I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season! I’ve been battling an ugly cold but otherwise our Christmas was quite nice. The husband and I slept in, made pancakes and opened gifts, talked to family and in the evening we broke out our French cookbook and tackled a meal we’d never made before, Beef Bourguignon. It was a ton of work but turned out pretty amazing (barring a few mishaps along the way).
This week I took some time off from the blog, but here are two mini-reviews of series books I’ve read recently. See my post last week for two more.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
This mini-review is really giving this complex fantasy novel short shrift. This was my first book by Jemisin, an author I’ve wanted to read for a while, and this book didn’t disappoint. I’m not a huge reader of epic fantasy, but this book had such an intriguing concept I was drawn in. Yeine Darr is a young woman whose mother used to be heir to the kingdom, until she married wrong and became an outcast. After her parents die, Yeine is summoned by the king and named one of his three heirs – only she’ll need to fight the other two to the death to gain the throne, which she doesn’t even want. What’s really interesting about this novel is the struggle between gods and men. One god has ascended as the all-powerful while the other gods have been forced to live among the men and serve them during the day, while at night they take on some of their powers. Yeine becomes caught between the gods and the men, when really she just wants to understand what happened to her parents and save her homeland. This wasn’t my usual type of read, but I really enjoyed it. If you like complex, thoughtful fantasy with a strong female character, you’ll like this book.
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Earlier this month, I was having trouble finishing books, due to stress at work and the holidays. So after giving up on a few weightier books, I decided to read just for fun. At the same time, I saw this great article on books that are like the TV series Jessica Jones. One of the series on this list was my favorite urban fantasy series by Patricia Briggs. So, Hamilton being first on the list, I gave it a try. I’d always heard that Hamilton’s books were on the erotic side, which I wasn’t really looking for. That’s not what I found in this book (although I hear her later books have a lot more sex). What I got was Jessica Jones in a novel, as promised – Anita Blake is a tough, smart heroine who can fight, take out her enemies, but still cares about other people. Sure, it’s all clichés, but this book is ten years old and Hamilton’s first, and in a lot of ways she helped to establish the genre. I will say I found a lot of the heroine’s decisions questionable, and there’s an awful lot of man-candy, but this isn’t a book you pick apart, it’s one you just read for fun. All in all, I’d still start with Patricia Briggs if you’re looking for good urban fantasy. I just love her characters. In fact reading Guilty Pleasures inspired me to reread the first two books in the Mercy Thompson series.
It’s December, after all, and time to take it easy. Have you read any good series books lately?
I’m glad to see your review of Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I hope to read it soon.
I just bought Jemisin’s novel. Glad you liked it.