Archive of ‘Books’ category

#19: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Shades of Grey by Jasper FfordeEddie Russet was planning to take his exam, marry Constance Oxblood, never ask any questions, and live a useful life. But then he and his father get shipped to the Outer Fringes, where everything is a little weird, and among other unpleasant people he meets Jane, who (between attempts to kill him) lets him in on the fact that there’s a lot to question in the world… and not just why they’re forbidden to manufacture spoons.

If that summary seemed a bit confused, that’s more or less how I felt reading the book. I really wanted to like Shades of Grey; I very much enjoyed Fforde’s Thursday Next series, and a friend had recommended it to me, so I had high expectations. Unfortunately, it just didn’t quite work for me. But I think that’s in equal parts because of me as a reader as it is about the book itself.

About the book itself, well, I’m not sure prose is the best form for this story. It’s a story about color — specifically, it’s sort of a dystopia, taking place 500 years after Something That Happened,1 and now people are entirely different (I was never quite sure how, but they can see only tiny bits of the color spectrum, one color each, and the society is organized around how much of what color people can see; and there were other things, mentions to how they look at paintings of the Previous and see exaggerated differences between the sexes and creepily large eyes; they have barcodes growing on them, are susceptible to mildew and spores, and often get limbs torn off and sewn back on, so… huh). It’s hard to represent those things, especially the importance of color and how much of it people can see, in a completely non-color, non-image medium. There are also a lot of weird and whimsical elements, which might have worked better visually, too.

But aside from that, I’ve come to realize in the last couple of years that I’m really into structure, and that extends from what I write into what I’m reading. Which means, among other things, I have no interest in stories where the protagonist isn’t actively engaged. If the main character isn’t trying to do something, even just figure out what’s going on, I get bored. I know some characters and some stories don’t require the protag to act in as huge a way as others; the fact that epic adventures loan themselves to, well, epic struggles is part of why sci fi and fantasy appeal to me so much. I get that not every story has that; not every story needs that. But, as a reader, I need something to latch on to — a sense that there’s a story going on, and not just a person drifting through events. Or if the character is drifting, at least a sense that the character cares about the events and would like to figure out why they’re happening.

Eddie Russet spent three quarters of the book not doing that. He wanted to marry Constance, but didn’t spend much time on it — he wasn’t in love with her or anything, she was just the best option, so he was only attempting to woo her because it seemed like he ought to. He did want to pursue Jane, but for most of the book was intimidated out of it. Weird things kept happening to him and around him, but for the most part he wasn’t too concerned about it. His society considers it unacceptable (not to mention impolite) to question things, so he didn’t, just sort of collected awareness of the things going on around him.

The last quarter of the book does pick things up. Eddie finds himself with yet another potential… well, not love interest, but marriage prospect. As he attempts to get away from her, he agrees to lead a dangerous expedition, and in the course of that he figures out a few things, has a few more shown to him, and is finally forced to make real decisions, pick a position, and stick with it. Not shockingly, that was my favorite part of the book!

My other, much more minor, issues: I had trouble keeping track of who a lot of the minor characters were, and I found much of the book just over the edge of Weird For the Sake of Being Weird. Then again, I know a lot of my friends enjoy that a lot more than I do. So basically, it boils down to this: if, like me, you are really into the pacing and structure as elements of what you read, this might not be the book for you. But if you enjoy voice and tone, this book very easily could work for you. It’s yet another case where I don’t think what I’ve read is a bad book, it just isn’t a book for me.

  1. Significant Caps abound.

#18: The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mike Cochrane

The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mike CochraneSince Molly’s father died, everything has felt a little bit off. Especially her mother, who has become distant and unreachable. Molly has no idea what to do — until she rediscovers her love of baseball, the game her dad taught her to play, and decides to go out for her school’s team. Not the girl’s softball team, with it’s larger, softer ball, but the real baseball team — and she has a secret weapon, the knuckleball pitch her father taught her.

This book is lovely. One of my very good friends recommended it to me, because she knows I love books about baseball and family, and, well, that’s this book exactly. And there are so many wonderful things this book gets right: Molly’s exasperation with her mom, who she loves but doesn’t know how to talk to; the weird, pressure-filled feeling of talking to a boy she maybe sort of likes but maybe just wants to be friends with.

