Friday, January 23, 2009

52 books- summary #1

To find a balance between not clogging my blog with thoughts/reviews on every book I finish this year for the "52 books" challenge and still posting about those books, I'm going to post little reviews (not even so much "reviews" as "short thoughts on the books") every time I finish ten or so books. It would just be crazy to make posts every time I finish one, considering that it's only the third week into the year and I've already finished ten and am working on three more. Needless to say, I'm probably going to get way over 52 books by the end of the year (at this rate I'll reach 52 by what, April? Don't quote me on that, though, because I'm terrible at math.) ;)

So here are the first ten I've finished so far this year:

-The Warded Man by Peter Brett
I already reviewed this one, so I'll keep this short and just say how it is an amazing book and I heartily recommend it. Can I give it 6 stars out of 5? 5 stars and a planet?

-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This was one of the ones I listed to in audiobook form, but I can still say that I enjoyed this short story (short stories make for good audiobooks, I've found). It's completely illogical and a really silly concept, but since that's the point, it's a pretty good story. This is only the second Fitzgerald story I've read (I read The Great Gatsby in high school, but remember very little of it), but now I want to read (or listen to) more of his works. I'd give this 4 out of 5 stars.

~Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
I also listened to this one in audiobook form, but I feel like I missed out by not reading it. (Technically this was a reread since I read it as a kid, but that was so long ago that I had completely forgotten the plot.) I really liked it, though (I mean, it's a story about pirates. Of course I'm going to like it!), and it's going to go on my "to buy soon" list so that I can better enjoy it. It also got me wanting to read more Stevenson, so I'm currently listening to Kidnapped. This would get 4 or 4 1/2 stars, but that's likely to go up once I'm able to read it in book form.

-Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey
I was less than impressed with this anthology of short stories; the previous ones were better, in my opinion. Some of the stories were pretty good, but overall if it hadn't been a book about Valdemar, I probably wouldn't have been nearly as interested. As it was, I couldn't get through the short story in it that was actually written by the author of the series; it was ridiculous and definitely not up to par with the rest of the things she has written in said series. I know the story was supposed to be silly, but I just didn't like it, so it started off the book on a sour note (that was the first story in the book). I'd give this maybe 3 stars, but that's probably being generous and still riding on the glamor Valdemar holds over me.

~Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
This was about on level with the rest of the Tortall books, but the "Protector of the Small" books aren't my favorites of the series (that would probably be the "Immortals" subseries, which I reread last month). Overall, though, I liked the plot and the characters- as you can tell by the fact that this was a reread. :) The Tortall books are really good, just not the greatest fantasy series I've read; the fact that they're young adult probably has something to do with that, though. I just tend to prefer more adult fantasy. I recently bought a new Tortall book, and that's in my "to read" pile- I'm looking forward to reading that one. 4 stars for the "Protector of the Small" subseries.

~Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Okay, it's Mark Twain and I adore his wit and style, so I'm a bit biased here. I didn't like the book nearly as much as A Connecticut Yankee (but then again, very little can top Twain and King Arthur in my mind), but it was a very good story and Tom is amusing. I really liked the quote "A robber is more high-toned than what a pirate is- as a general thing. In most countries they're awful high up in the nobility- dukes and such." Such a classic Twain comment. ;) This book was also a sort of reread in that I read it as a kid and remembered very little of it. I'll give this 4 or 4 1/2.

~Mort by Terry Pratchett
Another bias on my part; this was the very first Discworld book I ever read. I happened to randomly pick it up at the bookstore when I was in high school (honestly just based on the cover art and blurb on the back) and from there it spiraled into an addiction. This is so much a reread that my copy is all bent up (although not quite as bad as some Discworld books, lol). This is also a double bias because I used to roleplay (although now I just cosplay) the daughter of the characters in this book, so reading this story always feels like home, you know? This isn't even so much a review as my personal thoughts on this book, huh? Well, the story is great, the characters are great (Mort is so adorable and Death is always amusing in a somewhat pathetic way) and I definitely give this book 5 stars.

~The "Elemental Masters" books by Mercedes Lackey
I'm grouping these together because I read two of them last month (before the book challenge started) and three this month. I really enjoy this series and it's gotten me into wanting to read more historical fiction (this series takes place in the early 1900's). My favorite of the books is Phoenix and Ashes, probably because of the secondary character who is an earth witch, and the fact that the main character learns magic through tarot cards. That's one of the great things about Lackey- she writes really well about witchcraft and pagan themes, and I've found that to be a rare skill. Authors tend to either trivialize it or make the magic entirely unrealistic (and don't get me started on how many times those themes have been portrayed in a bad or condescending light- not just in books but everywhere), but I can always trust her to do a good job writing it. Yay for pagan-friendly authors! Anyway, I'd give this series 4 1/2 stars, although that may be subject to change because I still need to read one of the books in the series and I've heard that one isn't as good as the rest, so it may pull down the score.

Wow, this entry ended up longer than I wanted, even with trying to keep the reviews short. I blame the fact that I can be more than a bit longwinded when it comes to talking about books. ;) I guess it's a good thing that I only need to worry about posting one or two of these a month! And hey, I promise that my next update will be art-related. I've been slowly making a few plushies so I'll share those in the next update. :)


Melissa said...

I snickered a bit when I read your review on Tom Sawyer. Nothing you said, really. Just reminded me of how much I grew to hate Mark Twain over the past four and a half years. Going to college in Hannibal, MO makes one sick of Mark Twain. Hehe.

Sorry. I probably should've kept that to myself, but it amused me a bit.

Merily said...

LOL! Makes me glad no famous authors came from where I live- I can totally understand how you'd get sick of someone for that reason!

But yeah, I took a class in college (I can't remember if it was my American Humor or Victorian Lit class- possibly both) where we studied some of Twain's political satire and that's where I really started liking the man's style. :)

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