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A couple things I’ve read

When I was a child, I had several Dream Jobs. I wanted to be an astronaut, of course, and I also considered careers in paleontology and archaeology. But high, very high on my list was “any job where people will pay me to read, or failing that, give me lots of free books.”

Reader, it turns out that I now have such a job. And in some ways it is exactly as awesome as I had dreamed. More awesome! And yet. Now that I get books sent to me for free on a regular basis (nothing like Scalzi gets, but still, it’s a couple a week in my email or in my PO box), I do not have time to read them all.

I do try to read them! Because, I mean. It’s just, it takes me a while, because I have so much other job-related reading to do.

Anyway. I get books. And I read them, if slowly. And sometimes I enjoy them quite a bit! Like for instance.

Borderline, by Mishell Baker. This is I think what the kids call urban fantasy. Which mostly isn’t my sort of thing–I’ve got nothing against it, but it usually doesn’t do a lot for me. I’m pretty sure I’m not its target audience. But I enjoyed Borderline quite a lot. And this is the part where I should say why I enjoyed it, but I am remarkably bad at doing that. I can talk about things that caught my eye–the protagonist has Borderline Personality Disorder, which is treated pretty matter-of-factly, without romanticizing or demonizing the character or her illness. The other characters were nicely drawn as well, I thought, and I enjoyed the Hollywood setting (though to be honest, Hollywood might as well be Faery itself as far as I’m concerned). If you enjoy urban fantasy, you should check this out. If you aren’t a UF reader, well, maybe check it out anyway, because it’s a lot of fun.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. If you’ve read any of Yoon’s short fiction, you know he’s fabulous. I confess myself partial to “The Winged City,” which I bought for GigaNotoSaurus several years ago. Now he’s got a novel coming out, and it’s (unsurprisingly) excellent. It’s out June 14, but I got an ARC and boy am I glad I did. Here’s a blurb I found at the Amazon listing:

“I love Yoon’s work! Ninefox Gambit is solidly and satisfyingly full of battles and political intrigue, in a beautifully built far-future that manages to be human and alien at the same time. It should be a treat for readers already familiar with Yoon’s excellent short fiction, and an extra treat for readers finding Yoon’s work for the first time.”

Every word of that is true. I know because I wrote that blurb myself.  Honestly, you should read this as soon as you can. And you should check out Yoon’s short fiction as well.

Books you might enjoy

So, it won’t be long till Ancillary Mercy is available pretty much everywhere. So far reviewers seem to like it! Like, for instance, B&N’s Sci Fi and Fantasy Blog:

I’ll admit that after finishing the second book, I couldn’t imagine how Leckie could wrap up the series with just one more. I thought I knew how things needed to end, but, with skill and grace, Leckie proved me wrong. She has delivered a thrilling, clever, and incredibly satisfying conclusion, one that is both totally unexpected and redefines the two previous books. In short, Ancillary Mercy is an absolute delight.

But unless you’re a reviewer, you can’t read it yet. Sorry! I wish you could! I’d make it available to all of you right now if I could. But as it is, you’ll have to wait about twenty more days.

In the meantime, here are two books I’ve read recently that you might enjoy! And they’re out now, so no waiting.

First up, Zen Cho’s delightful Sorcerer to the Crown.

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman–a freed slave who doesn t even have a familiar–as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession.
At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain–and the world at large.

It’s a book that’s very much in conversation with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (which I loved loved loved and if you haven’t read it yet, add that to your “Waiting for Ancillary Mercy” reading list). If you liked JS&MN, you will almost certainly enjoy Sorcerer to the Crown. If you enjoy Jane Austen, and/or Patrick O’Brien, likewise. Or Georgette Heyer, I gather, though I’ve only read one or two of hers and can’t speak authoritatively on that.

If you are allergic to Austen or O’Brien, or JS&MN, well, maybe this won’t be your thing? But honestly, this book is just great fun.

In the interest of full disclosure (and also of giving you cool stuff to read), when I edited GigaNotoSaurus I bought a story of Zen’s, “The House of Aunts.” It’s free, it’s awesome, it’s shorter than a novel.

The other book you might want to check out is Fran Wilde’s Updraft. It’s set in a world where people live in the tops of constantly growing towers of bone, and people fly between towers on manmade wings.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.
As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever-if it isn’t destroyed outright.

I happen to know that Fran did some actual wind tunnel skydiving as research for this. This book has political intrigue, action, airborne wind tunnel combat, and voracious flying monsters with tentacles. Seriously. You want to read this.