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I just finished up Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley. I've really come around to loving McKinley - she writes in a truly genuine kind of way. The first book I read of hers was The Hero and the Crown, which to be frank is likely her weakest. Still enjoyable, but definitely on the weaker side. One of her other books, Deerskin, is one of the best representations of how sexual assault is overcome and emotionally dealt with over time in fantasy. It's really uplifting and great to see.

Dragonhaven is a modern day fantasy novel based in modern (90s-ish) USA. It's about a kid who grows up in a dragon sanctuary/zoo, which is really more of a reptile zoo. The only "real" dragons live out in the enclosed wilderness and are rarely seen at all, until he encounters a mother dragon slain by a poacher. This has some hefty political ramifications, as the parents of the poachers are quite wealthy and would rather campaign for dragon eradication than acknowledge that their son wasn't such a great person and was trying to kill a critically endangered species for fun. This is more of a side story, however; the narrator is largely sheltered from these events, as he's managed to "adopt" the newborn dragon of the now-dead mother, which happens to be quite illegal in and of itself. Most of the book focuses on how this impacts his day to day life, his relationship with his father, and his relationships with his friends. It's told in the voice of the narrator as he's relating the experience after the fact, and is genuine without feeling overly juvenile in a way that would be offputting to adult readers (a fairly fine line to walk, but one on which McKinley seems to balance effortlessly).

Dragonhaven is arguably a YA novel, but it doesn't entirely come off that way. Many of McKinley's books fall into that "in between" category wherein there's nothing that would be objectionable to a young reader and are easily accessible, but aren't excluding adult readers either. There's not necessarily a clear audience - it's more like McKinley simply wrote a good book that happens to be about young people and their experiences without any "adult" content, if that makes sense.

Deerskin, despite dealing with sexual assault and rape, definitely could be read at a younger age without issue. It's delicate and yet also dealing with difficult concepts. I'd recommend it to people who are in middle school or high school despite it also being a wonderful read as an adult largely because it's able to capture hard parts of life in a way that can help prepare people for what might happen as they get older. I wish I had read it at that age; I think it can be best described as hopeful. It's easy to relate to for anyone who's been in that position, and I think it could give a lot of younger kids and teens who have experienced sexual assault a healthy way of relating, understanding they aren't alone, and seeing that you can work through it to become the person who you're really meant to be. There aren't many books that can do that with such a hard thing for that age group - hell, there aren't many for adults either, and that's part of why I enjoyed it so much. It upsets me when authors just brush away the "recovery" part of dealing with the aftermath of rape and just jump to the happy ending (cough cough, Robin Hobb [an otherwise lovely author] cough).
I made it through Finders Keepers and I'm waiting for The End of the Watch to arrive, so in the mean time I'm reading Cujo.
I'm probably going to have to take a lot of leisure reading time away into school reading time, but recently I've been reading through A Series of Unfortunate Events and watching the show afterwards. I just read The Vile Village. Otherwise, I've read recently Breakfast of Champions (which I liked but not as much as Slaughterhouse V), some of The da Vinci code (which I didn't like all that much), and A Visit from the Goon Squad (which I really loved and would recommend and would love to talk about with anyone who's read it)
The old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway. A story of an old fisherman, who after a long period of not catching fish, travels further out into sea, and gets the largest swordfish in his life to take the bait. He pulls on the fish as much as his line can take, but it is not enough and the fish pulls him and the boat out to sea. After three grueling days of pulling the fish, he finally harpoons it and starts sailing home with the fish tied to the side of his small boat. However, the fish is hit by many sharks. He tries to fight off the sharks, but eventually, there are too many of them. By the time he returns home, there is nothing left of the swordfish but its horn, head and skelecton. He returns home a defeated man despite all the struggles

I see this as a story of going all in on a single difficult to obtain dream. However, you must be well prepared and have people to help you; the old man only had a small boat and limited tools and supplies, he also didn't want the boy who follows him around to join him. You realise this in hindsight but too late, and can only focus on the objective at hand. The swordfish was also unpredictable and the old man could only react to his circumstance, leaving him unable to prepare for the future. In the end, even if you do somehow complete your task, bringing home that success will prove equally difficult as trying to complete that objective, requiring more preparation than on the spot wits and determination.

