rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Hmm, I thought. As I love the music video for 'Heavy' so much, maybe I should check out some other Linkin Park videos and see whether they spark any writing inspiration.

(Did I forget for a moment that I'm supposed to be trying not to write Linkin Park fanfiction? Er, possibly. I maintain that music video fanfiction doesn't count.)

I'm now deeply conflicted over the video for 'Leave Out All the Rest', which depicts the band on a spaceship that ends up drifting into a star. On the one hand, hey, an interesting AU setting! On the other, it's an interesting AU setting that I never want to write about, because it sets off my fear of space very badly.

I'm also intrigued by the 'In the End' video, with its charmingly turn-of-the-millennium graphics and young Chester being an attractive little shit (his smirk in the bridge!), in which they sing a desiccated wasteland back to life and for some reason there are flying whales. It's a strangely hopeful video for a song with hopeless lyrics. You tried so hard and got so far, in the end it doesn't even matter, but the video is telling you that you can move past this. Your life still has the capacity for beauty and flying whales.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #14: The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

A real book! An actual, proper book that non-fannish people have read!

This is not my usual reading fare, but I enjoyed it! I was interested, but not invested, if that makes sense. Most of the time, when I was actually reading it, I was gripped. When I wasn't reading it, though, I didn't think about it at all. So I'd tear through a hundred pages in a sitting, and then I wouldn't touch it for days; there was never any point where I thought 'wow, I can't wait to get back to that book' or found myself speculating on the solution to the central mystery. This was a book that only existed when it was in my hands.

The main character struggled with self-loathing, made terrible decisions and couldn't trust her own perception of reality, which are all qualities I enjoy in fictional characters (I repeat: the music video for 'Heavy' is so good). I also liked the way she made her own personal fandom out of the people she saw from the train, and then basically self-inserted. Everyone in this book is very difficult to like (poor Cathy is the only half-decent person in a sea of arseholes), but I did end up with a touch of fondness for Rachel, and I really liked the scenes between her and Anna towards the end.
rionaleonhart: twewy: joshua kiryu is being fabulously obnoxious and he knows it. (is that so?)
Here is a video of Uncharted characters dancing to Boney M's 'Rasputin'. It is the best video on the entire Internet. Rafe never particularly struck me as a character, but he is dancing his heart out, and I can respect that. I've watched this every time I've needed a bit of cheering up this week.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #13: The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle #2)

Apart from ruining the Gray Man's life, the Gray Man's plan had been going exceptionally well.

I got this for Christmas, and I've been reading it in an odd on-and-off way for several months, so it's difficult to say anything particularly intelligent about it; you can't get a good idea of the pacing or of how well the plot holds together if you read a book very slowly. So, in lieu of anything intelligent, here is the urgent e-mail I sent to [ profile] th_esaurus while Ronan and Kavinsky were having their dreamathon:

Are Ronan and Kavinsky going to fuck? If they're not, I'm going to stop reading.

They did not, and I was unimpressed. But the book did seem perhaps to hint at some desire on one or both sides, and that's something!

I'm puzzled by my reaction to Ronan and Kavinsky. Individually, I don't care much about either of them. Together, though, they formed one of the most interesting aspects of this book for me. (Ronan's love for Matthew also helped me care a bit about him.)

I enjoyed the Gray Man. To my concern, I sliiiiightly found myself 'shipping him with Blue on their first meeting. Sorry about that.

Speaking of pairings with Blue: Blue and Gansey had some very sweet moments, and I loved the 'complicated tug' line, but I was mildly disappointed by the 'she accepted that she was in love with Gansey and therefore she wasn't in love with Adam' bit. I don't like love triangles with neat 'oh, actually I'm only in love with one of these guys' resolutions; if you have to have a love triangle, I want it to be a horrible mess where Blue is in love with Adam and Gansey simultaneously, and also Ronan, and Noah, and the Gray Man, and Captain Jack Harkness.

That probably isn't technically a triangle.

Stiefvater's writing style is still my favourite part of these books. If this series had been written by a different person, with the same plot, I suspect it would never really have caught my interest. It's such a lovely, warm, poetic style, but I just find ley lines so dull! The Dream Thieves is at least slightly less leyliney than The Raven Boys, but the tradeoff is that it focuses a lot on Ronan, whereas I'm more interested in Blue, Gansey and Adam.

That said, as mentioned, I was fascinated by Ronan's relationship with Kavinsky. Between Kavinsky and the Gray Man, this book has far more compelling antagonistic figures than The Raven Boys, and I think it's stronger for it.
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: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #10: A Storm of Swords, George RR Martin. (I know I said A Song of Ice and Fire wasn't part of THE BOOKENING, but I suppose it makes sense to keep all of my book reaction posts under one tag.)

As much as I'm enjoying this series (I am enjoying it enormously): George RR Martin, you don't have to keep coming up with character names. You can just tell us there were a lot of men trying to hold the fort. We don't have to know that Two-Leg Jerrit was there, and Rykk Crowbeak, and Devyd the Unkind, who kept ducks in his youth and had always found humans disappointing in comparison. You'll never mention these characters again. You don't have to name them. It's okay.

A Song of Ice and Fire is constantly throwing characters together in different ways and then dragging them apart. And in some respects that's great! We'd never have seen Arya and the Hound grumpily travelling together otherwise. And in others it's terrible, because it keeps creating character combinations that I love, or that I find fascinating, and then going 'AND NOW THEY'RE DIVIDED AND MAY NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN.'

My favourite character combinations so far:

- Arya and Gendry
- Sansa and the Hound
- Jaime and Brienne
- Sansa and Tyrion
- Arya and the Hound

Do you know how many of these combinations are still within speaking distance by the end of A Storm of Swords? Exactly none of them. I'm so annoyed.

But A Storm of Swords introduced three of them, so overall this book gets a thumbs-up from me. (Well, it introduced two, but Sansa and Tyrion's relationship abruptly became a lot more interesting to me in A Storm of Swords.)

I like Jaime a lot more than I was expecting to! When I first saw a chapter from his perspective, I rolled my eyes and thought, Oh, good, another character whose chapters I'm not going to care about. I was so wrong. How much I will care about his chapters when he's not in the company of Brienne, though, remains to be seen.

(I was so, so happy when he went back to rescue her.)

Finally: Lord Frey, that is not at all a proportionate response to someone snubbing your daughter.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #9: The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater.

Standing next to him in his very alive state, she couldn't imagine that he would be dead in less than a year. He was wearing a teal polo shirt, and it seemed impossible that someone in a teal polo shirt could perish of anything other than heart disease at age eighty-six, possibly at a polo match.

Dear mystery person who gifted this to me back in June: I'm sorry it took me so long to finish it! (It was sent to me under the name 'Noah?', which was perplexing at the time and is frankly unsettling now that I've actually read the book.)

I really enjoyed Stiefvater's style; the narrative had a lot of great turns of phrase and quiet humour. ('Blue tried not to look at Gansey's boat shoes; she felt better about him as a person if she pretended he wasn't wearing them' is one of my favourite lines.) I liked Gansey and Adam and Blue, and the relationships between them. I didn't especially care for the plot - I've always found it difficult to get excited about ley lines - but the style and the characters carried me through very comfortably.

My favourite aspect of the book is the friendship between Adam and Gansey; it's so important to both of them, but Adam resents that importance because he feels it gives Gansey a hold over him. And on some level his fear might be justified; there is a part of Gansey that wants to own him. It's such an interesting dynamic. (I really love that Gansey's feelings about Blue are essentially 'yes, she feels right, this is one of the people I need.' If I get fannishly invested in these books, I suspect I'm going to end up 'shipping Gansey/everyone.)

Other parts I enjoyed: Gansey making a horrible first impression on Blue. The general sense of unreality in the scene where Gansey is threatened with a gun, as if he can't quite grasp that this is a real thing that's really happening to him. The long description of a car journey that takes ages to get to the point, the point being that the passenger is tied up in the back seat.

This novel feels very warm, somehow. It's about friendship, and how it's not always comfortable but always important. And it's also about ley lines, but let's ignore that. I liked it a great deal.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #8: The Last Beginning, Lauren James.

Sequel to The Next Together! A more traditional time-travel story; a less traditional romance. What I'm saying is that this is a YA novel about time-travelling lesbians. (There are spoilers in this entry, so you might want to skip it if you're planning to pick the series up.)

Like its predecessor, this was great fun and I tore through it in two days. It addressed one of my issues with the preceding book (we got to see how the break-out happened at last!), but, again, there are things I wish it had done. I thought for a moment we were going to get to see two versions of Matthew from different times meet! Don't dangle that possibility in front of me and then snatch it away!

