Books read, March 2015

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

I read the first of these a while ago, but forgot until I went to shelve my new acquisitions that I hadn’t read the rest of the set. So I backed up to the start again.

In this trilogy of comic books, Yang takes on issues of postcolonialism and interracial marriage — no, really. It got me reflecting on the differences between what I’ll term a “simple” treatment of something and a “simplistic” one: here, those issues get resolved more easily than they would be in the real world, but they are present. I think of that as a simple treatment, but not a simplistic one. The city of Yu Dao is a Fire Nation colony, but it’s a century old; it has been built up from a tiny village by a mixed group of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom citizens, some of whom have intermarried, others of whom are close friends. Making amends for Fire Nation imperialism by yanking all people of that ethnicity out of Yu Dao would not actually be justice . . . but just leaving them there isn’t quite a solution, either. And this all gets tangled up in a promise between Zuko and Aang, which provides your regularly scheduled dose of Zuko Angst. ๐Ÿ™‚ I quite enjoyed it.

Avatar: The Rift, vol. 1
Avatar: The Rift, vol. 2
, Gene Luen Yang.

Haven’t acquired and read the third volume yet. Aang takes the Gaang to see an old sacred Air Nomad site, and finds a factory has been built on top of it. Things get complicated from there. I’m really enjoying these comic-book continuations; they provide nice explorations of the world and how it changed from Aang’s day to Korra’s. And I really like how the Air Nomad fankids are being handled.

Chains and Memory, Marie Brennan. My own books don’t count.

a friend’s novel in manuscript I won’t give the title or author here, because this book hasn’t even been submitted to editors yet, and it would be cruel of me to taunt you all with gushing about its awesomeness when you won’t be able to read it for who knows how long. ๐Ÿ™‚ But never fear! I will be back to talk about it more when the time comes.

Chains and Memory, Marie Brennan. Can you tell what I’ve been revising this month?

Taltos, Steven Brust. The structure of this one was interesting. Based on the cover copy, I was quickly able to make a general guess at what was going on in the brief/later bits opening the chapters, and it added a nice (if slightly vague) element of tension. The flashback stuff . . . I liked it, but I think I would have liked a smaller/less frequent dose of it, just because it kept pulling me out of the main story with Aliera/Morrolan/the Paths of the Dead/etc. The latter had some very cool moments in it, and I would have liked to stay in that mood, instead of jumping back and forth. But hey: I don’t fault Brust for experimenting. With a long series like this, it’s nice not to have every installment be like every other installment.

The Guns of Avalon, Roger Zelazny. I was a little unfair to this one: I started reading it some number of months ago, got interrupted, and when I came back I didn’t feel like re-reading the beginning. So it took me a while to get my footing and remember what Corwin was doing, apart from “trying to take over Amber.” I got into it pretty well by the end: there was a point where it seemed entirely possible that the message of the story was going to be “by the way, the protagonist is the villain,” and even though it didn’t go down that path, it went far enough to be interesting. And I want to see what’s up with Dara, though given the time period these were written, I recognize that the answer to that question may frustrate me more than it pleases.

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