Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What to buy for Christmas...

I could tell you about the latest idiocy re Malaysia and censorship. Or I could tell you what I think of a certain President who ignored and sidelined the very people paid by his government to investigate the truth about the lack - or presence - of WMD in Iraq (one of them a personal friend of ours, so I know what I am talking about) and who now has the gall to lie, "Nobody told me!"

Instead, in the next few days, I'm going to tell you what to buy for Christmas. Books of course.

For those who like long, complex stories I recommend the following:

I've only read the first 3 books, but I have no doubt that the next two will be just as good. For a start, David is an expert with characterization. A series like this has a great many people roaming through Dukedoms, realms and an Empire, and we follow a number of them, yet each is memorable and distinct. There was no glossary of characters, yet I rarely had to refer back to see who someone was. That's classy writing.

It's a series for those who like politics and machinations, villainy on a large scale, different levels and fascinating kinds of magic, and heroes who have to make choices that are far from easy. There were times when I thought he nailed the true problems of racial politics and relationships and prejudices with uncanny accuracy. And because very early on he killed off a couple of likeable characters, I am none to sure who is going to make it to the end alive and well, so the tension is there too. The remaining two books are high on my TBR pile.

Tide Lords tetralogy by Jennifer Fallon.
(Ok, so maybe it's not all out in US and UK yet. Never mind, you can get it from Australia...)

The Immortal Prince; Gods of Amyrantha; Palace of Impossible Dreams; The Chaos Crystal.

This one is for anyone who likes strong plots with lots of twists, and plenty of strong characters vying for preeminence with diabolical deviousness. Complex politics, interesting use of magic, the kind of world that you think you have a handle on until Jenny peels back another layer and you realise you didn't have it worked out after all. Not until Book 3 do you realise just who is calling the shots, and has been all along, and you don't understand why until well into book 4. And not until the end of Book 4 do you realise fully just what has been going on...

I guess what I liked best was the way that you keep on thinking you understand, only to find out later that you were mistaken. It's easy enough to keep a reader thoroughly confused, but that's not what Jenny does. She does something much harder for a writer, she continually changes your perception.
Don't, whatever you do, read the last pages first. You'll regret it if you do.
I loved the ending. Brilliant.

2 comments:

Jo said...

Thanks for the recommendations Glenda, I will look out for these two sets of books. I am always looking for something new to read.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jenny's series is good, and I was a very good girl and didn't read the last pages first (and I agree highly with your recommendation regarding the last pages) - but the ending left me feeling completely flat and rather disappointed.

Okay, there were some interesting quirks that had me chuckling, but the location of the ending just jolted me right out of the story - I'll say no more as I don't want to leave any spoilers lying around.

Barb