April 11: Sun in Glory, another Valdemar anthology. The story by Michelle West was very disturbing and ended somewhat inconclusively (but happily, I think). Another story made me think COMPANIONS DON’T DO THAT! (deceive their prospective Chosen to set them an arbitrary and somewhat dangerous test), I skimmed two more, and now I’m on one I might actually like. Mixed bag as usual.
April 8: Sword of Ice, collection of stories which are basically author-approved Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar) fanfic. Mixed bag like all of those collections are. Some are exquisite, some are skippable (the very military one, for instance), a few are bewildering.
April 7: Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie, because someone on my social media said it was the best Poirot. Read it years ago so it will probably be new-ish. –And yes: almost completely new, I’m not even sure I’ve read it before! I’m not sure if I like it, there’s too much Poirot being Poirot (though not with as many annoying mannerisms as in some of the others) and I don’t like any of the people except the young woman at the beginning (and the end) who is mostly only being mentioned by the other characters, the old governess, and the archeologist half-sister.
April 5: Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey. Exactly the kind of fluff I wanted. (The Goodreads blurb is strange: “set in the bestselling world of Valdemar”.) I was waiting with bated breath for the moment that it all goes horribly wrong as per Mercedes Lackey’s trademark, but it didn’t, at least not as spectacularly as in some of the Elemental Masters and other Valdemar books. Somehow it read like a mashup of a couple of novellas: episodic, with at least three distinct story arcs and no overarching plot. There was an overarching villain, disconcertingly with the same last name as mine minus the final letter, who started as a mere bully and ended as a wannabe throne usurper. This character is a much too thinly veiled dig at a well-known real-world personage, and while it’s nice to see him get his comeuppance and I don’t mind politics in fantasy, I don’t like this-world politics intruding on other-world fantasy. There’s no romance (a breath of fresh air) and no sex to speak of (though one Goodreads reviewer spends a thousand words on pointing out that this book is boring and pointless and it’s all about sex) and the main character turns out to be matter-of-fact asexual (a huge breath of fresh air!) in the “<shrug> no? why should I?” way. Also refreshing: the protagonist doesn’t get Chosen at the end, which spoiled By the Sword a bit for me.
Earlier reading notes: