Books Read in April, 2018
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross
Torg Eternity: Day 1 (Adventures) by Dean Gilbert, Darrell Hayhurst, Shane Lacy Hensley et. al. (RPG)
Beyond the Sun edited by Brian Thomas Schmidt
Torg Eternity: Delphi Missions: Rising Storm by Greg Gordon, Darrell Hayhurst et. al. (RPG)
Before the Dawn by Greg Gordon et. al. (RPG) (r)
The Final Countdown by Martin Wixted (RPG) (r)
Applied Science by Stewart Wieck (RPG) (r)
Damsel in Distress by James Long (RPG) (r)
The Mystic Flame by Louis Prosperi (RPG) (r)
Spelljack by Steve Crow (RPG) (r)
Love by Christopher Kubasik (RPG) (r)
Raiko by Nigel D. Findley (RPG) (r)
The Burden of Glory by the Torg Eternity Team (PDF) (RPG)
The Riverside Heist by Matt Ritchie (PDF) (RPG)
Run Through the Jungle by Brian Reeves (PDF) (RPG)
Day 2: Road to Philadelphia by David Chart (PDF) (RPG)
The Améliorer Virus by David Dolph (PDF) (RPG)
The Janus Agenda: Day 1 by Simon English (PDF) (RPG)
The Janus Agenda: Characters by Simon English (PDF) (RPG)
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (r)
March, 2018 Locus
The Golden Pearl by Cassandra Beck
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Blame by Jeff Abbott
In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne
And those were my reads in the month of April. I managed to read more books than I expected in April, some re-reads, some not, and the number of gaming reads for the old Torg: The Possibility Wars and the new Torg Eternity RPGs "pad" the list out somewhat, but it was a good month of reads with some very entertaining works. Again, it's been very difficult for me to actually hold a book in my hands or to lean one against my hands over the past few months due to the problems I'm having with my left shoulder/neck/arm and spine.
The books I enjoyed the most were:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - I really had no idea what to expect in this novel, but read it based on the cover blurb I saw when the book came out. What I got was a delicious, tasty repast of perfectly prepared insects aboard the Wayfarer, the tunneling vessel and primary habitat presented in the book, enjoying wonderful dialogue and conversations and a surprisingly diverse collection of humans, aliens, and an excellent example of an AI. While each chapter of the book felt almost like a "moral of the week" bit from a 90s television series, the overall story is about the characters aboard the Wayfarer and how their relationships change over time as the actual plot of the book weaves throughout the story.
While it took me a good deal of time to read this book due to the density of the material, this was a highly enjoyable book, and I highly recommend it.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman - What can I say? This was one of my re-reads of the month. The first book in the His Dark Materials series, The Golden Compass tells the story of Lyra Bellacqua, a young and rebellious girl living in a world where each person has a daemon in the form of an animal that is their spirit. The novel's writing is top notch and the characterisation of Lyra and the other characters is quite wonderful. I still recommend the book to those who ask me about it, and my love for this book has strengthened with every re-read.
In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne - The first book in the Bound Gods series. This is a gritty, blood-soaked novel, full of flawed characters - some of whom the reader will root for, others which the reader won't bring themselves to trust. That said, this isn't your tired epic fantasy of farm boys on an adventure, instead illustrating the cruelty of the mob and how inner strength and loyalty can be found in unlikely places despite a cold, harsh world. The book pulls the reader into the world of Fiatera, sets its hooks and concludes with the heroes (and/or villains) growing and beginning new paths. If you like dark fantasy in the genre of the works of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, or Steven Erikson, then pick up the first book in this series by debut author Rachel Dunne.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst - The first book in the Queens of Renthia series, this novel is a fascinating read. Everything in this world has an elemental spirit, each ruled by contradictory impulses, to create and to destroy. For the world to survive, there must be a human Queen to rule over the spirits and temper their impulses. In this novel, Daleina, a young, determined woman, trains to become an heir to the current Queen and forms a partnership with Champion Ven, who is in disgrace after questioning the current Queen. Daleina's origin and struggle to become an heir is up against the background of a horrible betrayal and a time of strife for the whole country. Daleina's not the most powerful of magic users, but she's clever, resourceful and provides leadership over raw power. Champion Ven is torn between his love for Queen Fara and his duty to the country and to his young student. Throw in some terrific world-building and a fascinating system of magic, and you get a terrific start to this series. Highly recommended.
Overall, I managed to read 8 novels, 4 RPGs and RPG products, 1 magazine, 0 comics, and 0 graphic novels in April. This brings the year total in 2018 to a set of numbers that look like this: 26 books, 10 RPGs and RPG products, 6 magazines, 0 comics, and 0 graphic novels.
Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)