Sep. 15th, 2011 11:46 pm
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
When not having video game-induced existential crises, I have actually been reading. However, the earthquakes have completely disrupted my already somewhat shaky book tracking. At this point I am just going to go through the lists I have and do brief commentary, with a few noble exceptions…

Books I would like to come back to in more depth, but let’s be realistic here:

Karen Healey’s The Shattering, which I read in ARC some time after the February earthquake, and which is now out officially. I liked Guardian of the Dead (her debut YA novel) but felt it went off-track; this is much better. Perfect NZ town (somewhere Nelson-ish, I think) has dark side, uncovered by trio of teenagers with interesting assortment of identities. I particularly liked the use of emotional control as part of the magic system.

Jordan Castillo Price, the Psycop series (Among the Living, Criss Cross, Body and Soul, Secrets, Camp Hell, GhosTV, and an assortment of shorts that fit in around the first three books, of which I like Thaw but am not all that keen on the Crash ones). These are ebook psychic cop thrillers (hard to believe from the name, I know), in a version of the US where psychics are real but not all that understood and the main character, Victor Bayne, is an endearingly awkward medium who has spent much of his life running from any deeper contemplation of his abilities, mainly via a vast variety of licit and illicit pharmaceuticals (I think he’s the first protagonist I’ve seen who’s sniffed glue, though, rather than go for all that glamorous intravenous stuff).

Jordan Castillo Price, the Psycop series. )

Wendy Wan-Long Shang, The great wall of Lucy Wu. Chinese-American girl dealing with heritage. I read this months ago and liked it a lot; it gets a lot done in a little space, and gives all its characters a chance to breathe without making them into obvious stereotypes. Also, it made me desperately crave noodles.

Gene Luen Yang, Prime Baby. Resentful older brother is convinced there is something strange about his new baby sister, confirmed when she starts babbling in primes. I don’t think this quite pulls off the dislocation effect, and as with American Born Chinese this story still sees all its female characters as objects rather than subjects.

Megan McCafferty, Bumped. YA dystopia where falling fertility means that only teenagers can get pregnant. Melody is holding out for the best contract she can get when her separated at birth identical twin (Harmony, naturally) shows up, having escaped from her religious upbringing. I liked the slang and the moment when Melody declares to a vast array of paparazzi that she has been having Non Reproductive Sex (“with condoms!”) with her contract partner, but too little of the world had changed, and the lead’s avoidance of all sexual activity (and bookwise, being rewarded for this) felt too much like the same old thing.

Assorted ebooks. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
Two more for [ profile] 50books_poc.

Kamila Shamsie, Broken Verses. I picked this up because of [ profile] puritybrown’s enthusiastic review –- and am very glad I did. About a woman, Aasmaani, in Pakistan, whose mother was a radical activist, and is now missing; her mother's lover, the Poet, murdered; and how Aasmaani deals and fails to deal with these stories, especially when new information comes to light that challenges her beliefs about the past… It's well written, it's complex and different, and every character feels so clearly a part of their world and their community. I definitely want to read more books by her, although I also feel I should read more explicit Pakistani history first.

Spoilers for ending. )

American-born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang. Overall, I liked this, and the art, but I found the Jin Wang American high school angst storyline the least appealing of the lot. Partly, this is because I feel like I’ve seen it too many times before, and it’s always a straight male teenage angst US high school thing within which all the women become weirdly two dimensional (arggh. Apart from being a comic) and shiny quest objects. Partly, though, it just felt less real – and less interesting – than the monkey king and Chin-Kee storylines – as if the author were relying on a cliché rather than transforming it.

I do like Wei-Chen's line about Jin's hair looking like a broccoli, though.


cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)

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