I think this story is very symbolic and has many life lessons to learn. Not too complicated for my first foray into literature
I haven't been able to look through all the threads. Anyone else here reading Sherlock Holmes?
It depends. There are plenty of rip-offs made by unoriginal authors who wanted to write a children's book. I assume we're talking about the original Arthur Conan Doyle novels?
Grit by Angela Duckworth yay for required school reading
Today I read Flowers for Algernon. They all said "that book will make you cry" and I scoffed "pssh, no book with a warning like that is going to make me cry" but here I am... a snivelling wreck.
It's a goodie.

For an antidote, try "Monument" by Lloyd Biggle, jr.
I'm starting The Weird Compendium (an anthology of short stories put together by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer) tonight, and I'm already extremely impressed by the short stories that I recognize in the table of contents. I bought it based largely on recommendation and the author list, but these are the ones I see that I've read previously:

Sredni Vashtar by Saki
Saving the Gleeful Horse by KJ Bishop
The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link
Axolotl by Julio Cortazar
Bloodchild by Octavia Butler

all of which are excellent. I can tell this is going to be an amazing collection.
My parents had a Saki anthology in paperback. I didn't understand all the stories the first time through...
Children of time by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

An excellent bit of "hard" SF. Recommended.
I finished Cujo, End of the Watch, then read Under the Dome for a month (that book is huge T T). Now I'm starting the Dark Tower series.
Right now, I'm reading House of Leaves, which is a challenge, but so far it's worth it. It's hard to describe the plot because there's like multiple (I love that shit). It's like a movie about a guy and his family in a house that changes, but the movie is written about by this other guy, and he uses a bunch of sources and annotations to write about it, but then a third guy is reading it and annotating over it himself, and that third guy will write like a chapter in one annotation. Also, that third guy says right away like "I have never found this movie that this book is about, I've never heard of it." Also, at certain points, I was reading like an annotation to the annotation to the annotation6. If it seems confusing, it is. It has a lot of really compelling themes of disorientation and paranoia that reflect well in the style of writing and format.
Just finished up Green Rider by Kristen Britain.

Execution: ⭐⭐⭐
Enjoyment: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Key Descriptors: Adventure, horses, soft magic, quick read

Premise: A young girl unexpectedly encounters a dying messenger. When she takes on his mission as her own, she discovers monsters, magic, and some unexpected friends.

Review: This was an enjoyable book with a quick-paced plot. I would recommend this book for anyone who either is a teen, fairly new to fantasy, or a big fan of horses. Fans or Tamora Pierce or Mercedes Lackey should give this a look. It's a good, quick palette-cleanser after a long or dense novel, as well. The protagonist definitely feels very YA in some negative ways, which I'd say is the biggest flaw of the book; she's a little bit *too much* of a teen for an adult audience, though in all fairness she grows quite a bit by the end. I think I would have eaten this book up as a teen and adored Karigan .

Possibly the best part about this book was the way horses weren't relegated to simply being old-timey cars. Horses get tired. Horses have to eat. Horses will stumble at times that aren't just a plot mechanic. Green Rider shines when it comes to making sure that while our non-human protagonist, The Horse, is a little smarter than average.... he's still a shockingly good and realistic portrayal of an actual animal as opposed to a furry and somewhat slow Hyundai. I do wish he'd gotten a bit more characterization, but that may well have ruined what made him good. I will most likely pick up the next book at some point to see if it expounds on him a bit more.

