I haven’t been reading as much during the time I was finishing Isolate, but I have read a few books in the last several months. I greatly appreciated Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago, and even if it is a more direct riff on post-Byzantine Italy than some of his other fantasies are of history, I still found it poignant and enjoyable. I do have a fondness for Jack McDevitt’s Alex Benedict, and Octavia Gone was entertaining to me, but I think a bit weaker in basic plot than some of the earlier novels. I also read the ARC of Re-Coil, by J.T. Nicolas, (forthcoming in March from Titan Books), which is a an intriguing mix of bio-tech and space opera, and, unfortunately, clearly the first book in a series, which left it with a weaker ending than I would have preferred.

I also got to read an advance, uncorrected, bound manuscript of The Freedom Race, by Lucinda Roy, a novel that I can only describe as American magic-realism meets the outcome of the Second U.S. Civil War in a well-told, but brutally jolting, strangely prescient, and soul-haunting narrative. Unhappily, because I got to read this early-on, it won’t be published until mid-2021.

And, as always, there were a few other books I won’t mention.

4 thoughts on “”

  1. Mary SoonLee says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your recent reading.

    “A Brightness Long Ago” may be my favorite book by Guy Gavriel Kay. I love the quiet, reflective tone. Despite its comparative quietness, I found it very powerful. The section where Kay speaks about stories themselves could have been a distraction if done less well. Instead it was among my favorite passages I’ve ever read. I also read “Octavia Gone” this summer and agree with your assessment. McDevitt is one of the few authors (yourself included) whose books I routinely preorder, but I liked this volume slightly less than usual—while still enjoying it.

    You have made me impatient to read “The Freedom Race.”

  2. Jeff Grainger says:

    Pleased to see you are a fan of Guy Gavriel Kay. Although his settings have clear parallels in the medieval world, he is a great world builder within those settings, with deeply developed characters. One of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed your Recluce novels.

  3. Grey says:

    I have McDevitt on ‘automatic preorder’ but agree with your (and Mary SoonLee’s) assessment of Octavia Gone. I reluctantly have to admit I feel like it applies to most of his recent books; a better entry point into his catalogue for an interested reader might be something like “A Talent for War”.

  4. Thornton Kimes says:

    I love Kay. Some of his books start slowly, suck you in and then you’re done. Waaaaah! I want more Kay!

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