1. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – I almost lemmed this book after reading 100+ pages but then I read in Wikipedia that Vivenna will meet up with Vasher. The usual problem that I have with Sanderson’s books is that I don’t particulary care for the main protagonists. I was interested in Vasher but he only pops up occassionally. Some parts of the book were repetitive and boring and certain aspects of the magic system were unconvincing for me. It was Vasher who made me stick for all 688 pages and fortunately it was worth it. However, I will be staying away from Brandon Sanderson and focus on other authors.
2. Bloodchild by Octavia Butler – A short story on humans injected with alien larva. Bloody and disturbing, perfect for my mood.
3. Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler – This is the second novel (chronologically) of the Patternmaster series. I thought this would be a retread of Wild Seed and was almost going to put it aside. It is a bit different but still disconcerting. I read there are more creepy books in Butler’s roster. And yes Doro is dead!!
4. Dawn by Octavia Butler – This wasn’t unsettling as the two Patternmaster novels I have read. This was published almost 30 years ago so personally I would have different reaction towards aliens. I don’t find genetic manipulation or living ships weird. The parts on the different sexes and the sharing of progeny was bewildering for me. No plans to read the remainder of the series.
5. Rat Queens Special: Braga#1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe – This is the back story of the transgender orc Braga. How did Braga become a woman? Well in the Rat Queens universe, anything is possible.
6. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – Temeraire is the most interesting dragon I have read since Ursula Le Guin’s Kalessin. I enjoyed the book except for the action scenes which overwhelmed me with its detailed descriptions. This was much better than Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight but I have no wish to continue with the Temeraire series.
7. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay – I was hoping that my first introduction to Guy Gavriel Kay would be Tigana. I liked this story but it was already half way through the book before I finally understood who the three people from the past are. I found the protagonist’s ill timed humor grating or maybe I just cannot relate myself to a fifteen year old boy. There were some parts of the book that I found boring and some of characters were unnecessary (after Kate avoids becoming Ysabel, she just fades into the background).
8. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel – This is the graphic novel story of Alison Bechdel’s relationship with her closet gay father who worked part time as a mortician and secretly approached young boys. At the same time Alison was trying to come into terms with her being a lesbian. The first few chapters of the book were very interesting but I didn’t care much when Bruce Bechdel’s life was juxtaposed with his favorite books and authors (Proust, Hemingway, Joyce, etc). This was a very honest novel on a topic that people would rather hide, I highly admire the author for that.
9. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – This was an interesting book which has been described as a grown up Harry Potter. I also think there are shades of Chronicles of Narnia thrown in with a lot of alcohol and sex. However the book failed to keep my interest when the group graduated from Brakebills. I found Fillory too clinical and cannot understand why anybody wants to go there. To sum up, people are still the same whether they have magic or not. I am not going to read the next book in the series.