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31 December 2010 @ 08:01 am
143. Killashandra by Anne McCaffrey
Crystal Singer, book 2
Adult, Science Fiction, 384p

144. *Doctor Who: The Slitheen Excursion by Simon Guerrier, read by Debbie Chazen
Science Fiction, Audiobook, 5h41m

Entertaining enough and Chazen did a fine job reading. I'm sometimes disappointed that book-companions tend to be single-story characters; June was a fun character.

144 / 160 books (89%)
62 / 80 *new books (77%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
39517 / 48000 pages. (82%)
Audiobooks: 65h20m
25 December 2010 @ 08:38 pm
137. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
Chrestomanci (chronological order), book 6
Young Adult, Fantasy, 480p

138. Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen
Pit Dragons Trilogy, book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 320p

139. Heart's Blood by Jane Yolen
Pit Dragons Trilogy, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 368p

140. A Sending of Dragons by Jane Yolen
Pit Dragons Trilogy, book 3
Young Adult, Fantasy, 320p

141. Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey
Crystal Singer, book 1
Adult, Science Fiction, 311p

142. *Doctor Who: The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper, read by Will Thorp(e)
Science Fiction, Audiobook, 5h20m

142 / 160 books (89%)
61 / 80 *new books (77%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
39133 / 48000 pages. (82%)
Audiobooks: 59h39m
09 December 2010 @ 10:52 am
132. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Immortals Quartet, Book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 384p

Even in a world filled with magic, Daine Sarrasi's gift with animals stands out, and between her unusual gift and having to hide the secrets from her past, it's easier for her to connect with animals than people. It takes time (and some gentle and not-so-gentle coaxing from friends and mentors) for Daine to come to trust her new acquaintances.

I really enjoy these books and always like the strong women characters that Pierce writes, but she does have a tendency to do things like pound us over the head with the idea that something bad had happened in her past, long before we find out what it is. A few fewer - or more subtle - mentions of how she can't trust these new people with her secret because they'd surely hate her would have been just as effective, if not more so. Regardless, it's a good story and a fun, easy read.

133. Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Immortals Quartet, Book 3
Young Adult, Fantasy, 358p

Daine and her friends are sent to Carthack, to meet with the Emperor. Daine's duty is to see if she can heal the Emperor's pet birds and otherwise to stay out of trouble, but unfortunately for her, the god-touched don't have a choice about where and when they're called on to intervene.

Emperor Mage is another thoroughly enjoyable Tortall story. The Immortals series really improves with each book. I love Daine's interactions with the gods and how she chooses to use her borrowed power in a way that reflects her so very well (and which is not precisely the way she is expected to use it).

134. Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
Immortals Quartet, Book 4
Young Adult, Fantasy, 368p

Daine and Numair go up against a group of magical creatures of a kind they've never seen before and when it turns out that neither Daine's wild magic nor Numair's Gift can effect them, rescue comes from a surprising direction. But now they're stuck elsewhere while war threatens Tortall.

There are a lot of new and interesting characters introduced in this last book in the Immortals series, including various gods, dragons, and other immortals and magical creatures, and Daine's prejudices against Stormwings are tested. The realm of the gods itself is an intriguing place to read about, with different rules from the moral realm and wonders and dangers all its own. It's a fitting end to the series.

135. Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
Young Adult, Fantasy, 422p

A wonderful adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. I love this book - I probably liked fairy tales when I was a kid, but now the kind of story where the princess sits (or lays, as the case may be) around waiting for the prince to rescue her don't appeal to me. This is a much more active story, with the princess taking part in her own defense. The animal characters are fantastic - the different personalities they have are so appropriate to the species. And as always with McKinley's books, the description is incredible, with so much detail that the world seems to come alive.

136. *Gool by Maurice Gee
The Salt Trilogy, Book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 215p (read 110p)

ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

I found Gool a meandering, boring story with characters I had trouble telling apart, dialogue that didn't make sense, and a world I wasn't drawn into. It may have made more sense if I'd read book one of the trilogy, Salt, first but I couldn't find a copy.

