Hello, My Ride

Behind the dumpster is something wrapped in a dirty tarp, with stones holding the edges down. I kick the stones away on one side and toss back the tarp. And get my first look at the Hellion Hog in — how long? Well over a year.

Ballistic Kiss, p. 28

The Hellion Hog doesn’t have a key because no one can ride it but me. I get a grip on the handlebars and kick the bike to life.

— p. 29

TTWP: Every Time There’s a Vick Section

This book. This book! It has so many alternating viewpoints. Self is right now in the Vick point of view, and it’s not her favorite because it never changes. Vick is always Vick. She’s deceitful. She’s a spy.

There is one matter that interests her greatly about the Vick sections, however: self keeps wondering if this is the section where Vick’s sidekick Tallow kicks the bucket. The boy is entirely too innocent, but endearingly follows Vick’s every command. Knowing Joe Abercrombie, though, Tallow’s going to end up being a better assassin than Vick, lol.

So here she is this evening, wondering for the nth time: Is this where Tallow, at last, meets his end? She had to interrupt her reading of the chapter to write this post, and at the place where she left off, Tallow was still alive.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Quote of the Day: Isern-i-Phail

What is with these names?

MILD SPOILER MILD SPOILER MILD SPOILER

Isern-i-Phail is a healer. And the person who will judge the duel between the Young Lion (Leo dan Brock) and the Great Wolf (Stour Nightfall).

YAY, a DUEL! The armies of the North and the armies of Angland (representing the Union) have fought to a draw. A draw to be decided by man-to-man combat between the two sides’ greatest fighters: the Young Lion and the Great Wolf.

Since the Young Lion is VERY pretty (and his shield man seems to be in love with him, thus leading to the only fan fiction ship in this universe), and the Great Wolf is loathsomely ugly apart from being hairy, self reckons the Young Lion will lose. Because that is the way of Grimdark. Why bother to write someone as pretty if he doesn’t die?

Anyhoo, Isern-i-Phil is in the middle of her presentation when Scale Ironhand, King of the Northmen, uncle of the Great Wolf, says: “Get to it, woman.”

“That I will, you hill of lard.” Isern thrust her spear into the ground with a thud and snapped her fingers . . . “Lend me your shield, handsome.” He glanced over his shoulder like he thought she might be talking to someone else, then tossed it to her. She snatched it from the air, set it down on its rim. “Straps or paint?”

“Paint,” said Leo.

Isern set the shield spinning, and men started shouting and whooping and calling . . .

— p. 329, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Battle of Red Hill, cont. (Spoiler-Free)

Fell asleep before midnight, resumed reading A Little Hatred on first waking. The Battle of Red Hill is many pages, probably the longest section of the novel. Which means, when self resumes reading this morning, it is still undecided.

Point of view: Leo van Brock

He caught sight of his standard. The white field, the golden lion. Hanging sodden at the near end of the bridge. And there was Stour Nightfall’s. The slavering wolf on grey. Drooping in the rain at the far end. A lion fought a wolf in a circle of blood, and the lion won.

— p. 297, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness, by Joe Abercrombie

A digression: Self was curious about ALH ships, so she went looking for fan fiction. She found only 3 (Pitiful: Everlark has 6000+), and all of them are between The Young Lion and . . . Jurand, his shield man (?)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Trap! (Not a Spoiler)

The Battle of Red Hill is about to be joined.

Alas, valiant Finree is, self fears, about to be crushed while her son watches.

This is not a spoiler because it hasn’t happened yet.

But, all the pieces are in place. Leo van Brock (What names these are! Ugh, even having to type them!), The Young Lion, is told to stand back and let his mother Finree lure the army of Stour Nightfell into an ambush. Finree will do anything to keep her son safe, even if it means sacrificing herself, so it stands to reason that Finree will actually end up sacrificing herself. Of course, the Young Lion (who, despite being very brave and very handsome, is also not very smart) will follow Dearest Mum’s orders to a T, thereby ensuring that he will live to fight another day.

