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December 7th, 2009 - Phil's Rambling Rants

December 7th, 2009

December 7th, 2009
11:39 am

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Book review: The Dragon Book
I'm never going to catch up on my book reviews, but I'm going to try to get at least a few of the recent ones.  I'll start with The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, an original anthology of stories about dragons.

Given how hopelessly smitten with large magical quasi-lizards of nearly every description I am, I figured this book must have been written just for me.  I'm afraid that I came away disappointed, though.  None of the stories were completely uninteresting.  Most of them were pretty good.  But none of them grabbed me the way I'm grabbed by most of the novels I read that feature dragons.  The most memorable thing in the whole book was the pun in the Tad Williams story, which I think makes my personal top 10 list but doesn't crack the top 3.  A couple of other lighthearted stories, but nothing else that I remember laughing (or groaning) aloud for.  Several stories that touched my heart lightly, but none more than that.  A couple that just left me shaking my head going "meh".

6 out of 10.

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01:24 pm

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Book review: Moon Called
Next, I'm going to mention Moon Called by Patricia Briggs.

This is the first book in the Mercy Thompson series.  It tells a complete story but leaves plenty of obvious room for the characters to go on and do more.

This is another of the currently burgeoning genre of werewolves, vampires, and such creatures poking around at the edges of our present day society.  There's nothing highly original about this world, but it's fairly well handled, using the method of not going into much detail about how the supernatural stuff works.  Most of us don't go into a werewolf novel in a very skeptical mood anyway; as long as an author doesn't deliberately rub our noses in something too jarringly bogus, we can go with the flow, and that's just what Briggs does here.  Just enough detail about the wider world to support the personal story about the characters we meet, and those characters are compelling.  At least, they compel me.  I find that a couple of paragraphs introducing a character sympathetically, plus telling me that the character is a werewolf, is enough to leave me ready to take a bullet for that character.  Bad things happen to minor characters to advance the plot, and I measure how strongly I'm pulled into the world by just how much pain I feel for them.

I'm still thinking about these characters and their ethical choices after several days and a fair bit of other reading.  I don't think it's a perfect book, but it's damn good.  9 out of 10.

quick plot summaryCollapse )

ETA: Crap, I meant to say something about the cover (on the 2006 Ace mass market paperback), and I just realized that I'd posted without it. I seldom pay much attention to cover art. Covers often have nothing to do with the book, and I just roll my eyes about it. But the bimbo on the cover of this book has just enough to do with the Mercy in the story that the wrongness is really grating. The text is not porn. The cover is. I don't have anything against porn, but I actually felt just a teeny bit uncomfortable about reading a book with this cover picture in the doctor's office -- because while *I* don't have anything against porn, other people aren't so enlightened. I could go on, but I hope I made my point.

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