Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shreik, an Afterword by Jeff Vandermeer

This is one of those odd, modern fantasies - fantasy without genre conventions, I guess you could call it. No wizards, dragons or wer-beasts, nothing from recognizable mythology or folklore, just settings that aren't at all familiar, with inhabitants and laws and conventions all their own. This has fungal technology and grey-capped fungal people, the Festival of Freshwater Squid, publishing companies entering all-out war, underground civilizations.

A problem I sometimes have with books of this type is that the writers put so much time crafting their setting, they seem to forget to tell a story - the characters recede somewhat. China Mieville's sometimes like that for me. But this wasn't at all like that. It's mainly a sort of memoir, a sister musing about her life and her brother, and their world is - how to put this - it's natural to them, it's where they live.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker

Conclusion to the Company series, finally. And rather better than I expected - perhaps as good as it could have been, given all the disparate disjointed threads that needed wrapping up.

I still think the series could have well done without the subplot involving the strange subhuman race.

The ending was as happy as it could have been, for everyone who deserved a happy ending, except Victor. Or really, maybe for Victor too.

I have difficulty discussing this as a book. It's the end of a series, a wrapping up and farewell to this world, these characters. I don't think it stood alone as a book - it was an ending, not a story.