The romance in these books is cute, but there's always a slightly unsettling aspect to it, which fascinates me. In The Last Beginning, there's the constant sense that some sort of outside force is trying to get Katherine and Matthew together in every time. In The Next Together, Ella shows up to announce, 'Hi, I'm from the future and I already know I'm the love of your life, because that's established historical fact in my time!' That must be so strange on both sides.

Speaking of strange aspects to the romance, my favourite part of this book was 1745 Matthew and 2040 Kate being romantic while 2040 Matthew was still stuck in prison. It's possible that my disappointment in 1745 and 2040 Matthew never meeting stems largely from my curiosity about whether they were going to manage some sort of two-person threesome. My second-favourite part was probably Tom in the alternate timeline, trying to protect and help the daughter he doesn't remember.

I mentioned in my entry on The Next Together that I was convinced the author had written fanfiction. I have since uncovered two pieces of evidence to corroborate this. Firstly, an extract from an instant messaging conversation in The Last Beginning:

LuckyClover: please don't say it
Nuts_Meg: i'm sorry, clove. I have to. There is fanfiction about your dad.
LuckyClover: this isn't happening. i wish i was dead.
Nuts_Meg: I haven't even sent you any links yet. Wait until you hear about the werewolf soulbonding erotica I found about him and Kate.
LuckyClover: urghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Nuts_Meg: This is the best thing that has ever happened to me ever.
LuckyClover: i'm going to vomit all over you

Secondly, I, er, found some fanfiction by the author. Fairly solid, as evidence of fanfiction-writing goes. She wrote a crossover between her own novel and Harry Potter. I can respect that. If I ever published a novel, it'd be solely for the sake of writing Pokémon crossovers afterwards.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
THE CAT STEPPED ON MY KEYBOARD AND LOST MY ENTRY DRAFT. That draft had been accumulating bits and pieces of potential entries for a very long time. It looks like I'm blogging with a blank slate now. I hope I didn't lose anything interesting.

I do remember that I'd recorded Housemate C shouting 'I'm not a fucking frog salesman! Why don't you fuck off?' at Rei in there, but I cannot for the life of me remember the context.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #7: The Next Together, Lauren James.

"Kate, what on earth happened?" Flo exclaimed. "We let you into the loft and the next we know you're a fugitive from the law, hiding in Scotland, and your boyfriend has been arrested for terrorist offenses!"

Kate scratched her head, embarrassed. "Yeah. It's been a hectic few days."

"Your parents are furious. They didn't even know you had a boyfriend."

This is a book about a couple who are endlessly reincarnated in different situations throughout time. It holds the distinction of being the only book I've ever read that contains both Comic Sans and the (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻┻ flipping-a-table emoticon.

This was great fun. I settled comfortably into it almost immediately, because I recognised the writing impulse that had led to the concept: it's the same reason people write fanfiction. You find some characters, you like their dynamic, and then you start to wonder what that dynamic would be like if the circumstances were different. What if they were a lady and a servant having a scandalous relationship in the eighteenth century? What if he's a nineteenth-century war journalist and she crossdresses to become his manservant? What if they're twenty-first-century scientists uncovering a government conspiracy? All scenarios this book explores!

If the author hasn't written fanfiction at some point, I will eat an entire sock.

There are a few things I wish this book had done. Firstly: if you set up multiple scandalous relationships, it's a tragic waste if nobody finds out and is scandalised by them. I kept waiting for someone to go, 'Hold on, Matthew: why are you kissing your apparently male assistant here in the nineteenth century?' and it never happened! Secondly, I'm fairly certain it's illegal to go 'well, I suppose we're going to have to break someone out of prison' and then not let your readers see how the prison break was carried out, although perhaps that'll be addressed in the sequel. And I always want love to blossom before the crossdressing is exposed in crossdressing romance stories, so I'm sad that Blackadder's 'Bells' is still the only crossdressing romance story that hasn't let me down on that front.

But, missed opportunities aside, I enjoyed this a lot. The humour and the sense of mystery carried things along very quickly, and I liked the way we uncovered one of the timelines solely through notes and documents. I got the sense that the author was having an absolute blast writing this, which made me smile.

