helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

The approximately Mid-Week Reading Meme

What am I reading now?
Nothing (!). I finished the book I was reading yesterday and haven't started a new one yet. I have six library books out right now, and a further three (?) to pick up once the library opens.

What have I read recently?
As predicted last time, The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (re-read). And then I went onto Paladin of Souls (also a re-read). Oh gods, I absolutely love that universe.

I have a distinct feeling I've written about the religion in Chalion before, but I can't seem to find it. It's remarkably similar to the religion in the Elder Scrolls games, at least to the Aedric part of it. There are five gods: the Mother, Father, Daughter, Son, and Bastard. Generally people worship the god who most matches their status in life, so a woman who has or wants children would probably be a devotee of the Mother. But there's no need to, you could be a young man and worship the Daughter, and not only if you're looking for a wife. And the Bastard takes everyone who doesn't fit in - literal bastards (the Order runs Foundlings Hospitals), people who prefer their own sex, anyone who is disillusioned with the other gods, even people who hate the gods.

The gods influence mortals by giving them dreams and visions, but They cannot reach into the world except through the action of a mortal. (Remind you of the main quest in Oblivion?). A lot of people who are religious pray to be touched by the gods, but those who have been hate it, because you're never the same again afterwards. And a person who hasn't been directly touched by the gods can't imagine the sheer terror of interacting directly with a god.

The religious aspects are expanded upon in The Hallowed Hunt, which is set in a different country to the previous two books, in which they have different traditions but the same gods.

That's a very brief summary. There are wonderful parts about free will versus determinism, the gifts given by the gods, the kind of person who becomes a saint (not necessarily a good person), how to tell if you're doing the will of a god or not... And while the religious aspects are central to the plot, there is a good story and strong characters as well, in each of the three books.

I already loved the books, but since the last time I read them I have acquired a character in my head who would be, in that universe, a divine (priest) of the Bastard, who goes on to become a saint (albeit briefly, since he allows the god to use his body to come into the world, thus ending his life). And reading them again, informed by his opinions... Well. I'd love to write a crossover, but I have approximately five billion writing projects on the go already.

Other novels:
Dragon's Bones and Dragon's Blood by Patricia Briggs. More re-reads.

The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs. A Christmas present. I would say that while it's not as good as Dragon's Bones, Dragon's Blood, Masques or Wolfsbane, it was certainly worth reading. I'd recommend one of those other books first though.

Bones Are Forever by Kathy Reichs. It's a Temperance Brennan story, or if you prefer, a "Bones" book. If you can swallow your disbelief about the job of a forensic anthropologist, and believe that she can travel 3,000 miles on a whim with the police who are investigating the case which she provided consultation for - and believe that as a highly-qualified intellligent woman she would go putting herself in direct danger, again, when she's already been killed several times by previous villains - well, then it's a good book. I like Tempe, but she needs a good slapping. Which she isn't likely to get in a first-person story. It has a better story than several of the other "Bones" books, and each of the separate threads come together nicely. (As opposed to at least one of the previous books, where they were still working out who did what while recovering in hospital).

Doors Open by Ian Rankin. This is not an Inspector Rebus book. It is about a self-made multi-millionaire who is bored, and gets himself involved in a massive art theft. It's described as a "heist thriller", and I read the entire thing in one sitting, without even skipping to the back to see how it ends (!). Which is pretty much unheard of for me - I skip ahead in books all the time. But it was good enough and fast-moving enough that I didn't want to spoil the story for myself. Nor do I want to spoil the story for anyone else. If you like crime fiction, you should read this. End of.

A couple more short-story collections:
Chicks Kick Butt, edited by Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes. Who on earth named this book? I mean, seriously, who wants to be caught on public transport or in a cafe reading a book called Chicks Kick Butt?! So, the theme of this collection is clearly Women Being Capable. About half the stories were nauseatingly chick-lit, complete with obligatory heterosexual romance with the Perfect Man (TM). However, I particularly liked Hunt by Rachel Vincent, Vampires Prefer Blondes by P.N. Elrod, Nine-Tenths of the Law by Jenna Black, and Beyond the Pale by Nancy Holder.

My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, edited by P.N. Elrod. You'll never guess what the theme of this book is! I enjoyed most of the stories, but particular favourites were Spellbound by L.A. Banks, Dead Man's Chest by Rachel Caine (which is rather the opposite of most chick-lit), and All Shook Up by P.N. Elrod.

What am I going to read next?
Haven't a clue. Something from this pile of library books, most likely.
Tags: alix+martin, boooks, religion

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