136 / 160 books (85%)
60 / 80 *new books (75%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
37334 / 48000 pages. (78%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m
09 December 2010 @ 10:47 am
126. Blood Price by Tanya Huff
Blood series, Book 1
Adult, Fantasy, 272p

127. Blood Lines by Tanya Huff
Blood series, Book 3
Adult, Fantasy, 271p

128. Blood Pact by Tanya Huff
Blood series, Book 4
Adult, Fantasy, 332p

129. Blood Debt by Tanya Huff
Blood series, Book 5
Adult, Fantasy, 330p

130. Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff
Smoke series, Book 1
Adult, Fantasy, 396p

131. Smoke and Ashes by Tanya Huff
Smoke series, Book 3
Adult, Fantasy, 407p

131 / 160 books (82%)
59 / 80 *new books (74%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
35692 / 48000 pages. (74%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m
09 December 2010 @ 10:42 am
122. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 1
Adult, Science Fiction, 313 pages

123. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 2
Adult, Science Fiction, 317 pages

124. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 3
Adult, Science Fiction, 316 pages

125. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
Old Man's War series, Book 4
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 336 pages

125 / 160 books (78%)
59 / 80 *new books (74%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
33684 / 48000 pages. (70%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m
28 November 2010 @ 12:06 pm
119. *Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan, book 2
Juvenile, Steampunk/Alternate History, 481p

121. *Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Pegasus, Book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 397p

ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Sylvani, king's daughter, is preparing to be magically bonded to a son of the king of the Pegasi, as is required by the treaty between their kingdoms. To everyone's shock, at the ceremony it turns out that Sylvani can mindspeak with her bonded pegasus. Which is impossible. Except it isn't.

I was concerned about how McKinley would be able to put the pegasus - froo-froo fantastical creature to the extreme - into a serious novel. There was no need to worry, though; McKinley's nonhuman characters have always been at least as well developed as the humans. The Pegasi are amazing.

I read this knowing that it was Part 1 of an as-yet-unfinished tale, and McKinley mentioned on her blog that the ending is unsatisfying, so I knew what was coming. But I was still surprised and upset at the cliffhanger where the story stops. I loved the book, but I expect the next time I read it will be right before Book 2 is released, whenever that will be. I can't wait.

121 / 160 books (76%)
59 / 80 *new books (74%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
32402 / 48000 pages. (62%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m

(#120 left out because there are two #64s)
28 November 2010 @ 12:00 pm
113. *Wired by Robin Wasserman
Skinned, book 3
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 400p

114. The Cat Who Played Post Office by Lillian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who, book 6
Adult, Mystery, 262 pages

115. The Cat Who Went into the Closet by Lillian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who, book 15
Adult, Mystery, 288 pages

116. The Cat Who Blew the Whistle by Lillian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who, book 17
Adult, Mystery, 311 pages

117. The Cat Who Tailed a Thief by Lillian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who, book 19
Adult, Mystery, 247 pages

118. The Cat Who Came to Breakfast by Lillian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who, book 16
Adult, Mystery, 272 Pages

118 / 160 books (74%)
57 / 80 *new books (71%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
31524 / 48000 pages. (62%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m
13 November 2010 @ 09:48 am
108. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness, book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 231p

While Alanna (like all of Pierce's characters) is slightly Mary Sue-ish, her story is enjoyable, she and her friends are endearing, and the world Pierce created for them to inhabit is believable. Strong female characters are Pierce's specialty and Alanna is the roughest of the bunch.

109. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 240p

The entry of romance into her life frustrates and baffles Alanna. All she wants is to become a knight, and these distractions confuse her. Several new characters enters the picture, including one who nobody seems to see as a menace except her.

Another enjoyable book with the strong female lead. Alanna makes her own choices and refuses to be bound by her society's restrictive rules.

110. The Woman Who Rides Like A Man by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness, book 3
Young Adult, Fantasy, 253p

After achieving her knighthood and defeating a great enemy, Alanna leaves the palace and all her friends to discover who she is and where she belongs.

The third book in this series introduces still more new people and challenges to this growing character. She learns diplomacy and teaching and gains the respect of another race of people. Another enjoyable book.

111. Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Song of the Lioness, book 4
Young Adult, Fantasy, 320p

Alanna goes on a quest, determined to prove to everyone (including herself) that she is worthy of her shield. When she returns, great changes have occurred and she is tested even more.

