rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Last night, I dreamt that Jaime and Brienne of A Song of Ice and Fire kissed and then immediately died. I am in favour of half of this dream.

Maybe I should start on A Feast for Crows, but I'm still grumpy with A Storm of Swords for splitting up all of my favourite character combinations. Whose chapters am I supposed to look forward to now?


THE BOOKENING TITLE #12: A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers.


I was disappointed when I first learnt that the follow-up to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet would focus on a couple of minor characters from the first book, rather than on my beloved Wayfarer crew. It turns out that there was no need for disappointment! I'd still love another book about the crew of the Wayfarer (please, Becky Chambers, if you're listening), but I really enjoyed A Closed and Common Orbit.

(It's a sci-fi book all about women! Grumpy, flawed women! Of the five major characters, 3.5 are female and only 1.5 are male. I swear this makes sense when you read it.)

As I've said before, I love it when people are thrown into new, unfamiliar environments, and A Closed and Common Orbit is particularly great because it has two such storylines: Sidra learning to live as organic beings do, and Jane 23 learning that the factory she works in isn't the entire world.

There's always a risk, when a book has multiple storylines, that the reader will focus on one to the extent of resenting the others, and I'll admit that did slightly happen with me; I was fascinated by the Jane storyline, and there were points where I went 'okay, fine, I've just got to push through this Sidra chapter and then I can read more about Jane.' But the Sidra storyline was fine! I just happened to be more invested in the Jane one.

I got oddly emotional about the scene where Jane plays a videogame for the first time. The game characters are so patient and understanding! She's been deprived of that for so much of her life!

Oouoh is my favourite and I'm sad that he's only in one scene. I love him introducing Jane to spices, and their 'Are any of these poisonous?' 'To you? No idea. But I know where the med ward is, and you look easy to carry' exchange.

The ending was really satisfying. And I'm fascinated by all the questions about AI ethics this book raises.

Reading this finally pushed me to buy a physical copy of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I already have the ebook, but it feels wrong not to have a physical version of a book I love so much. Maybe I should reread it. Is it too soon to reread it? It's been less than a year since I read it for the first time, but it feels like it was too long ago. It's such a warm, hopeful book. I think everyone could do with some warmth and hope at the moment.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Poor The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. It only had half a year as my favourite book before it was, well, uprooted.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #11: Uprooted, Naomi Novik.


I read this book alongside a handful of other people on my flist, which was sort of hilarious because they were going 'nooooo, why is this happening, none of this is what I wanted' while I was going 'oh my God, this is INCREDIBLE, this is EVERYTHING I COULD EVER WANT.' Apparently this book is rather divisive!

One chapter into Uprooted, I stopped and scribbled down an excited list of all the things it contained - just in that one chapter! - that I loved:

- close relationships between women
- a person being thrown from her familiar life into an entirely new environment where she doesn't know any of the rules
- people who don't really like each other forced to spend an extended period of time around each other
- weird uncomfortable sexual tension between people who don't really like each other

This book won me over very, very quickly. I also love that the blurb gave so little away; one chapter in, you're already past everything that the blurb describes, and the rest of the plot is a complete mystery. It was a lot of fun to read with that sense of 'anything could happen! I have no idea where this is going!'

In order to preserve that mystery for future readers, my other thoughts on this book are under the cut! Spoilers, but not for anything past chapter 11.


Spoilers for Uprooted, up to chapter 11. )


What a great book. It's really nice to read a single, self-contained story, too, when everything seems to be part of a series.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #4: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers.

Oh, wow. This was a joy from start to finish. I'm sad that the sequel isn't out yet. Hello, new favourite book?

Here's something I don't think I've mentioned here before: I'm afraid of space. It's so big and so empty and so unknown. I think stars in the night sky are beautiful, but I can't look at them for too long because I start thinking about how far away they are and I get unsettled. The Total Perspective Vortex would destroy me. So I was a bit nervous at the prospect of reading a book all about scary space.

But it wasn't a problem at all. Space is so alive and fascinating in Small Angry Planet. I loved all the information we got about society and history and the differences between assorted sapient species. The whole universe was so much fun.

The structure is interesting; it's very episodic. Rather than focusing on telling one overarching story, this book introduces a cast of characters and then goes 'and now we're going to see a series of their escapades!' It's essentially a series of interconnected short stories. It could be adapted very well to television.

And it's a great cast of characters. I'm fond of everyone. Kizzy might be my favourite (I wasn't sure at first whether she would be irritating or endearing, but she came down firmly on the latter side for me), and I love her relationship with Jenks. Oh, wait, maybe Ashby's my favourite? WHO KNOWS; EVERYONE'S GREAT. Sissix, Dr Chef, Rosemary, everyone. Even Corbin won me over towards the end.

I can't stop picturing Ohan as Randall, the chameleon guy from Monsters Inc. This is not even slightly right (Randall doesn't have fur, for one thing), but for some reason my mind refuses to let go of it.

When I was almost finished with this book, I went, 'Hey, I should see how much fanfiction is waiting for me once this is over.' The answer: literally none. Nobody has written Small Angry Planet fanfiction.

Maybe I should fix that.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I want the entire crew of the Wayfarer to have a big Aandrisk-esque cuddlepile-stroke-orgy. Sissix said that almost all feather families have group sex at least once! I can understand why the Wayfarer crew is the exception, but I'm also sad that it's the exception. (Corbin elects not to engage in the orgy; he just sits off to the side and complains throughout.) This is probably not something I'm going to write.

I might write something about Lovelace, actually. I've made a small start, but it's tricky; the book is in past tense, and I want to try to match its style, but I haven't written in the past tense in so long. (This is perhaps why I so rarely write fanfiction for books; my instinct is always to replicate the writing style, and it's tricky!)

I'd really like to see some flashbacks to characters' early days on the Wayfarer in the sequel. But, honestly, I'll be happy so long as we get more of the ridiculous adventures of this pack of space misfits.

OKAY, I'VE JUST CHECKED THE BLURB FOR THE SEQUEL AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS NOT, IN FACT, ABOUT THIS PACK OF SPACE MISFITS. Noooooooo! The lack of fanfiction is now even more tragic than it was before.

Anyway, this is a thoroughly delightful book. I'm so happy to have read it.