Books read, February 2015

Was still mostly busy with revisions, but I did get some reading in.

Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson. I’ve bounced off several of his works before — something about them just hasn’t clicked with me — but this one was in my World Fantasy bag, and its opening pages drew me in enough that I kept going.

More than anything, Steelheart reminds me of Mike Underwood’s Shield and Crocus. They have a similar “superpowers in a weird dystopian city” vibe going on, though Underwood’s book partakes of the New Weird aesthetic, and Sanderson’s does not. In this case, Epics are the source of the dystopia: they all seem to be sociopaths, and since they started appearing, the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. Steelheart follows the efforts of the Reckoners (a resistance organization) to overthrow the title character, who rules the city of New Cago with <fails her Pun Resistance roll> a steel fist.

Sanderson is either not quite as mean as I am, or else he thought of the same thing and couldn’t find a way out of that particular corner, either. You see, in order to kill Steelheart, the Reckoners have to figure out his weakness. I had a theory for what that weakness might be, and the evidence wholly supported my idea . . . but Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, it would have made Steelheart almost 100% impossible to kill. The actual answer was still pretty tough, but not quite as bad. Anyway, the book moved at a good clip, and I may pick up the sequel, Firefight.

The Winner’s Crime, Marie Rutkoski. Reviewed here.

Avatar: The Search, vol. 1, Gene Luen Yang.
Avatar: The Search, vol. 2
Avatar: The Search, vol. 3

My husband and I wandered into the local comic book store on the way back from dinner one night, and I noticed there were more Avatar volumes out. Thinking I had finished the first series (I hadn’t, and you’ll be seeing reviews of those in next month’s post), I went ahead and bought the second one.

This series deals with Zuko, Azula, and their long-vanished mother. It’s been a while since I watched the TV series — ye gods, I had forgotten how unstable Azula became at the end. She’s, um. Not much more stable here. It also turns out that the story of their mother is a bit on the convoluted side . . . but I forgive that because the Mother of Faces is an excellent spirit character. Creepy and cool and very, very much not human. (And not secretly Zuko’s mother, which I just realized the juxtaposition there might imply.)

On the whole, I have to say the Avatar comics are a pretty solid example of continuing a story in comics form and doing it well. The plots here have substance, but aren’t the kind of thing that needs a whole TV series to work out. On the screen, they would feel like a letdown after the series finale. On the page, they’re reasonably substantial snacks, and do a nice job of addressing some of the dangling threads without feeling like unnecessary fanfic.

ItLoD, Marie Brennan. My own work doesn’t count. No matter how many hours I spent on it.

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