There's also my favourite moment in the entire book. Matt and Kate are university students and have only met relatively recently. They don't know about their reincarnations. They're just starting to wake up, having fallen asleep during research. Matt, still half-asleep and affected by vague memories of his past lives, absently kisses Kate's neck. She has no idea how to react. They're not in a relationship, they've never kissed on the mouth, and he kisses her neck as if they've been together for years. It's exactly the sort of weirdness that delights me.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
The original purpose of THE BOOKENING was to prepare me for a potential job interview, and as I didn't actually get an interview I'm no longer reading with such urgency. Still, I enjoyed reading a load of books and posting about them here, so THE BOOKENING will continue at a slightly more sensible pace!

THE BOOKENING TITLE #6: A Darker Shade of Magic, VE Schwab.

This is an odd one to read straight after Rivers of London. They're both technically 'magical London' books, but Rivers of London feels very grounded in the real London; I read it and I know it's set in my city. I found I enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic more when I ignored the 'London' aspect, because I kept getting distracted by the fact that I didn't even feel like I was in England, let alone London, even in the parts set in our world. There was a general lack of detail rooting us in the city, and there was some American vocabulary that really stood out, particularly as the book seemed to be set in vaguely Victorian times. Stop running around in your pants, everyone; you'll cause a scandal!

That said, I enjoyed this. Schwab is very good at intricate, interesting worldbuilding, even if the world in question doesn't really feel connected to its real-life counterpart.

As with This Savage Song, this book introduces two protagonists separately, lets you get to know them, and only then has them meet for the first time. As far as I'm concerned, this is great. I love it when two established characters meet at last and we get to find out how they interact with each other. I also really like the 'they're not in a romantic relationship; they're just friends who occasionally kiss' vibe I get from Kell and Lila, although I don't know whether that'll change in later books in the series.

(Is it just me, or is everything part of a series? I'm sort of craving a good one-off fantasy book.)

Another thing I'm fond of: characters being thrown into another world (or another time) and having to manage in a completely unfamiliar setting. Unfortunately, neither 'seeing characters get to know each other' nor 'seeing a character come to terms with a new world' are qualities that can be sustained for very long, so I suppose they'll be less prominent in the sequel.

I'm very concerned about Holland. That was a slightly awful thing that happened to him at the end, and I'm sort of shocked that Kell did it without a second thought. I hope that's not the end of Holland's story. I'm also a bit disappointed that we never actually got to see Black London, but I feel there's a good chance it'll show up in later books.

The relationship between Kell and Rhy has a lot that intrigues me! I sort of wish we'd seen more of Rhy earlier on, so we could have a better impression of their dynamic by the point at which Rhy gets into real trouble. 'I would do literally anything for your sake' relationships are great, but they work best if we get to see how they relate to each other under normal circumstances before we see one character going to extreme lengths for the other.

I generally want more of Rhy, really. He seems like a character I could really love ('fierce love for his sibling' and 'habitually flirts with everyone' are both qualities that I have a terrible weakness for), but he got so little page time!

Finally, my favourite exchange from the book:

Rhy laughed silently. "I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself."
"I apologize for shooting you in the leg," said Lila. "I was myself entirely."
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I went into a bookshop with the specific intention of buying Rivers of London and realised too late that I didn't know the name of the author. With an inward sigh of despair, I trudged into the 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy' section, prepared to comb through all the shelves alphabetically.

Thank God for the name 'Aaronovitch'.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #5: Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch.

'Vagina dentata,' said Nightingale. I wasn't sure that I was reassured by the thought that it was common enough for there to be a technical term for it.

Usually, when I enjoy a book, it's because I like the characters or the world or the concepts. Occasionally you'll find a book that's enjoyable because the narrative voice is just so much fun to read. Peter Grant is a great narrator, and I think the constant undercurrent of his wry humour is what really makes Rivers of London. It feels like you're sitting down with him in the pub and he's telling you a story.

There were aspects of this book that impinged slightly on my enjoyment of it. It contained a lot of horrific gore, which I wasn't entirely prepared for, although that's not really the book's fault; I think I expected it to be aimed at a younger age range than it was. It's also a bit male-gazey, although it is at least narrated by a mildly sexually frustrated young man, rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts. And I don't like saying that books need better editing, because I'm a copy-editor and I know how thankless a task it is; people will see the one typo that slipped through, but they'll never see the thousands of mistakes you corrected. That said, this book could have done with better editing.