The book’s tone is distant, more like someone’s memory than an immediate story. And one narrative quirk I didn’t love that goes along with that was semi-frequent telling-rather-than-showing; scenes summed up as, “Later, he and Molly would discuss their families, and she’d get to know him better,” or, “Later, she and her mother would make up.” It does fit with the book’s tone, but at the same time, it was frustrating because some of those scenes were important character things — it would have made Lonnie’s apprehension over seeing his father and step-mom more powerful if we’d actually seen how hurt he was by his parents’ divorce, rather than a third-hand account as the narrative summed up what he’d told Molly about how he felt.

But I loved Molly, and I especially loved Celia, her best friend, who was somewhat of a weirdo. (Always with a craft project, a font of random knowledge, outspoken on social issues… basically, the character I most identified with.) I loved a few of the messages within the book: that one minor failure, even if it’s embarrassing, is really not the end of the world; and more importantly, that it’s okay to want things, and work hard for them, and be upset when they don’t work out. They’re small lessons in the grand scheme of things, but I think important ones, and beautifully presented as Molly tries to figure out how to forgive her dad for dying.

My Apocalypse Plan (Also, #17: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

So here’s a fun hobby I’ve developed since moving to New York, four-ish years ago: planning what I’m going to do in case of sudden apocalypse. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from action movies, it’s that there’s a really good chance it’s going to happen here.

Unfortunately, I’m about 97% sure my role in Manhattan’s demise is going to be “casualty.” If nothing else, the odds are against me being one of the few survivors, when there are 8 million other people on this very small island. I’m also small, don’t work out, have bad feet, and am terrified of physical pain. So things don’t look good for me. My real plan in case of, say, zombiegeddon, is to get bitten and learn to love the taste of brains, despite having been a vegetarian for well of a decade.

But on the other hand, I was a Girl Scout for, like, eight years; I can start a fire and sort of cook over it, pitch a tent, sew if I must, and know basic first aid. If I can get off the island — that’s the big barrier to survival, I think — I’d say I have at least a sporting chance. So if I do happen to escape, I’m striking out for my parents’ house upstate. They’ve got plenty of canned food, the neighbors all have guns, and my mom can spin her own yarn. I think these are all things that will be useful when it comes time to rebuild a society.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to say that I reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, zombie horror by Carrie Ryan, over at Active Voice today. And it scared the bejesus out of me.

#16: 90% of the Game Is Half Mental and Other Tales from the Edge of Baseball Fandom by Emma Span

90% of the Game Is Half Mental and Other Tales from the Edge of Baseball Fandom by Emma SpanLet us be up front about this. You know I’m going to love any book where the acknowledgement section ends with, “I’d like to close by thanking Mariano Rivera. Not because he helped with this book or anything … just for existing.” The book is a series of autobiographical essays by Span, some about her experiences as a sports writer covering the Yankees and the Mets, but most are more generally focused around being a baseball fan. (Span is a Yankees fan, who is Mets sympathetic, and the book actually spends more time on the Mets.)

I loved this book for a bunch of reasons, the first of which is that I giggled aloud almost the whole time I was reading it, and kept stopping to read sections to my sister. The anecdotes are delightful — trying to interview Pedro Martinez, but waiting for him to put on pants first, only to have him never put on pants, for example — and there were plenty that made me laugh out loud while reading on the subway (the look back at the Mets’ them “Our Team, Our Time,” if only because I remember listening to that the first time and laughing so hard I cried).

It’s also the only baseball book I’ve ever read where I actually identify with it. That’s mainly two reasons: Span focuses mostly on the teams starting around 2003, which was the year I actually started watching baseball, so I’ve got a much better idea what she’s talking about than in most baseball books I’ve read — I remember Kevin Brown breaking his own freaking hand after a bad start — but also because the way she describes watching baseball is something I identify with:

When I first got interested in baseball, and stopped treating it as background noise and actually focused on it, it was the characters that drew me in, the personalities, and the drama, more than any inherent beauty of the game. I didn’t really care what kind of pitch someone threw or whether a batter had shortened his swing; I just wanted to see if Paul O’Neill was going to beat himself up all night, cursing his perceived failures in the dugout, terrorizing innocent water coolers. I wanted to see how the rookie replacing Tony Fernandez might overcome what I assumed had to be a bad case of nerves and succeed in the big leagues. I wanted Bernie Williams to do well because I wanted a shy, awkward dude with glasses to win one for sky, awkward people with glasses everywhere.