Lioness Rampant is the strongest book in the SotL series.

112. Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
The Immortals, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 344p

112 / 160 books (70%)
56 / 80 *new books (70%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
29744 / 48000 pages. (62%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m
12 November 2010 @ 09:12 pm
106. *Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan, book 1
Juvenile, Steampunk/Alternate History, 448p

Alek, the young heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run after his parents are assassinated. Deryn has disguised herself as a boy in order to join the British air fleet. Although they're on opposite sides of a war that's just beginning, this is the story of how they meet.

It is also the story of giant mechanical monsters and enormous genetically-engineered creatures, with which the war will be fought.

Not surprisingly, Leviathan is a fun read with great characters and vivid worldbuilding, aided by Keith Thompson's stunning illustrations. While I was expecting a young adult book and the writing and plotting lean more towards juvenile, it's an excellent book and highly recommended as the first in the series.

107. Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small, book 4
Young Adult, Fantasy, 409p

107 / 160 books (67%)
56 / 80 *new books (70%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
28356 / 48000 pages. (59%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m
06 November 2010 @ 11:12 pm
102. Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper series, book 1
Young Adult, fantasy, 563 pages

Terrier is a fun, fast-paced story about Beka Cooper, a former street urchin who is training for Dog (police) work.

The book is set up as Beka's diary or journal but reads like a first-person novel, and as with many of Pierce's heroines, Beka has special features and abilities which help her on her chosen path. It's an enjoyable book, though not without flaws, and a good set-up for the sequel Bloodhound, which is an excellent book.

103. *Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Beka Cooper series, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 538 pages

As much as Kel (Protector of the Small) is still my favorite Pierce heroine, Bloodhound is the best book so far in the Tortall series, if not the best Pierce has ever written. I wasn't overly thrilled with Terrier, but Bloodhound more than made up for it. Bloodhound is well-written and the characters are believable and interesting. The plot strong and intriguing, magic is used occasionally and not as a constant crutch, and Pierce is not afraid to put characters in real, even deadly danger as fits the plot and setting.

I do have two minor technical issues with the book. The first is that, as with Terrier, Bloodhound was supposedly written as a journal but, again like Terrier, it reads like a first-person novel. I've read books in this style that are good reads but also are believably journals, and this is not believably a journal. However, it doesn't detract much from the book and is amusing at times.

The second issue is that it's never explained how the coles (counterfeit coins) are being made. It's not possible to simply melt silver and pour it over brass disks to coat them, and no "silver paint" would match so perfectly with real silver as to fool suspicious people. But as I said, this is a technical issue and it wouldn't have come up if I hadn't studied metalworking, or if I hadn't been so impressed with how Pierce had dealt with metalworking in the Circle series.

Those two small issues aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend the series to anyone who likes a fun fantasy read with a bit of crime drama mixed in.

104. Page by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small, book 2
Young Adult, Fantasy, 288p

Page covers Kel's second, third, and forth years as a page. She passed her first year's probationary period and has gained acceptance from many people, but she still must fight prejudice from some quarters, including several teachers, a gaggle of fellow students, and conservative nobles who oppose any change in the status quo.

This book has its ups and downs. The dialogue occasionally knocks me out of suspension of disbelief by being sounding too modern and there are long stretches of time that are glossed over or simply absent because it's a short book covering three years and occasionally this is jarring. However, overall I enjoy the book.

105. Squire by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small, book 3
Young Adult, Fantasy, 380p

Kel passed the big exams and has become a squire. Lady Alanna is still not allowed to be near her (for fear that she'll enchant Kel to succeed), dashing Kel's hopes of being her squire, but instead Kel is chosen by Alanna's friend Raoul to squire for him and travel with the warriors of the King's Own.

This is one of my favorite Tamora Pierce books - Kel is my favorite, in my opinion the most realistic and the least Mary-Sueish of Pierce's heroines, in part because she has no innate magical ability and therefore must figure everything out without that kind of help (or crutch). Squire is my favorite of the Protector of the Small books, possibly because Kel is such a quiet and serious character most of the time and in Squire, with Raoul and the men of the Own around, her sense of humor comes out.

105 / 160 books (66%)
55 / 80 *new books (69%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
27499 / 48000 pages. (57%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m