It’s been a long time since I’ve recommended any books on the blog. For that I apologise.
The problem isn’t that I haven’t been reading. I always read. You know how sharks have to keep swimming or they die? I’m like that. If I stop reading, I die.
The problem is this, when I read a book and I like it, I think, “I should mention this on the blog.” Then I wonder what exactly I can say about the book that will be not only enthusiastic, witty, and persuasive, but also informative and true.
It’s the last two that are tricky, you see. Truth is a troublesome motherfucker unless it’s handled properly.
The other problem is the difference between what I say and what people are inclined to hear. If I say “I like this book” people are inclined to believe that what I mean is “You will like this book.” Which isn’t necessarily the case.
So I feel obliged to explain *why* I liked it. That way people can make inteligent choices about whether or not they’d like to buy it. Because that is how we all remain independant, rational human beings as opposed to mindless, soulless, consumerist cogs, right?
However, writing this sort of blog is, to say it simply, a pain in the ass. Consequently I put off mentioning books on the blog, sometimes for embarrassingly long periods of time.
Like this one:
I’ve been meaning to mention this book for over six months. I’m filled with shame…
The more observant of you might actually recognize the book from a previous appearance on the blog. That’s because the author, Laini Taylor, was nice enough to donate a signed copy to the Heifer Fundraiser we did last year.
When she sent it in, I was curious about the book. Because… well… the truth is I have a bit of a thing for faeries.
I know this might come as something of a shock to some of you. You think that, manly as I am, I could never be into stories about little wingy people flitting about. At the very least, you probably think that if I *did* like such things, I’d have the decency to stay quiet about it, lest people start thinking that I was sissy.
But that’s not actually how it works, you see. Only guys insecure about their manliness worry about looking sissy. They’re afraid that if someone looks too closely people will realize that their machismo is just a thin tissue of lies.
Truth is, you see a guy reading a faerie book in the coffee shop, you know that he has nothing to hide. Dude is confident in his manness. He knows exactly who he is.
Me, I’m so manly that I can read this book in a bus station while wearing a dress and singing “Faith” by George Michael.
I’m not saying I did, mind you. I’m saying I could.
Anyway, about the book. I really enjoyed it. Good characters. Good use of language. Refreshingly new take on Faerie society. Cool world. Cool magic. Good, quick storytelling. Technically it’s a Young Adult book, but if that’s the case then color me young adult, because I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Huh. And I just checked on Amazon. The sequel is coming out in just two weeks. Bonus. That way you don’t even have to wait for your next hit. Unlike some other tardy, lame-ass authors….
Secondly, we have something of an entirely different flavor:
Here’s where things get tricky. You see, I honestly don’t know what I can say about this book.
I really enjoyed this book. But I can’t for the life of me tell you why.
Ordinarily when I like a book, I know why. I can point to things. Language. Character. Pacing. Worldbuilding. When I don’t like it, I can do the same. It’s easy for me. All I do is think about stories.
But I can’t point to any specific reason why I like The Magicians it except that it was clever, and it wasn’t like any sort of book I’ve ever read before.
See the problem with the Truth? As recommendations go, that’s pretty weak tea.
Hopping over to Amazon, I see that reactions to the book have been mixed. And I can’t say as I’m terribly surprised. As I said, this book was different. A lot of people don’t like different. What’s more, it was clever. And a lot of people aren’t terribly smart.
Okay, Okay. That’s not really fair. I take that back. Kinda.
My real guess is that most people will like this book. But there’s a certain type of reader who will enjoy it down to the bottoms of their feet.
That reader will:
1. Be well-read in terms of classic fantasy. They’ll have read Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, and at least five or six dozen other fantasy novels.
2. Be aware of the standard fantasy cliches, and a little tired of them.
3. Be eager to read something different. Not just in terms of world, but in terms of character, pacing, and the fundamental structure of the story as well.
4. Appreciate cleverness.
Now that sums me up pretty well. And I enjoyed the book on a way that I can’t put into words. Which is why I suck at giving blurbs for books….
But then again, Lev doesn’t need me for that. He’s got George Martin on his cover:
See? That’s how the pros throw down. Why can’t I do that?
That’s all for now, more news soon about the name lottery. Stay tuned.