What I’m Reading 4.0

5 Feb

Do you know what would have been a really sensible thing to do, bearing in mind that I haven’t updated in two months?

Keep a list of what i was reading somewhere! Now I have to try and remember what on EarthI have read.

Finished books as of 30/11/11:

Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
Tortall and Other Lands
Star by Star
Little Brother
Lies
Want to Play?
Star by Star
Heist Society
Dark Journey
Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
Live Bait
Dead Run
Snow Blind
Play to Kill
Over Sea, Under Stone
Mastiff

So, let’s start with the obligatory Star Wars books!

Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand by Aaron Allston continues the war against the Yuuzhan Vong in the system of Borleias, where Wedge Antilles and his people continue to hold the system against all the odds using an assortment of trickery. Jaina Solo has become, to the Yuuzhan Vong, associated with Yun Harla, the goddess of trickery, and so the rebels are playing with that thought. Jaina finally starts to pull out of her grief, and in this novel she finally seems to realise that she has feelings for her fellow pilot, Jag Fel, who has an Imperial background and has been raised among the extremely formal Chiss. I continue to love Aaron Allston and all his works.

Traitor by Matthew Stover – Johnny 5 Jacen Solo is alive! Which I knew, because Leia’s been saying it all along and I MAY have read these books before, but it’s nice to have it reaffirmed, because who doesn’t like to know that somebody is alive? Jacen’s being merrily tortured by the Yuuzhan Vong, as this funky bird creature called Vergere has convinced them it’ll be super cool if they can convert him to the Yuuzhan Vong religion so that when they capture his twin sister, Jaina, they can make him participate in the joint twin sacrifice by duelling Jaina to death and then killing himself.

So, once Jacen’s had all the fun available from the Embrace of Pain (yes, that’s a Thing) they untie him, put him in some weird living clothes and dump him in with a bunch of slaves who are living in a mini fake world thing. The fake world is inhabited by baby World Brains, who are learning how to be the best World Brains they can be by taking control of groups of slaves and getting them to try to kill the other baby brains. Jacen makes friends with one particular World Brain, takes over the enclosure and kills all the other brains. The surviving brain is destined to control the world of Yuuzhan’tar which used to be the capital world of Coruscant and which the Vong want to recreate in the form of their homeworld. What follows is a lot of running around on Yuuzhan’tar and the surprise revelation that Vergere is actually a Jedi of the Old Republic. Jacen allows himself to be recaptured, convinces the Yuuzhan Vong he wants to go along with their sacrifice extravaganza, betrays them and escapes with Vergere. Yay!

(It’s possible I shouldn’t start writing blog posts after midnight)

Destiny's Way by Walter Jon Williams Destiny’s Way by Walter Jon Williams makes me feel uncomfortable. First of all, there’s a bucketload of politics, a recurrent theme through all the expanded universe novels. The New Republic’s government has reformed on Mon Calamari (yes, that’s ‘My Squid’, get over it :-p) and it’s time to elect a new Chief of State to replace Borsk Fey’lya, who died a martyr on Coruscant. The thing is, galactic opinion is still pretty divided over the Jedi, and it looks like it’s going to be a Jedi hater who will win. The good guys rustle up a candidate to run, Cal Omas, but then Lando and a smuggler called Karrde dig up some blackmailing material to make people vote for him – distinctly dodgy, ethically! But still, Omas gets in to office. All’s not plain sailing, however, when the intelligence service announces they’ve come up with a biological weapon that could destroy everything Yuuzhan Vong…duh duh DUH

But wait! It’s the long retired Admiral Ackbar to the rescue! He has a plan, AND…

He uses the Solo twins to lure the Yuuzhan Vong to a place called Ebaq 9, and generally makes a mess of the Yuuzhan Vong fleet. The Yuuzhan Vong warmaster, Tsavong Lah, who has been obsessed with the Solo twins for about six novels, lands on the surface of Ebaq 9 and Jaina kills him. Whoop whoop! Unfortunately Vergere has to kill herself to save Jacen’s life, but who doesn’t from time to time?

Remnant by Shane Williams and Shaun Dix Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams and Shane Dix

Before Vergere died she told Jacen that the first time she encountered the Yuuzhan Vong, she was on a living planet called Zonoma Sekot, and this is oddly important to the war, I forget how, so Luke, Mara and Jacen take a boatload of people to start looking for the planet, since it went AWOL after the initial encounter with the Yuuzhan Vong. Meanwhile, Han, Leia, Jaina and Jag head off to start reopening communications with some planetary systems which have been cut off since the fall of Coruscant. They take Tahiri, Anakin’s best friend and would’ve-been girlfriend, with them, since she’s having some mental issues along the lines of having a Yuuzhan Vong in her head. Poor kid.

