What I Read Over the Holidays
I guess you could call this a “what I did over the holidays” but in purely bookish terms!
Anyway, here’s what I took away with me and/or found under the tree on Christmas morning:
Songs of the Earth and Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper
You may recall Elspeth’s books arrived just before Christmas, when I did a Just Arrived post. There was no way I was going away without them amongst my holiday reading given this is Epic Fantasy in the classic style (you’ll recall I like that. ) It’s also initially a coming-of-age story, with a likeable young hero, Gair, as well as Aysha—a secondary character I enjoyed—in Songs of the Earth.
Trinity Rising opens the story and the world out in much the same way that I did with the WALL series in The Gathering of the Lost, and introduces at least one major new character, Teia—a strong young female protagonist—as well as developing two who played relatively minor roles in the first book: Selsen and Tanith.
One of the things I like about this series is that Gair is effectively a paladin, and it’s been a long time—with the fashion having been for anti-heroes and even outright villains—since I’ve read a paladin story. I was glad to have the opportunity to read the two books back to back over the break and am hoping to interview Elspeth Cooper here soon, as both our schedules allow.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern
Given the buzz over this book over the past year—not all of it enthusiastic, although a great deal of it was—I was pleased to finally read it. Conclusion: I am amongst the “yea” sayers. I enjoyed the read. I think the book is beautifully written and the eponymous Night Circus is an equally beautiful, imaginative construct—with overtones of the television show, Carnivale, but without the latter’s grit and macabre elements. A gentle, beautiful, enjoyable read, with my main quibble being that I did not really feel the passions of the central characters, particularly for each other. In that sense, the story had a dreamlike quality that went with the circus itself: Le Cirque des Rêves (the Circus of Dreams.)
This was a re-read of a book I loved as a teen, and the way Graves re-works the Odyssey legend also had a profound influence on how I thought about the Greek myths and legends and their potential juxtaposition with real history. Initially I was not sure I was enjoying the story as much as I had done previously, but the storytelling gradually wove its magic and drew me back in—despite the brutality of the slaying of the suitors and their hangers-on at the end. But that, after all, is in The Odyssey proper, for all my modern sensibility may find it difficult.
So how about you—did any of you read some good books over the break?