I’ve had the chance to read a little more this year. I thought I’d catch up on the three books I’ve finished to date and give each a brief review.

Nona the Ninth

I’m very much a fan of the Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir. Each book has been, so far, uniquely different from the previous ones, even as they follow a natural story progression. My only issue is I can’t keep up with all the named characters from one book to the next, there’s far too many of them. So, I spent much of this book a bit confused as to who was who in relation to who had come before. But I dug the story, the setting, the overall weirdness, and Nona was a compelling character in her very simple but powerful way. The novel spends much time on showing people helping each other in the face of a system which has collapsed, which is a wonderful choice.

Well worth the time, and I’d rank it slightly higher than the also excellent Harrow the Ninth, but slightly behind Gideon the Ninth.

Master and Commander

My eldest son bought me the first four books of this long beloved series for Christmas, and I’ve now had the opportunity to read the first one. I’ve long enjoyed the movie, so I had a good idea what to expect, but Patrick O’Brien did far more than write a compelling ship novel set in the Napoleonic era. He wrote as if it were written in the same time period. Which is both staggering in how adept he proved at the task, and annoying at how it pushes the material away from modern readers and makes it a bit more of a difficult read. I sometimes found myself drifting through paragraphs, completely lost at sea in the anachronisms and language used.

Overall I enjoyed it well enough to finish it, and I’ll eventually get to the other novels on my shelf. But this book reminded me of reading Moby Dick, only the whale is the French navy. Three pages on just the various masts and types of sails on the ship was a LOT to digest.

The Mountain in the Sea

I’m a big fan of Ray Nayler’s science fiction short stories, so when he started promoting his upcoming book, I added it to my wish list. It’s a lovely, thoughtful novel set in a future that feels very much like an accurate prediction of the direction we are headed (sadly). But beneath all the pain and heartache, the isolation of each of our main characters from the others around them, there’s a profound sense of crossing huge divides to find commonalities and forge connections, even with intelligence that seems entirely alien to our own thinking.

Excellent book. If you’re into the science fiction of deeper thoughts and less “pew pew” action, this is one book for you to read.

Those are the three I’ve read to date. I’m now reading Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, which is a delightful book so far and I’m adoring it. The main character has a compelling voice.

I think what I love most about this year of reading so far is how very different each book is, both in topic as well as tone and voice. One futuristic sci/fi fantasy, one historical fiction, one science fiction, and now one that’s low fantasy (I think that’s the best description for it; completely secondary world, medieval in tone, but no magic). I love variety, clearly.

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