I’m blaming the Great Book Purge

When last I visited this blog (sorry about the absence), I had just read and loved one of C.S. Harris’s St. Cyr mysteries.  Which meant that I had to go find the rest of the series, since I have no self-control whatsoever.  And my local library happened to have all the books of the series on the shelf, so…

As much as I enjoyed the glom, I would not necessarily encourage it.  Read in close succession, the author’s edging of Hero from plain to striking to handsome to beautiful was noticeable and awkward.  St. Cyr’s passion for justice is never really explained, just hinted at, which becomes irritating (to me) — fish or cut bait.  Also, it seemed obvious at the outset how things were going to wind up with Kat Boleyn; St. Cyr’s refusal to accept her position felt wearying and dismissive of her opinion/desires in a way that is not flattering to him as a protagonist and verges on alpha-jerkiness.

ETA:  also, I noticed some editing blips that were disappointing in hardback editions from a big NY publisher.  Things like the name Knox changing to Fox and then back to Knox, etc.

~~~

I’m very slowly reading Mary Stewart’s The Gabriel Hounds, a gothic mystery set in Syria post WWII.

And Brad Boney’s The Return is on my Kindle.  As I read, I appreciate Boney’s narrative style and the devices he’s using, but the content of the story is really not working for me.  This was presented to me as a gay romance novel, but I’m not sure it is; there’s couplehood but no demonstration of falling in love.  It’s InstaLove and Gay4U explained away as reincarnation, which feels like cheating to me.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “I’m blaming the Great Book Purge

  1. How odd to change the way the character looks as the series continues!! Bizarre! Thanks for the tip on spreading them out.

    Dare I ask your thoughts on my Miles post? I’m definitely curious but maybe I was too much of a hater and you surfed away in disgust?

    Also, have you read Code Name Verity? I think you would like it. It’s one of the Elizabeth Wein titles I was making fun of the cover of (no idea how to parse that grammatically) but I ended up getting it when it was the only title of hers available at the library (different and much better cover too which made me chuckle) and it was fantastic.

    • I think the author may be using the looks/change as a tool for showing St. Cyr’s changing opinion of Hero. Which, okay, fine. Except her father’s mental description of her has softened as well.

      I have no read Code Name Verity, but I read the blurb and am intrigued.

      On your Miles post: not disgusted at all. I actually wrote a longish response when I was back online (I disappeared for a week or so due to Life) and it refused to post, so I’ve been trying to reconstruct it. I think the problem is that Google Chrome doesn’t seem to like blogspot unless I am logged in…and I generally am not. In short: you point out things that I basically ignore in my Miles-love, and you reminded me why I seldom re-read the early Miles book (Warrior’s Apprentice, I think) in terms of his relationship with Elena and fixing things for her. In a later book, Taura notes that he tries to give things to people that make them bigger/better in good ways, but it’s always by moving them away from their current location rather than by fixing the underlying problem at that location. Which I wonder about now. His mother lived with the frustration of Barrayar, and maybe forced incremental change from within a traditional role. Why not push further, openly, with the social and political power she lacked rather than run away or remove the problem to an easier place?

  2. Definitely give Code Name Verity a try. You can tell within two chapters if it’s the kind of book you’ll like (I think you like the epistolary style, too, so it will probably work for ya) so it’s easy to do a preview but I thought it was so stinking awesome that I read it in a day and a half. I was hooked pretty quickly.

    Am about halfway through Where Serpents Sleep. I’m now remembering why I didn’t immediately go out and get another St. Cyr mystery. The writing style is just not quite what I like. A little too explanatory… little too obvious. I’m not meaning to sound snooty or critical but it’s a style that works for a lot of people and almost always rubs me wrong. I find myself reading only about half the words to turn it into a book more to my taste. I like the mystery part of it, though, and remembering liking the mystery in the first one I read. SERIES SPOILER! But, seriously? Kat turned out to be his sister????
    SPOILER END.

    I hate when the internet eats a response. It’s so discouraging and you never feel like you can get back what you originally wrote. Ugh! Interesting that Taura pointed out what feels lacking in Miles’ character. That and some other character observations is why I feel like Bujold specifically picked her backwards culture and Miles’ actions within it as she is obviously not blind to these aspects of the novels. I just don’t really get what she’s trying to do with that part of the series.

    • SPOILERS…Well, there’s another big secret that St. Cyr learns after the sister announcement….just wait. SPOILER END

      Have you tried Bujold’s Sharing Knife series? I’d love to hear what you think of them: they are set is a sort of Ohio River valley sort of wilderness, with a tension between farmers/colonizers and Lakewalker/magic wielders.

      I’ve downloaded a sample of Code Name Verity. I do like epistolary novels usually, so we’ll see.

  3. I have read 3.5 of the Sharing Knife. I remember really liking the first, enjoying the second and found this that I said a while back about 3 and 4:
    “I quite enjoyed the first of this series and even stayed interested through the second. The third was a bit of a letdown and I couldn’t muster the interest to finish the fourth. I think I was supposed to care more about the scientific nature of ground. I thought this was an angle of the series not THE series and I really wasn’t interested in chapters upon chapters detailing our protags’ adventures in ground research.

    Series bonus: Fantastic cover art!”

    I actually turned to the Sharing Knife after not liking the first Miles book I tried years ago because I liked Bujold’s writing.

    Which St. Cyr has Another Big Secret. I’ll read that one next. His personal life is quite the soap opera.

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