And just, yes, that’s it exactly. People complain about the slow pace of baseball, but for me, watching my first game when I was 20, it was perfect. The fact that it’s one guy batting at a time makes it much easier to figure out who’s who, and gives plenty of time for the announcers to speculate wildly about his mental state, personal life, and whatever else seems interesting. The moments of human drama were more interesting to me than the game at first, and gave me an entrance point that got me watching and kept me interested.

Finally, the book is also basically a love letter to New York. My hands-down favorite essay is “Frankie Furter, Chorizo, and Guido,” in which Span travels to Milwaukee to see a Mets-Brewers game. The thrust is that it’s lovely: the stadium is nice, and cheap, and the people working there are helpful and friendly. The Brewers fans were also nice, and totally welcoming to out-of-town fans, happy to give directions, and cheerfully inviting Mets fans out for drinks after the game. And, as she enjoyed herself there, Span realized that she wouldn’t trade in the hurried, rude, dirty, crowded New York experience for anything:

Let me just say here that I understand why people from other parts of the country get annoyed with New Yorkers’ refusal to see their city as anything other than the center of the world. It’s obnoxious and dismissive, this attitude towards the rest of America, grudging respect for L.A. and (maybe, sometimes) Chicago aside. There are lots of great cities in the United States and plenty of sophisticated people between the coasts.

That said … come on. If New York isn’t the center of the world, what is?

And you know I’ve been a New Yorker for awhile, because of my nodding agreement. (Sorry, entire rest of the country.)

Span touches on lots of other subjects, ranging from the near-and-dear-to-my-heart topic of being a female fan (and female sportswriter), to watching broadcasts of American baseball games while staying in Taiwan, to stats and why people are still arguing over how accurate they are, and so on. It’s a short, quick read, extremely smart, and extremely funny. It’s going right on to my reread list, as soon as I’m done loaning it to everyone I know.

#15 – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

#15 - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

I don’t remember when I first heard about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (henceforth 100K), but it was a few months ago — long enough ago that the book wasn’t out yet the first time I looked for it in a store. It definitely has a buzz online; a bunch of review blogs I lurk at had praised it. And I eventually put together that Jemisin is one of the contributers to Alas, A Blog (linked in the sidebar) which I’ve been reading for years; and I began lurking around her site for very smart commentary on race in writing and sf/f. So pretty much the day it came out, I grabbed a copy and stuck it in my TBR pile. And finally got around to reading it, huzzah!

100k is epic fantasy — ish. It is certainly epic in scope, and hits plenty of traditional epic fantasy tropes. The protagonist, Yeine, is a reluctant chosen one. The plot has two major pieces to it; one is a war between the gods, which obviously has spanned eons and is now coming to a head; the other is her own family history, which, in some ways, is how the gods are acting out their war. So it’s a story that’s got generations of backstory going in, and its outcome affects the whole world. Pretty freaking epic.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. JemisinBut it’s also missing a lot of tropes: there isn’t really a quest, or a lot of walking around. There’s no Scooby gang assembled, though it also isn’t exactly Yeine Vs. Everyone, either. So: it’s definitely fantasy, it’s definitely epic. But is it epic fantasy?

Another point worth discussing: one of the ways this didn’t feel like traditional epic fantasy to me is that Yeine is female, and the romance in the book is a huge part of the plot. I feel like a lot of epics tend to have romances, but they don’t get a lot of focus. But then again, I also feel like a lot of traditional epic fantasies have female characters, but they don’t get a lot of focus, and since Yeine — the first-person narrator — is female, that isn’t the case here either. This was a book where the writing felt very woman-centric to me. Actually, it brought me back to something I’d vaguely pondered a few years ago:

With that said, as I read the book I kind of felt like it was written by a woman. I think that’s because I’ve spent a lot of time in fandom, a largely female-dominated space, and there are a few things fandoms tend to latch on to … This book has all of those in spades. It didn’t read like something that came out of fandom, but because of those associations, despite being a series that’s heavily weighted towards male characters, it read to me as though it had been written by a woman.