This is, self is sure dear blog readers will agree, Top Angst!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Hunting

The hunting scenes in this book are some of the best. They remind self somewhat of the scenes in Eddie’s Boy where the hit man main character stalks his targets. Anyhoo, Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic has been a very exciting read.

It’s been particularly exciting since Nanu has become a mother. So now she’s hunting, not just for herself, but for her two cubs.

Nanu glides to a small pressure ridge in the ice, out of direct sight of the seals, and lies down to nurse. When the cubs have had their fill, they bundle in beside her, one on top of the other, and nod off to sleep. Effortlessly, Nanu slips into the lead. She surfaces silently like a slow-moving ice floe and begins closing the distance between herself and the sleeping prey.

When Nanu is within one hundred yards of the seal, he lifts his head. Nanu stops. All that shows in the water is a white forehead with black eyes and nose, and a line of dry fur along her back, all of which could easily be patterns in the ice itself.

Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic, by James Raffan, Chapter 6 (“Learning”)

Suspense!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Over-the-Top

Since Eddie’s Boy began (actually, also in the two days since she started reading), so many things have happened to the hero/hitman. After he was targeted in York (York! City of cathedrals!), Michael Schaeffer (yes, MC does have a name) headed to Manchester Airport (which was smart, because Gatwick and Heathrow have security cams all over the place) and flew to SYDNEY.

SYDNEY, as in Sydney, Australia.

Before you can say two sneezes, he’s attacked twice, the first time on the airport express to downtown Sydney (Scary/good scene! It goes down in exactly 13 minutes).

So, having determined that Sydney was a VERY BAD IDEA (LOL), he takes another flight, this time to the U.S.

It’s a good thing this was written before pandemic, or Michael would have no recourse except — maybe an island in the middle of the Pacific?

Wait, why didn’t he go to an island in the middle of the Pacific? Surely, it would be hard for hitmen to escape detection there — fewer people, etc etc

As a matter of fact, self has already written this story: in her story, the island isn’t deserted because it’s an island in the Philippines, which is over-populated. Her story’s called “Sand,” and it’s coming out later this year in Pembroke Magazine.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

High Body Count: Eddie’s Boy, p. 29

Self loves this book! From the opening scene — the hero’s having a meltdown in a Bentley because he had to kill, it enraged him, can’t people just behave so he doesn’t have to kill them? — she’s been having a fine time!

There are four corpses (already) in that Bentley, and that’s just in the first paragraph!

Plus self loved learning about the excellence of the double-barreled Purdey & Sons rifle (100,000 GBP each, thank you very much!)

Anyhoo, the first four would-be assassins attempted a break-in at the hero’s re-modeled 1650s Yorkshire mansion (technically, the property of his wife, she’s a member of the English nobility). Our hero drives the Bentley to the Manchester airport, where he leaves it (and the four bodies) in the parking lot and waits for a shuttle to the terminal. Unfortunately, a new set of goons try to kill him before he can get on the shuttle. Since it is only p. 29, we can assume the hero survives, which means these assassins must be off-ed, as well.

A few pages later, our hero faces an existential crisis: how can he get rid of the blood spatter on his clothes before entering the plane (to Sydney)?

Digressing a bit: Self has a book to pick up from the library this afternoon. Then, FaceTime with Dearest Mum in Manila. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (4 p.m. London time), she’s registered for a talk by the woman who writes obituaries for The Economist (such elegant examples of the form, she’s even taught them in creative nonfiction classes). There’s another zoom event tomorrow afternoon, fortunately it’s Central time, not such a big time difference as Manila or London: poets Denise Duhamel and Nin Andrews, hosted by Rain Taxi, and free!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: The Restless Moon, p. 272

SPOILER ALERT!

  • Sometimes I hate my brain, because I stood there, looking at a man I had known for years, and wondered if he’d poisoned himself to throw us off the scent.

Also: Lady Astronaut presses intercom button while standing in puddle of water.

OOOPSSSSS!!!!!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Waiting

Georgia is in play.

Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania is a third of what it was this morning.

Sen. Gary Peters won in Michigan!

Martha McSally, you are going down.

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