Seven more books

Book 47 – 49  Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, On the Oceans of Eternity by S.M. Stirling

The Island of Nantucket drops out of time to somewhere in the 1250s BCE and is lucky enough to have both a Coast Guard captain who can use sails, an ancient civilizations Professor with the ability with languages and an astronomer who can speak Lithuanian (apparently it’s closest to the Indo-European proto-languages, go figure). As an alternative history it does indeed work. I enjoyed reading as people struggle with the idea that life without the Internet — well it was set in the 1990s initially so it’s more life without cable television — is indeed possible. As a story there are parts that I find difficult. No one dies. Maybe I’m just getting used to David Weber killing off untold millions of people but there needs to be a time when everything does not go well and that half your population will cease to exist. Thankfully I know he makes up for this one in the other series so I’ll cut him some slack. Maybe if I had encountered these books when they were initially written and with nearly a decade of time in between I would have been more gracious of my acceptance. Overall: a decent read but don’t give up your current reading to grab it. Rating: B- to B.

Book 50 In Enemy Hands by David Weber

Rating: A. I was about to write “thankfully this one isn’t as emotionally wrought at the previous one” but that’s not really true. There is still a great deal of personal agony reaching out from Honor Harrington, its just has a different reason. The previous book nearly traumatized me towards the end but then again perhaps reading it during the depths of depression is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Honor is just such a well created character and war is just such an ugly mess of needless death and destruction that even though all of these wretched things still happen you still need to keep reading. Personal agony aside this series is quickly coming close to surpassing the Dresden Files on my all time favorite series/character list. Which brings us to …

Book 51 Changes by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is back and a metric ton of story arcs are, well, changed. Butcher does an amazing job of tying up all of the various threads that have been hanging around while fixing it so that the series must change if it is to continue. It has no choice. As for the “controversial ending” bit that half of the Internet is aflutter over (according to my wife, I tend to stay away from online reviews which is fairly ironic if you think about what I’m writing at the moment) I saw it as perfectly fitting and I know exactly who did what to whom. There is not cliffhanger wondering bit here. If you’ve paid attention this is not out of left field and it is by far the greatest ending. Rating: A+

[Aside: Wow. I just got off of one of those wonderful Internet tangents where you bounce around for a while and end up writing down something you really ought to read. Focus dammit. Focus. Then wander and start taking notes about the Napoleonic wars.]

Book 52 Without Remorse by Tom Clancy

I needed a train book and picked up this one which lives on from my “I must read Tom Clancy” era. It’s ok. As a precursor to the characters in the Jack Ryan series it explains some things. I do like the concept of a serial killer who is not a psychopath but one who does wonder if what he is doing is indeed the “right” thing to do. Or maybe that is a psychopath and it’s the difference between that and a sociopath. Meh. Rathing: B.
Book 53 The Scourge of God S.M. Stirling

This one came very close to a book fail. As the second book set in the second series I spent a lot of time wondering: who is this person and why should I care? On more than one occasion I had to backtrack to figure out what the hell was going on and in one case I am not entirely certain how someone died. At least I think she died. Like I’m said this book was not the most polished of his I’ve read. Now I’m thinking I may have to re-read this after going through the earlier series and hopefully it makes sense but after loving The Sunrise Lands I was vastly disappointed. Rating: C (for now).