… I kind of feel like fandom/the internet (the combined force) is creating new tropes for genre fiction, based more heavily on female desire and female readership. For me, the disconnect between a guy writing the sort of stuff I associate with female readers was pretty big.

Obviously, not all of that is accurate to 100k (a very female character-centric story) but it had that same sort of feel. I think this is a great example of what I described as “broadening the genre.”1 So my vote is yes, it’s epic fantasy; but it’s a broader take on the genre.

(Incidentally, that question first occurred to me because Jemisin herself raised it. Interesting stuff.)

Okay, so beyond that, I really loved this book. If completely blew my “would I rather read this or play Bejeweled on the subway?” litmus test away — I read it on the way to and from work, during my lunch break, and in the evening sitting on my couch. I loved the not-quite-linear, non-traditional narrative style. I loved the scope, and the world building, and all the backstory. While the romance in and of itself didn’t do it for me (broody badboy isn’t my preferred romantic archetype) it was a strong plot and piece of the story.

I had one… hm, qualm isn’t the right word, and neither is disappointment, but I had one sort of note about the ending, which I wanted to talk about enough that I installed a spoiler-tag plug-in just for this. (Unless you’re reading via RSS, in which case I don’t think it’ll work). Basically…:

Spoiler Inside Show

And after all of that, I’m really curious to know what the next book in the series will be about, and whose POV it will be from. (Okay, there are hints in the “extras” section of the book, but I want mooooore. Basically, I want the sequel. Rightnowplease.) This is an instant favorite for me, and one I know I’ll reread, and I’ll be waiting for other novels from Jemisin, too.

(HEY! Did you notice I skipped a number in my book reading list? That’s because it turns out I had two #5s! Whoops.)

  1. Wow, I’m pretentious sometimes. Hey, how about I quote myself some more? It’s awesome when I do that.

#13: Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase

#13: Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase

The fourth and final of Loretta Chase’s Carsington Brothers series, this is the one with the secret baby. I’m fairly new to romance and actually had never read a secret baby novel before, only know about it as a trope, so I went in curiously. Basically, as a teenager Charlotte was seduced by a rake, had a secret baby (while he abandoned her and then got killed a duel), and gave it away — no one knows but her step-mother. Meanwhile, Darius is a heartless rake obsessed with logic and science, whose father tells him he can either manage a piece of the family’s property and make it profitable within a year (an impossible task, since the property has been abandoned for a decade and is totally unliveable) or he can marry an heiress. Of course he takes up the challenge, but meets Charlotte and falls for her — and then discovers the secret baby.

Not Quite a Lady by Loretta ChaseSo, how did I feel about the cliché? It delighted me! The whole book did, rather. I tore through it; it took me awhile to warm up to Darius, but when he sat down and realized that yes, then logical thing to do when he’d screwed up was to apologize and ask for help, he won me over. (Hey, I’m easy.)

The weakness of this book is that there’s literally nothing to it but the secret baby. They meet! They fall in love! He finds out! He marries her anyway! The end! There’s sort of an antagonist, in that there’s another guy who’s in love with her, and he finds out about the baby and assumes Darius is nothing but a rake and she’s going to end up in trouble again, so he…tells her he knows, proposes, and she says no, and that’s the end of it. He doesn’t really do anything antagonistic, now that I think about it. At all. There wasn’t even a big misunderstanding; at one point there was a set up for one, but then Darius and Charlotte talked it out on the next page instead of not speaking for weeks and crying about it. So the book was rather light in the plot department, but enjoyable all the same.

Because I’m the sort of person who likes to list and innumerate things, having read the whole series, my favorite is definite Lord Perfect, in which the, well, perfect oldest son needs to learn to loosen up and that it’s okay to fall in love with the wrong woman. I think that Mr. Impossible is my second favorite, followed by Not Quite a Lady; I like Rupert and Daphne better as characters, and enjoy a lot of elements of that book more — but it also had a pacing issue, looking back; it wasn’t really about the plot, so that just wandered all over the place awkwardly and dragged things out. Sort of the opposite of Not Quite a Lady. (Which leaves Miss Wonderful in the last-but-not-least slot; it was fine, but neither of the characters, nor the set up, particularly interested me.)

