So I was in a book limbo, and then….
The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold
I bought this in hardback from a used bookstore a while back, and picked it up because I finally felt back in the mood for some military sci fi. It fit the bill perfectly, but also made me want more of the back story, so I went and found myself a copy of:
The Warrior’s Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold
This is the book the features the youngest Miles Vorkosigan, I believe, and sets up the Dendarii Mercenaries, which pop in and our of various other books in the Vorkosigan Saga, including in The Vor Game. It was nice to get the backstory, though there was one big death scene that I felt was just… I don’t know, too neat for comfort. It had to happen, but for everything to just fall into place like that was a little too much for me. Overall, though, I enjoyed it a lot.
Ethan of Athos, by Lois McMaster Bujold
This is a kind of stand alone, not featuring any of the Vorkosigan family or Barrayar at all. I liked this other facet of the ‘verse, and would be interested in seeing more characters come out of here, though it would have to be two or three generations in the future, which we don’t have yet.
One thing about reading the Vorkosigan Saga out of order, and also reading book summaries to figure out which book to read next, is that I accidentally spoil myself for some facts, like family relations and future events. Luckily, I’m not too put out by spoilers, and I still like to see how they play out in the end. As of now, I’ve read Shards of Honor, Barrayar, The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Vor Game, Cetaganda, and Ethan of Athos. From here, I can go in strictly chronological order, and keep spoilers to a minimum.
So, first off, I brewed a barley wine ale on Friday night. It was the most intense beer I’ve brewed and it made an awful mess, but I have high hopes for it.
Next, I’ve been in book limbo since the last book I devoured, and I picked up The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold this morning and it’s totally hitting the spot.
And finally, I’ve been rocking some board gaming, and it’s rocking.
We started today playing Settlers of Catan, which is great fun, and we broke out the expansion pack today for a larger board, which I enjoyed. I didn’t win , which I always find disappointing, but the game was still fun. First time I’ve played with 5 players , which made the strategy a little more interesting and competitive.
Next, Josh brought over Ticket to Ride, which is a train game, and an absolute delight. I like the freedom of Catan, but I also like the pacing of Ticket to Ride. Also, I won, which I very much enjoy.
But more than winning or losing, I enjoy having friends over on a Sunday afternoon to hang out, laugh, and play board games.
Ink Exchange, by Melissa Marr
I picked this up from one of the classrooms at school because I wanted a book to read at school, when I make my children read for *gasp* 15 minutes or more. I had read the first book ages ago, when my friend gave it to me for my birthday (two years ago?). It wasn’t amazing, but I enjoyed it. Not enough to keep reading the series (or maybe the series wasn’t written yet…)
Anyway, this book was wonderfully awful in that way that YA urban fairy tales can be when they’re trying really hard to be dark and edgy. So dark. So edgy. Not bad, actually. And a pretty fair treatment of rape as a plot device. As in, the female protagonist is raped (but not during the book) and she has trauma from it that she’s trying to figure out.
Terrier, by Tamora Pierce
Read this on the kindle during the Super Bowl. Much better read than the Super Bowl. I read Pierce like mad as a young reader, and still have my books that I devoured as a 10, 11, 12 year old. Now I haven’t read everything she’s ever written, but I do pick it up from time to time. This series is interesting in that it takes place some 200 years before the other books are set in the Tortall world, and the social norms are quite different. How would people really interact with slavery as a common practice? It’s a curious question, and I think Pierce handles it pretty well. The story isn’t really about slavery though. It’s about murder and theft and a young teenage girl finding her place in the world. Good stuff. I’ll read the rest of the trilogy.
The Ballad of Beta-2, by Samuel R. Delany
Have I mentioned how much I love Delany?! Love Delany. Love him. This is the second thing of his I’ve read, and it’s fucking amazing. This is a novella about a student of star-archeology having to study something he doesn’t have any interest in and what comes of it. I can’t really explain it very well, except to say that it is just fantastic.
Also, the novella is half of a Ace Double paperback, which has two short novels back to back and upsidedown. Published in 1965. Awesome cover art.
This book was awesome. I loved the format and the delivery and the story. It’s like a kaleidoscope showing the future, instead of just one lens.
Well done. Also, how did it take so long for me to pick this up?
All bottled up. We brought half home and Dan gets the rest. Should be a good mellow beer for strongly flavored food.
We tasted the Persephone today. It has a green apple funk, which I’m told is a characteristic of acetaldehyde, a byproduct of the yeast that should go away with more time in this bottle.
Next up, the porter.
As a side comment, I should probably add that a lot of door stopper fantasy novels have spectacularly cheesy titles.
Robin Hobb is one of those authors that writes door-stopper fantasy novels with spectacularly cheesy titles that are actually really very well written and have interesting characters. She also gets a gold star for examining heteronormative gender roles and stereotypes and having legitimate homosexual relationships between characters that are not just token gay characters.
We bottled our pomegranate juniper honey wheat beer. The pomegranate made it super boozy. Also a little tart and a lot of delicious. We’ve decided to call her Persephone, after the pomegranate.
Next up, we plan to brew an earl grey porter.