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  • Writer's pictureDan

What I’ve Been Reading, January 2020 Edition

Updated: Jan 12, 2020


I’ve started the new year off with a thriller and a couple of fantasy novels, including an introduction to the Witcher. I read The Last Wish in preparation for the Netflix series about Geralt.

Past Tense by Lee Child

This is the third or fourth Jack Reacher novel I’ve read. It’s not my favorite, but it’s still pretty darn good. There’s something inevitable about Jack Reacher, he’s like death and taxes. You know he’s coming for the bad guys, and you know no matter how bad the bad guys are that they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in the ninth circle of hell. Child helps the reader suspend their disbelief, so to speak, by making his baddies so despicable yet believable, you can’t wait for Reacher to put the hurt on them, and you really enjoy it when he does.

In this novel, he adds another wrinkle that I think works quite well. He creates two sympathetic, down on their luck characters who are the victims of the baddies. You want these people to survive, at least I did. Never did I really think Reacher was in any danger, but the victims…I absolutely knew they were. On top of the sense of jeopardy he creates for the victims, he adds the twist of them doing about 90% of the hard work of escaping before Reacher comes to their aid. Overall, I was satisfied with this thriller. The last hundred 100 to 150 pages are masterful.

The Last Wish by Andrzej Spakowski

I’ve known about the Witcher for a while now. For most of that time, I didn’t know if it was a book series or a videogame. Now, I realize it’s both – duh! A TV series now too. Not bad. I’d say the same about the stories contained in The Last Wish. Not bad, but not great either. The writing is beautiful, and Geralt is a fantastic character, especially if you appreciate his dry wit. Having said that, there is a sameness to the stories that made the collection seem episodic despite the clever writing and charismatic lead character. Still, I can see why people enjoy these stories/books.

I have been watching the Netflix series. After an inauspicious start, I fell asleep during the first episode, I find myself enjoying it. I’m not a fan of Henry Cavill’s Superman. In fact, him being the star turned me off from The Witcher. But, since it’s a fantasy, I decided to try it out. Glad I did. It’s very entertaining, and Cavill has definitely captured the essence of Geralt.

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

At first, I didn’t dig this book, at all. Once I got into it though, it turned out okay. Overall, a fitting end to the series. I rank this one as better than The Magicians and not nearly as good as The Magician King. If you’ve finished the first two books despite or because of Quentin Coldwater, this book is worth reading.

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