For all those books I’ve read but don’t have enough to say to write a whole review
Nghi Vo – Empress of Salt and Fortune
I can see why people love this book. It has a magnificent plot, told concisely in a novella that never seems rushed but exactly the right length. It felt very much like reading an old legend with characters that single-mindedly pursue their epic goal but stay somewhat distant. And that was exactly my problem. I want to feel with the characters. I want to see them develop relationships with others beyond being told “And then they fell in love”. But that’s very much what classic legends and fairy tales do and that’s exactly what this book does. And so the final spark that would have made me go “Wow! This is beyond amazing” just wasn’t there.
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Guns of the Dawn
The main reason I didn’t write a longer review of this was that it’s very hard to talk much about the book without spoiling a major twist. Our heroine, Emily lives in Lascanne, a kind of fantasy regency England, that has been at war with its neighbour Denland for so long that they have now started drafting women as soldiers (despite the gender-roles being otherwise very Regency England) and so Emily goes to war. And the author manages to describe war as something as being horrible without getting all grimdark detailed descriptions of gruesome injuries. And for quite a while that’s all: Emily is at the front, forms friendships with fellow soldiers, fights…and has not much of a clue how the war as a whole is going because nobody bothers telling simple soldiers about that.
Eventually something happens that puts previous events in a very different light…but it does take a long time to get there. And while I usually roll my eyes at people who recommend books to me by going “This 800 page doorstopper gets really good after 400 pages” I still enjoyed this book a lot. Also because I wouldn’t call the beginning bad or boring…just different from what you would expect from a book with that title and that cover.
Adella J. Harris – The Marquess of Gorsewall Manor (dnf)
In a romance it is vital that you feel with the characters and this book just didn’t deliver on that front. One of the protagonists went through what should have been very traumatic events – he was caught in a police raid on a molly house and imprisoned – but it barely seemed to affect him. All he did was occasional mentions of the food being bad…I also would have expected him to be more careful about showing his inclinations after already being imprisoned for it but he jumps the Marquess at almost the first chance he gets…nothing about this story was convincing.
Gil North – Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm
So far I have finished every Crime Library Classic book I started but this book almost broke that streak. I think I only got through it because the audiobook is only about 4 hours long and so I was already almost halfway through after one Sunday walk and decided that now I might as well make it through the end. I really shouldn’t have bothered because the author really makes his opinions clear in the first few chapters and then just repeats them over and over…or perhaps I should rather say one opinions: It’s always the woman’s fault. Because all women are horrible whores who just want to doom men. Only their breasts are interesting. Which is why Cluff/the narrator will describe them every time a woman appears…even if she’s dead or barely of age.