Luke’s people head off to visit what’s left of the Empire, only to find that they are now under attack from the Yuuzhan Vong too.

On the first planet visited by the Solos-minus-Jacen, all is not as it seems…

I did read books other than Star Wars ones I swear!

Refugee by Sean Williams and Shane DixForce Heretic II: Refugee by Sean Williams and Shane Dix sees the Solos-minus-Jacen visit the world of Bakura, where the original cast went straight after Return of the Jedi to battle an invading people called the Ssi Ruuk. On their arrival it turns out that the P’w’eck, previous slaves of the Ssi Ruuk, have rebelled and want to make friends with the Bakurans – or do they? *mysterious music* Everything is complicated by Tahiri still battling her Head Yuuzhan Vong, Riina.

The folks looking for Zonoma Sekot have left the Imperial Remnant and have arrived in the domain of the uptight Chiss, where battles within the Chiss seem on the verge of overwhelming any chance of help for the Jedi.

Reunion by Sean Williams and Shane Dix Force Heretic III: Reunion by Sean Williams and Shane Dix – Luke and co. finally find Zonoma Sekot! I’m still reading this one, and I’m not really sure what’s going on as it’s been a while since I read it.

Leia, Han and Han’s old friend Droma the Ryn are on a planet filled with weird floaty life forms that’s under aerial assault from the Yuuzhan Vong, and they accidentally killed about 15 on arrival. Always a promising start!

Tahiri is now in a coma, fighting in her mind against Riina, who makes the fairly valid point that they are both the same person and just need to get along. Jaina’s gone into Tahiri’s mind to help her, but it seems like she’s in danger from the combined forces of Riina and Tahiri.

Greenwitch by Susan Cooper is not a Star Wars book! This is the third in the Dark is Rising sequence and sees the introduction of Will the Old One to the three children from the first book, Simon, Jane and Barney Drew, who have no idea who he is. The Grail found by the Drews in the first book has been stolen by the forces of the Dark, and the children must find it. In this battle, however, it isn’t power that matters. It’s the kindness is which Jane makes a wish for the elemental Greenwitch – ‘I wish that you could be happy’.

Plague by Michael GrantPlague by Michael Grant is the fourth book in the Gone series. As usual Grant doesn’t hold back with the icky as we see kids develop a cough that culminates in them literally coughing their lungs out. Lovely. The town of Perdido Beach comes under attack from whip-handed Drake, who is back from the dead and sharing his body with a girl called Britney, who is gradually brought round to the opinion that the Gaiaphage, the force of Darkness within the Fayz, is God. It’s all very jolly. Oh, and there’s these parasite things which eat people’s bodies from the inside out. There’s a whole mess of sexual frustration and the usual confusion over leadership which make the whole thing more believable.

Emma by Jane Austin is awesome and I love it. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t read it beforehand. Emma is a wealthy gentlewoman who has a love of playing matchmaker, but is completely oblivious to her own feelings. She’s sweet, really. I enjoyed this book loads. I was completely unprepared for finding it impossible to put down. I think it takes over from Pride and Prejudice as my favourite Jane Austin book.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo doesn’t really need any introduction, being as it’s so huge at the moment. It’s about the fortunes of a horse in WWI, and I only started reading it this morning and am now about halfway through. It’s told from the first person perspective of the horse, Joey, from his first sale until…um, I don’t know, I’m halfway through. At the moment Joey is in the hands of the German army, working pulling ambulance carts back from the front. One thing I love about this story is that it isn’t painting the Germans as ‘The Bad Guys’ – the Germans we have met absolutely adore the horses and take good care of them, even though they were taken from English troops.

In some ways this reminds me of Black Beauty because of the way it is told, the perspective and everything, but it’s such a different story, and so far I think it’s brilliant. The only Michael Morpurgo book I’d read previously was The Butterfly Lion. The problem was, at ten years old and reading at a slow pace enforced by reading it in class, I just did not get it, and it’s put me off trying another one up until now.

Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough

Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the first of the Barque Cats books. There’s the false threat of a plague among animals, and thousands are taken into quarantine. Among these are the Barque cats, bred to help on spaceships with all sorts of things like pest catching. An alien cat comes to the rescue, and it turns out he’s been making plans to have the cats take over the galaxy.

It’s a fun opener to the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the later ones.