Ultimately, though, this was fun! I hugely enjoyed Grant's voice, and the asides about the history of London were interesting. I liked the friendship between Grant and Lesley. I wanted to care about the relationship between Grant and Nightingale, and there were a couple of moments where I thought 'is this the moment I get invested in these two??', but in the end I didn't feel they had as much of a connection as I'd hoped for. I've gained the impression that they're a popular pairing, though, so perhaps their relationship is stronger in later books. (Not sure yet whether I'm actually going to pick up the other books in the series, but we'll see.)

Also, at one point the protagonist makes out with a little brook that runs near my childhood home. There's no other book I can say that about.
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.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
I don't want to think about politics right now (I may never forgive my country, but at least my city's all right, I suppose), so instead I'm going to talk about THE BOOKENING, in which I desperately try to read a load of recent genre fiction on the slim chance I get a relevant job interview. There are worse tasks.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #1: This Savage Song, VE Schwab. A world in which violence creates monsters! Crime spawns terrible creatures that will slash you up or drink your blood or eat your soul! And then one of the monsters disguises himself as a human so he can attend school. There's more going on than that, obviously, but I really enjoy how silly the plot sounds when you cut it down.

The first few chapters focus on slowly bringing you into the world, which is interesting, but it really picks up when the monster actually starts school. I hugely enjoyed watching August try to fit in; characters being thrown suddenly into a completely new world is always fun. Colin seemed a potentially fun character, so I'm sad he was barely in this at all. Leo is terrifying. I enjoyed Kate's fury at her own vulnerability, and it was interesting to see August's desire to be a better person collide with her desire to be a worse person.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #2: Divergent, Veronica Roth. I find this a slightly less believable young adult dystopia than the world of The Hunger Games, largely because I'm convinced the Dauntless faction would have died out within a few generations. Why would anyone ever willingly join the faction that demands that you constantly risk your life for no reason? Go and join the faction that picks apples and is nice to people, for goodness' sake. And the Dauntless faction is in the habit of whittling down its recruits and allowing ONLY THE BEST to join, which further reduces its numbers, and then, as mentioned, it makes its members pointlessly risk their lives. This is not the way to maintain a healthy membership, Dauntless.

Divergent's Tris felt at points like a copy of Katniss from The Hunger Games to me, and I find it interesting that Kate from This Savage Song didn't, given that all three of them fall into a distinct 'unpersonable female YA protagonist' character type. I suppose Kate's vulnerabilities run closer to the surface, and she's also more actively cruel because she's trying to hide her caring side. Katniss isn't trying to hide that she cares; she's genuinely not very good at caring, although she's not incapable of it, and I get a similar impression from Tris. Deliberate callous action versus unconscious callous inaction.

This was an interesting diversion, but I don't think I'll be picking up the other books in the series. Diversiont.

THE BOOKENING TITLE #3: Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth, Christopher Golden. This was fun! I used to read the official tie-in novels for Doctor Who, and they varied wildly in quality. I was a bit apprehensive about this, but it's clearly been written with a real fondness for the Uncharted games and characters. Nate and Sully sound like themselves! There's vicarious sightseeing! There were even sections where I could see how they would translate to a puzzle sequence in one of the games. Fortunately, there were no sections that would translate to a twenty-minute shootout with four waves of enemies.

I enjoyed getting confirmation that Nate unthinkingly flirts with people out of habit.

My biggest complaint: no Elena. I can understand why Elena wasn't there, given that, you know, the book is set before Nate and Elena meet, but I still missed her. I liked Jada (it would have been nice to see some sort of reference to her in Uncharted 4), but the absence of Elena was heavy on my heart. This was also my problem with Golden Abyss. Stupid Nate, having a life and doing things before he met the best character in the series.

A Song of Ice and Fire is not part of THE BOOKENING (it's actually a large part of the reason I need THE BOOKENING; I've spent most of my leisure reading time recently on this vast series, so I need to catch up on other things), but I've now finished part one of A Storm of Swords, and Jaime and Brienne going through adversity together and slowly learning not to loathe each other is my new favourite thing. Enemies working together almost invariably delights me in fiction, particularly if it results in some sort of grudging fondness or respect. (My other major complaint about The Fourth Labyrinth: it had a touch of this, but not nearly enough!)

Further entries on THE BOOKENING are probably to come! I've just started The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, and I'm already enjoying it a lot.

Historical fact of the day: the Duke of Wellington had an enormous nude statue of Napoleon in his house. I'm so happy to know this.