I doubt I’d have picked up NO PROPER LADY by Isabel Cooper if I didn’t know the author, but this paranormal romance (her first) is a fun read: A female assassin from a dystopian future (think the Terminator timeline if Skynet had been an arch-demon) travels back to the 19th century to kill the black magician responsible for the war’s woes, and teams up with a Victorian white magician with his own score to settle with the man. Fun and good on the culture clash between the heroes, though I’d think a Victorian gentleman would be more thrown out by her language.
FEATHERS: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson is an exhaustive look at the various topics surrounding feathers: How they evolved and from what (probably not from scales according to the current consensus), how birds use them in flight, courtship and insulation (and conversely how birds keep from overheating in desert environments) and human uses from the quill pen to fashion to down pillows. Filled with lots of interesting details such as the Trans-Sahara Ostrich Expedition (an attempt to find an ostrich subspecies with particularly fine feathers, that succeeded only a couple of years before feather fashion went cold), a late-20th century Bible written entirely by quill pen and similar old-school techniques and a South American bird that can generate a violin-like side by vibrating feathers together. An entertaining one.
UNEXPECTED MAGIC is a complete Diana Wynn Jones short-story collection, except for the Chrestomanci tales in Mixed Magic and, unfortunately, the Dalemark story “True State of Affairs” which I don’t have at all. This includes tales familiar to me (in two older anthologies I replaced with this one) such as “Emma Hittims” (a girl faces her own fantasy characters), “The Master” (which doesn’t make any more sense than it did on first reading) “What the Cat Told Me” (cat and mage’s apprentice team against the wizard) and new ones: “Girl Jones” (an autobiographical story set in WW II), “Little Dot” (cats united to help a wizard against a sinister seducer) and the comeuppance of “The Fat Wizard.” It also includes her unpublished first novel “Everard’s Ride,” a C.S. Lewis-ish tale which two Victorian children get sucked into royal intrigue in a parallel world. While not bad, it’s kind of dull, which makes it easy to see why success had to wait until Wilkin’s Tooth/Witch’s Business.
UNWRITTEN: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity is the first collection of the Vertigo comics series about the son of a beloved children’s writer and namesake of his series protagonist (imagine JK Rowling had a kid named Harry Potter) who after his father’s death finds his true identity in question,cults springing up around him, mysterious killers on his trail and the keys to a mystery conspiracy in his hands. A good start——I can see why some of my friends are big fans.
INCOGNITO: Bad Influences is the second TPB of Ed Brubaker’s noirish super-hero (?) series, in which Zack Overkill, an ex-con turned reluctant federal agent, gets sent back into the underworld to penetrate one of his world’s nastier conspiracies. Can he keep it together without falling back into old habits? Who’s the mysterious vigilante hunting him? And why does renegade Simon Slaughter insist there’s some deeper scheme behind it all? If you like Brubaker’s Criminal or Sleeper (or if you’ve never read them) this is definitely worth reading.


Filed under Comics, Reading

2 responses to “Books

  1. Pingback: Anthologies and links « Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Movies and Books « Fraser Sherman's Blog

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