What I’ve been reading, June 2019 Edition
Lately, I’ve been listening to audiobooks on Libby, an app that lets you check out audiobooks and e-books from your local library. It’s pretty cool. You have the anticipation of reading a book that you’ve had on for hold weeks, and, well, free is cheaper than audible.
Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig
I generally enjoy Chuck Wendig’s novels, and I was totally pumped when this showed as ready to read on Libby bookshelf. My excited anticipation quickly generated to disappointment. Overall, I found this novel let down after Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt, which I think is easily the best book in the trilogy. Having said that, the novel’s saving grace is that Chuck does a great job with the dénouement. I finished the novel feeling like all the characters’ stories were satisfactorily resolved, and that there are still more adventures to be had in the vast Star Wars universe.
Twisted Prey by John Sandford
Okay. Okay. I have to admit I’m a huge John Sandford fanboy. His Prey novels are great thrillers. Twisted Prey is the first one of his I’ve read in a while, and I loved it. After reading a number of his novels, I found a few of them formulaic. Twisted Prey definitely is not. Anyone looking to add thrills and suspense to writing will do well to study Sandford’s novels, especially Twisted Prey, Silken Prey, and Winter’s Prey.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
This is one I originally watched on Netflix. I can’t say I love the show, but it is a fantasy, so…I watch it anyway while waiting for better shows. Thankfully, the book is about 100 times better than the show. I’ve read the book described as Harry Potter for adults. I suppose it is…up to a point. There is a magical college involved, but Harry Potter this is not. As engrossing as the world is, and it is very absorbing, the novel possesses an Achilles’ heel. The same Achilles’ heel as the TV show. That is the characters, virtually all of them, are unlikable. They are so unlikable that it’s hard to feel any sympathy or empathy toward them even when bad things happen, or sad backstories are revealed. I will say this, Quentin Coldwater is not quite as unlikable in the book as he is in the TV show.
You might wonder why I find the characters unlikable. Here it is. They spend way too much time feeling sorry for themselves and far too much interior monologue is spent expressing Quentin’s existential angst at the ordinary world and the magical one.
Surprisingly though, despite the characters, I enjoyed The Magicians. The writing is tack sharp. The magical world is fun and fascinating. I won’t, however, be in a rush to read the other books in the series, because I don’t look forward to spending more time with the characters.