Dragon's Time by Anne and Todd McCaffreyDragon’s Time by Anne and Todd McCaffrey is the last book Anne McCaffrey worked on, I believe, which makes me really sad. She passed away in November, ending an era that’s lasted decades. I plan to do an Inspirations post about her, but not just yet. I think this novel concludes the latest story arc, as everything seems to be quite wrapped up. They’ve taken a surprising polyamorous route with the characters, which I actually quite like – it’s rare to see anything outside of heterosexual monogamy depicted in fiction. Although I personally am heterosexual and monogomous (not to mention distinctly territorial!) I think it’s important that fiction represents the true variety of relationships that exist. It’s nice to see this happen in an established universe such as Pern. I doubt it’s a universally popular move, however.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien. Being an obsessive fan, I am aware that technically The Lord of the Rings is one novel split six ways, but regardless I am going to count it as three books, because that’s how I roll. I’m reading LotR (see, I’m so obsessive I call it by the acronyms!) along with Mark at http://www.markreads.net and am vastly enjoying how he has NO IDEA what’s going to happen next. Who knew it was possibly to be unspoiled for LotR?

When I was 16 I joined http://www.lotrplaza.com, the Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, which is still one othe great loves of my life even if I don’t go on there often any more. I became a ruler, then an admin, and it was really good for me (not so much for my GCSE results, but eh. You win some, you lose some). So The Lord of the Rings = Win.

The Two Towers by JRR TolkienThe Two Towers by JRR Tolkien still needs no introduction. I’m still reading  along with Mark, and we’re about halfway through. I’m reading a chapter a night on my Kindle just before I go to bed. I love my kindle. It’s my precioussss.

I think that actually may be all of it!

Nope, I’m wrong. Okay.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine HarrisLiving Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris is the second in the Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood novels. Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill are sent to Dallas to investigate the disappearance of a vampire there. It emerges that the missing guy, whose name I have forgotten, has been kidnapped by a ‘church’ called the Fellowship of the Sun, a strongly anti-vampire organisation. Investigating with the human boytoy of one of the Dallas vampires, Sookie is captured by the Fellowship and severely threatened. This book is filled with Harris’ quirky humour, which makes the darkness of the books much more handleable.

Club Dead by Charlaine HarrisClub Dead by Charlaine Harris is the third Sookie Bookie (as I shall henceforth call them). Sookie’s boyfriend Bill has disappeared, and he also seems to have dumped her without telling her. It emerges that Bill has been working on something for the vampire Queen of Louisiana (the revelation that such a person exists makes Sookie LOL) and the vampires of Jackson, Mississippi, have probably kidnapped Bill to steal whatever he’s working on. Bill’s immediate boss, Eric (who by the way has an enormous crush on Sookie), asks her to go to Jackson along with a werewolf that owes him a favour to see if she can use her telepathic ability to locate Bill. Shenangins ensue, including dancing, jealous exes, pretty hair and nails, bodies in closets, Sookie being staked, rape, murder, etc etc. Oh, and Sookie kills somebody.

Dead to the World by Charlaine HarrisDead to the World by Charlaine Harris is the fourth Sookie Bookie. Sookie and Bill are broken up, on account of him having sort of run off with his maker, who Sookie killed. Sookie is driving home from work one evening when she meets Eric, running along the road with no memory and no shirt. It emerges that Eric’s memory has been taken away by some very aggressive witches/shapeshifters, the leader of whom wants Eric for her plaything because, y’know, he’s pretty. Sookie ends up charged with taking care of Eric until his memory returns, and because he’s so pretty and cute and memoryless they sort of end up as a couple.

Meanwhile, Sookie’s brother Jason disappears, and it turns out he’s been kidnapped by local were-panthers and has been repeatedly bitten.

Okay! For real, that’s everything!

So, finished books as of 5/2/12:

Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
Tortall and Other Lands
Star by Star
Little Brother
Lies
Want to Play?
Star by Star
Heist Society
Dark Journey
Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
Live Bait
Dead Run
Snow Blind
Play to Kill
Over Sea, Under Stone
Mastiff
TheDark is Rising
Dead Until Dark
Moon Child
Looking for Alaska
Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
Traitor
Destiny’s Way
Force Heretic I: Remnant
Force Heretic II: Refugee
Plague
The Fellowship of the Ring
Catalyst
Dragon’s Time
Emma
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World

So, that’s 112 days, 31 books. Need to up my game! That’s only one every four days. Lame.

Currently still reading:

Force Heretic III: Reunion
War Horse
The Two Towers

I’m sorry if this post lacks any sense of cohesion – it’s taken 17 hours! I didn’t write continuously, of course, I did also eat/sleep/read and help put away shopping.

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