The moments of action and adventure are engaging with a real sense of threat. There's always uncertainty about whether Karigan, our protagonist, will actually come out on top or if she'll end up even worse off than she was before. I quite enjoyed the writing of the battle scenes and watching Karigan come up with a way to, if not win, at least to fight. Injuries do suffer a bit from being erased after serious battles, which is a peeve of mine, but usually they're at least somewhat acknowledged... just perhaps not given the weight that they actually deserve. It's great that a chapter later you noted that Karigan hurt the ankle again that she hurt in her previous battle, but when her previous battle was a giant eldritch monstrosity dragging her for god-knows-how-long by said ankle? You're going to be in a lot more pain than she seemed to be in the interim!

All in all, this was a solid little fantasy. The way horses are written makes it stand out compared to many similar books.
That's my favourite series! Im glad you enjoyed it. I'd definitely recommend sticking with the series, I think it only gets better from there on.
So far this year, I have read:

  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  • Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
  • Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
  • Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft
  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • Reflections (did not finish) by Clifton Kenny

I am currently in the process of reading:

  • The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
  • The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft
  • Los Nefilim by T. Frohock
  • Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb

After those finish up, these are some of the books I'm really looking forward to starting:

  • The Strange Bird by Jeff Vandermeer
  • The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan
  • Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko
  • Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James
  • The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Some new releases coming out this year that I'm really looking forward to:

  • Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
  • The Iron Season by Helene Wrecker (okay, so the official release is TBA, but I'm hopeful!)
  • The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee
  • A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
This year I started rereading Series of Unfortunate Events bc I wanted to watch the show. I also have started reading the manga for Noragami, and I finished rereading (technically listening to) the Lunar Chronicles books 2-4. For school, I finished Catcher in the Rye and started Jane Eyre.
I'm reading through The Laundry Files again. I have previously only bought the first six books but I'll probably get the latest ones this time and catch up all the way.
I've been meaning to give The Laundry Files a shot at some point. What are your thoughts on them? I've heard they're very love it or hate it, especially the second book.
I uniformly enjoyed all of the first five. If you like 1 but not 2 then might as well stop there because the tone stays the same but with increasing noir-ness. Noirity. Noirroir. whatever I just finished volume 2 this... uh, morning? and I don't know what anyone would find there to single it out as a litmus test for the whole series. That said, I also enjoyed volume 6 to no lesser a degree, but it took a minute to get used to the change:

In the sixth book the POV switches to a different main character for the first time, which I found jarring and is the reason I didn't proceed to buy the subsequent volumes as they came out. However, I see two points to making that change: Firstly, by that time Bob has leveled up too much to continue protagonizing in the same pattern; even if the plots became formulaic it's too late, he's already outgrown them. Give someone else a turn. Secondly, it's time to switch views to see more of the Laundry than his immediate org chart. The name of the series suggests it's about the organization and not just one character (else it'd be called The Bob Howard Files), so let's get on with it.

Make sure to read all the Laundry shorts (giggle) in sequence with the main-course novels, they're available for free on Stross's website and possibly as annexes in the eBooks depending on where you get them.

Content warnings: Coarse language generally, occasional lurrv, and there's some squick in Equoid.
Heyo! If anyone is interested in joining a small, close-knit Discord server about science fiction and fantasy novels, pester me. It's currently about ten people and we all chatter quite a lot; it's very active for the small user group.
Finished up The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling yesterday and finally got my review written up today. That book was excellent and absolutely blew me out of the water, especially what with it being a debut novel. It was spooky and filled with creeping terror in all the right ways. The main character is an absolute bad ass, and has darn near set the new standard for me on bad ass ladies in horrible situations. She's utterly human while also utterly amazing. Full review is long, but you can read it here if anyone is interested.

HIGHLY recommended if you enjoy scifi, horror, or books like The Martian by Andy Weir where characters are few and have limited resources!

I have been shamelessly shilling this book ever since I finished it, so may as well do a bit of that here as well :D
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