#12: The Shifter by Janice Hardy

The Shifter by Janice Hardy

Well, I was going to wait to link to this review until Jess and I got up all of the info about what will be our awesome Active Voice Third Birthday Thingy, but since that’s not done yet and I’ve already finished another book, I figured I probably ought to post this regardless. Anyhoo: The Shifter by Janice Hardy. Very enjoyable YA(-ish) fantasy.

#11: To Kill A Mockingbird (Reread)

#11: To Kill A Mockingbird (Reread)

I’ve been sick for four days now. Actually, longer, with something else; as that something else went away, a cold descended, and I’ve spent the last four days lying in bed and on my couch, going through whole boxes of tissues, drinking a ridiculous amount of tea. Blehhhh.

I’d like to say the upside was that I got some reading done while I was home sick! But I didn’t. It was the kind of sick where just breathing makes you tired, and so doing anything that requires thought is pretty much out of the question. So no reading, and basically no writing, including this blog entry for a book I finished early last week: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper LeeI’ve read TKAM before, in my ninth grade English class, and we know how I feel about assigned reading. But TKAM is a little different, in that I remembered really liking it, but for the life of me couldn’t remember why. Or anything about it, except vague impressions of Boo Radley, and something about a trial, and a fire, which I thought was the book’s climax. (It isn’t.) Curious about what ninth grade me had enjoyed so much, I grabbed a copy off of PaperBackSwap, and dug in.

And hey, it turns out the reason that I really liked this book — the reason it’s a classic, even — is that it’s really, really good! You know, you’re lucky to have me around to share things like this.

But seriously, it is.

I feel like I don’t need to go into a lot of detail here, because it’s a book that just about everyone has read, and it’s pretty much universally embraced as awesome. But I loved it; I loved how it dealt with racism (and sexism, for that matter) in a way that was completely moving, not preaching, and not talking down. Especially that last one was impressive: a lot of stuff goes over Scout’s head, but the reader picks up on it, and there’s no hammering it in. It’s just there, as part of a perfectly-crafted story.

But what really got me is the prose. From now on, when I think “narrative voice,” I will think of this book, because it is beautiful. That might be a quirk about me as a reader, actually; considering how much time I spend reading and writing, I almost never notice the actual artistic side of things. I read for entertainment; I zero in on story and character, but hardly notice the prose itself unless its particularly bad or particularly good. This is good, obviously:

Maycomb was an old town, bit it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rain weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

It’s perfectly evocative, and so well painted that even someone like me, who rarely pauses to notice imagery and has basically no visual sense when I’m reading — I hear the words clearly in my brainvoice, but don’t actually picture things — can see it all clearly. I was actually taken aback by its loveliness, and I’m glad I stopped to pick it up.

#s 6-10: The Belgariad, by David Eddings (Rereads)

Pawn of ProphecyLast weekend, Rachel and I somehow ended up discussing epic fantasy. We both grew up on fantasy paperbacks, thanks to my dad’s fantastic collection.1 And we realized that, for all Tolkien is considered the granddaddy of epic fantasy, neither of was able to get into his stuff — too much elvish poetry, if memory serves, though I was pretty young when I attempted them — and so we’d both imprinted on David Eddings as the master of high fantasy. (I was sincerely bummed when he died last year.)

I remember the first time I read the Belgariad pretty vividly. It took me months to get through Pawn of Prophecy, the first book — but as soon as Ce’Nedra, the series’ obligatory spunky princess, showed up in the second book, I was hooked.2 I remember flying through them. I remember the chair I was sitting in when I finished the fourth book. I remember bringing the last book to school and reading it under my desk, because I couldn’t put it down. I immediately devoured the Mallorean, the five books following the Belgariad, and then the Elenium and Tamuli.3 I reread the series a few times — at least once more in middle school and once in high school — but hadn’t read it again since. And I was a little nervous, because rereading something I loved with a more critical mindset now that I’m an adult often leads to disappointment.

