Sea of Images 2021

Past Squares 7: A Look Back at This Kickass Reading Year (2021)

This is also today’s post for Life of B’s Past Squares!

The Reading Year (So Far, 2021)

From wsj’s Best Books of 2020/Science Fiction:

  • The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal – So far, one of the best novels she’s read in 2021
  • Ballistic Kiss, by Richard Kadrey – wildly inventive, self wasn’t so taken with the he/she/they gender politics of a major character

In a category by itself:

  • Dark, Salt, Clear, by Lamorna Ash — A first book by a 22-year-old, E.S.A.D.

Kick-Ass Discovery of the Year:

  • Eddie’s Boy, by Thomas Perry, the sequel to a 1982 novel, The Butcher’s Boy – That’s chutzpah, coming up with a sequel 40 years later. Kudos! Self added The Butcher’s Boy to her reading list.

from wsj’s Best Books of 2020/Mysteries:

  • All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny — Self adored Jean-Guy Beauvoir and of course Paris.
  • One Fatal Flaw, by Anne Perry — All hail the May-December almost-romance between 25-year-old Daniel Pitt and 40-year-old Miriam Crofft, daughter of his employer.

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Memoir

  • A Promised Land, by Barack Obama — Beautifully written, can’t believe 45 was succeeded by Drumpf.

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Fiction

  • SHUGGIE BAIN, by Douglas Stuart — an absolutely immersive experience, though her favorite character was not the title character but his unheralded older brother, Leek

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Business and Economics

  • No Rules Rules — This one was a disappointment.

from wsj’s Books of the Year 2020/Travels in the New North

  • Ice Walker, by James Raffan — another absolutely immersive experience, the ending almost broke self.

from Jonathan Strahan’s Notes from a Year Spent Indoors (Locus Magazine)

  • the first two books in Joe Abercrombie’s (smashing) Age of Madness trilogy and her first Grimdark: A Little Hatred and The Trouble with Peace

SPOILER ALERT (Hopefully the Last) for TTWP

Heavily Pregnant, She Nevertheless Survives! Self is referring to Savine da Glotka, who began this book 600 pages ago having a pea in her belly, and after all this time, STILL HAS NOT GIVEN BIRTH but escapes from the battlefield with two loyal servants (all this while HUGELY pregnant — you’d think that would attract some attention)

How come SHE gets to keep her servants? Any servants self had (All in the Philippines; she’s an American now) would never stick with her if she wasn’t, you know, the daughter of so-and-so.

Savine is so sorry, so legitimately sorry! She has the brilliant idea of offering her life in exchange for her husband’s, which of course is moot because the King, who decides fates, is still madly in love with her (even though she is his sister)

UGH! Cersei/Jamie Lannister redux!

Leo, go look for handsome Jurand and hopefully there are enough pieces of you left to still have a satisfying life with him.

A scene that self absolutely abhors takes place: Savine, hugely pregnant (HOW LONG do babies take to be born? Here’s the answer for you: 600 pages), meets King Orso, whereupon he finds himself overtaken with — FEELINGS. Because he’s still in love with her! Oh, is that a gash on your head, dear lady? Oh my love, how shattered I would be if you actually died! Kiss kiss.

I look to see how long this scene lasts. Oh, a whole chapter. GAH.

“Were you a part of this?” King Orso asks.

“Yes,” whispers Savine.

Then: “I love you, I still fucking love you.”

AARGH! Get out, the both of you! You deserve each other!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Top Grimdark: The Brodd Silent Scene

In a minute, self has got to go water her roses (two new ones) and her irises.

In the meantime, she can appreciate a bit of humor.

SPOILER ALERT

In one of the last scense of TTWP, that sly Rikke, who wisely opted out of battle, despite her having given reassurances of loyalty to The Young Lion (who is all sorts of stupid: Rikke was his ex-lover, he went for the lovely lovely prize of Savine ‘barf’ da Glotka, and he still thinks Rikke has his back? This Young Lion is not the sharpest tool in the deck), shows up in the Ghurkish Kingdom to demand the surrender of Skirling Hall. She walks right up to the ramparts, orders a huge chest of gold and silver to be brought forward, displays the contents of the chest, and says to the soldiers on the ramparts, Open your gates!

Commander Brodd Silent leans over the ramparts and shouts: NEVER!

In the next moment, “there was a breathy cry and something came flying off the battlements.”

Rikke’s sidekick, a man called “The Nail” (one can only imagine) peers at the mess and says, “Who’s that, then?”

“Brodd Silent, I expect.”

“Hold on!” someone called from the battlements. “We’re coming down!”

Self loves Rikke. Rikke reminds her of Renfri in The Witcher, or Arya in Game of Thrones. There are fearsome runes tattooed on her face, to keep her Long Eye (the eye that sees the future) in check, and men are always calling her bad things. Ugly, for starters. Nevertheless.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Fat Chin

Someone tells the King of the Union, Orso the First, that he has a fat chin. Just before a crucial battle.

His opponent, the Young Lion Leo van Brock, has six-pack abs and a jaw that could cut glass. But self is calling it now: King Orso the First will win. And Joe Abercrombie wins as well, because now self is anxiously awaiting Book Three of The Age of Madness.

SPOILER ALERT

Looks like the two characters self hates most are making it into the next book.

LOL

LOL

LOL

TTWP Part VI

Big battle scene coming!

“No plan survives contact with the enemy.” — Helmuth von Moltke

The Trouble with Peace, p. 353

Self has the rest of the day to read. She might be able to finish TTWP as early as tonight.

Next on her reading list: All the Devils are Here, by Louise Penny.

Exciting. Self has never read a Chief Inspector Armand Ganache mystery before. Of course it is set in Paris. There is a picture of the Eiffel Tower right on the cover, that’s how she knows.

Self memorably spent Christmas 2017 in Paris. And shared the hotel with a Filipino family (with three small kids) on their way to spend the holidays in Iceland. (Self will never get over this, but Filipinos have a real hankering for extreme cold. It’s a THING) Because self was all surly and anti-holiday, she never spoke to this family, not even when she and they were the only ones in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. She pretended she was Chinese, couldn’t understand Tagalog, didn’t want to know why they were going to Iceland, or where they were staying.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Rikke Talks Smack to Isern-i-Phil

Rikke to Isern-i-Phil: “You’re straight down like a sausage, and a gristly one at that.”

Isern-I-Phil Right Back: “You’re like a head stuck on a spear these days, but without the flies. Most o’ the flies, at least.”

TTWP, p. 343

TTWP p. 341

Savine is getting stupider and stupider, and her pregnant belly is still no larger than a pea: she is still able to go about on horseback! And ride like a champ! (Is it too much for self to wish Savine could fall off her horse?)

Meanwhile, Leo, the idiot husband, keeps patting her belly possessively (This is how we know she most definitely is pregnant, see? Leo the Young Lion loves to pat his wife’s amazingly teensy pregnant belly)

Oh, hold on! Here’s Savine feeling a tremor of remorse (which only makes self hate her more) See, she’s not all that bad! If only she’d been allowed to marry her brother! Then Leo the Young Lion would still be doing training wrestling with his right-hand man, Jurand (who seems to have vacated the premises, as any proper ex-love should).

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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