What I've read lately

Abe Gross argross at bigpond.net.au
Tue Jan 28 05:57:53 EST 2003


Melissa wrote:

> Witches:  Granny Weatherwax is a witch.  She has two witch friends in her
> coven, Nanny Ogg (mother of a vast clan) and Magrat Garlick (an
unfortunate
> wilted sort who in our world would be a failed New Ager).  Women are
> witches.  Men are wizards.  Granny Weatherwax is the best of the best.
> Start with _Witches Abroad_--excellent Cinderella story.
>
> Death: Death adopted a human daughter and took a human apprentice, and
> naturally those two got married.  He has a servant named Albert and a
white
> horse named Binky.  He is very fond of cats.  Over the course of the
series,
> Death is trying to learn how to become human; the reasons for this are
> explained over time.  Start with _Reaper Man_, which is one of the more
> powerful novels in the series.
>
> Rincewind:  Rincewind is the most inept wizard ever.  He has a walking
> monster called the Luggage which is made of sapient pearwood and therefore
> smarter than Rincewind.  Most of the earliest books are Rincewind stories
> and can be missed, though there are a number of minor characters you
should
> know about (i.e. Twoflower, the tourist from the Agatean Empire who gave
> Rincewind the Luggage, and Cohen the Barbarian, who is well over a hundred
> years old and possibly unkillable).  Start with _Interesting Times_, which
> is about the Agatean Empire, similar to ancient China.
>
> City Guards:  This is my favorite.  Probably.  I change my mind a lot.
The
> Night Guard had a terrible and well-deserved reputation, and in the first
> book there were only three of them.  Carrot, a human boy raised by
dwarves,
> comes to the city; his tremendous honesty, earnestness, and naivete end up
> transforming the Guard and allowing its Captain to regain his
self-respect.
> Carrot is apparently the long-lost heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork, but
> doesn't want the job.  At the beginning of _Men at Arms_, Captain Vimes is
a
> recovering alcoholic about to marry the damsel he rescued from a dragon in
> the first book, and the Guard is dealing with a new affirmative action
> policy implemented by the Patrician.  The Patrician, who more or less
rules
> the city, defies description, but "Machiavellian" is a good adjective.

Thanks for the background. It will be good to have this on hand when I start
reading whatever I do start reading first.

> Glad to hear you liked _Kavalier and Clay_, Ros!  And, um, did I happen to
> mention that my opinion of _Jenna Starborn_ exactly matches yours?

Since you are Always Right, I'm so glad you agree with me! ;-)

The two friends I've lent it to so far felt exactly the same way, and we are
all Shinn fans.


> My thought was, "What exactly was the point of writing this?  If I wanted
to
> read _Jane Eyre_ I would have done that."

Worse than there being no point in it, it actually manages to make the story
feel banal, IMO. _Jane Eyre_ is powerful and moving and this re-telling
isn't.

> Bah.  Too bad, because I think
> Sharon Shinn is a pretty good writer overall.

I agree--she nearly always is able to combine a charming romance with
wonderful fantasy. *Something* went wrong here.

Ros

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