Queen of SorceryI wish I could say that didn’t happen, and the series is perfect. But goodness knows it isn’t. Two major things stood out to me now that didn’t when I was a tween. First, a major trope in fantasy and sci fi alike: all members of a race/species are exactly alike in terms of personality. The Belgariad has that in spades. All Drasnians are sneaky. All Chereks are drunks. And all Murgos are evil. Alllll of them. Which meant that the characters often talked cheerfully about wiping out the Murgos once and for all, and sure, in context it makes sense (because of the eeeeeevil), but as an adult I was like, “Whoa, really, genocide is the answer?” It was pretty jarring.

Magician's GambitBut even more so… (Sigh) the female characters. That was particularly disappointing because I remember loving them growing up. There are only two of particular importance, Polgara and Ce’Nedra; as a kid, I loved them both. A lot. In high school, I sort of realized that Polgara is actually extremely controlling and can be horrible for basically no reason. On the one hand, she’s treated with reverence by basically everyone else; on the other hand, there’s a lot of, “Well, Polgara, you know how she gets…” involved. And Ce’Nedra, who I adored… It makes me make this face: :-/ I love what the series does with her, that when she’s left behind so Garion can go off and have his big hero moments she realizes he’s not there to rally the army — literally — and takes it upon herself to do the things he isn’t there for. It’s pretty awesome. On the other hand, there’s a lot of time spent in the narrative on how she’s completely devious and constantly playing mindgames with Garion. And with both her and Polgara, there’s very much a feeling of, “Women: who can understand them? They’re all crazy, amiright? lollllll”

Castle of WizardryEven more distressing, the climax of the second book is Polgara facing down Salmissra, queen of the snake people. Salmissra is obsessed with appearing young and flawless, and the potions she takes to stay that way give her an insatiable sexual appetite. So she’s evil: those horrible things (female sexuality, oh no!) make her willing to ally herself with the villains, in return for said eternal youth and beauty. ‘Cause you know. Women who care about that are all shallow and evil. Again, :-/

Enchanter's EndgameBut with all that said, these books are compelling. I once again tore through them, unwilling to put them down.4 I love Garion; he’s a very, very archetypal destined hero, but he’s basically a sweet kid who wants to do the right thing, even when he’s terrified. And I love the major supporting characters, especially Silk, the sneaky thief (one of my favorite archetypes); Barak, the wry bruiser; and Durnik, who is clever and nice and basically the most awesome ever. One other thing I realized upon rereading is that not a lot actually happens in this series. The first book, in particular, is just pages and pages and pages of people walking to a place, getting sidetracked and having to go somewhere else, and then getting sidetracked and going somewhere else again. Which sounds pretty painfully dull, but these books are so enchanting that it’s enjoyable.

So in summary: as an adult, rereading these books, I had quibbles. I think if I’d read the for the first time just now, instead of having fond memories from discovering fantasy in middle school, I’d have even more — but I’d still have enjoyed them. As it is, I feel pretty confident that this won’t be the last time I reread them. And I kind of want to go pick up a bunch of other Eddings novels now. They’ve got flaws… but they’re pretty much delightful.

  1. I wish I had a picture of this thing. I don’t think my dad set out to have an enormous collection of sci fi and fantasy paperbacks, but loving to buy books is a family trait so through the decades his collection grew and grew. We had an unfinished wall of the house, growing up — the back part and the support beams. Turned out that there was enough room for two novels next to each other between beams. So they were stacked at least waist-high, the entire length of the wall. It was amazing.
  2. This is no shock. I don’t necessarily need a female character to identify with — and goodness knows I’m fond of Garion himself — but having one certainly helps. And I was way too young to identify with Polgara, the only other important female character — but a plucky redheaded princess who gets swept along with the adventures while trying to run away from her arranged marriage? SIGN ME UP.
  3. I actually like those better, because there’s no time spent on the clueless protagonist working things out — Sparhawk already knows what’s going on — and also because omg Talen!!1, who I still have a serious crush on. But I digress.
  4. They even kept me mostly off my computer for a few days. My sore wrists were grateful.

1 2 3 4 5