June Reading Log

I read 5 books in June: 1 short story, one fully length novel, and the re-listens of 3 audiobooks. I’d listened to American Gods last month, in a full cast, so I chose the Immortal quartet because it’s also a full cast.

One Hundred Ablutions – Jacqueline Carey

This is a short story (maybe 30 pages) that I’d been meaning to read for years, but only just recently got to do so. It’s a really quick read, although it takes a while to let it sink in.

Dala’s people, the Keren, are in service to the Shaladan. While they’re slaves, the Keren don’t seem to mind it too terribly. Dala knows she’s a slave, but as long as she’s not chosen to be a handmaid of Shakrath, she’s fine with her life. As luck would have it, there’s a shortage of merchant girls to be chosen for handmaids, and so Dala must participate in the choosing ritual.

She has no ability to reject being chosen, and must become a handmaid. She’s given to a household, and is expected to fetch a giant basin of water each day, for each member of the household. She chafes at this, and wishes to find a way out.

It’s a lovely story, short but well written. Carey spins a lovely tale, with a lot of vivid, rich detail, in a short space. I wish I’d been able to get a little more detail about the Keren and the Shaladan, as the visual details were a little sketchy.

 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

This one was picked for me for a Swap Bot swap, and I ended up really liking it. It’s a book split into two parts: the first part is Queenie/Julie’s recounting of the events leading up to her capture. It revolves a lot around Maddie, her best friend, and the events that lead up to the beginning of the book. She also writes a bit about her life as a captive, including the day to day things. The second part of the book is from Maddie’s point of view, and it’s where I think the story really gets interesting. Maddie starts her story on the night she’s to take Queenie/Julie to France, and continues it on.

The book is a fantastic read, and as someone who grew up reading books about World War 2, and the people who lived during it, I enjoyed it quite a bit. There is a sad bit, very sad, actually, that flew past me. I blame my kindle for showing me that I had a lot more book left than I actually did. However, I think the event, and the rest of the book, was well done. It’s World War 2, there are Nazis, there is sacrifice. It’s perfectly acceptable that there will be sadness among the happyish ending.

 

Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce

As an FYI: I adore Tamora Pierce’s books, and have since I was 9 or 10. They’re almost always auto buy for me, or at least auto check out from the library. This series I picked up when I was long haul driver, because it had a full cast, and I love audiobooks with full casts.

Set in the same world as Alanna: The First Adventure, set probably 10 years later. Onua is looking for an assistant to help her take mountain ponies back to Tortall, for training with the Queen’s Riders. She meets Daine, a 13 year old (claiming to be 15) who has a knack with animals. As they travel back to Tortall with the ponies, it become apparently Daine has a form of magic called wild magic. Thanks to the mage Numair, she learns to use it, and finds her place in her new homeland of Tortall.

Daine is a fun character, a girl terrified people will think she’s mad because of an event that happened before the book, but who also wants to find her own place. The people she meets are diverse and interesting, and they don’t exist just to show her that adults are uncaring, stupid, or patronizing. They are there to help her grow and change and find her place. And Numair turned out ot be a pretty interesting mage. Thankfully Pierce is writing a book about him, to be published this year.

Wolf Speaker – Tamora Pierce

Book 2 has Daine, Numair, Kitten (a dragon), and their mounts going to a valley to help a pack of wolves Daine knows. Turns out there’s more to the goings on than just people making game scarce for the wolves, and Daine and Numair must end a plot to overthrow the king and queen of Tortall.

I remembered liking this one less than books 1 and 3, but in the end, I think I still like it quite a bit. Daine has a better grasp of her magic, but she’s still learning a lot of things, and when she ends up separated from Numair, she has to improvise. It ends up a good fun story.

Emperor Mage – Tamora Pierce

Daine, Numair, Kitten, and a whole delegation of Tortallan travel to Carthak to attempt a peace treaty and negotiations. Given that Carthak has been a thorn in Tortall’s side of years, this goes like you might expect. Also, the Emperor’s birds are sick, and the Emperor is a former school mate of Numair and the reason Numair had to flee the country.

Daine’s older and wiser, and as such, her decisions change for the book. We start to discover some of the feelings she has for her older teacher in this one, and that the feelings might be returned. Also, her gifts have solidified, and she’s learned to use them well. This one also sets up part of the premise for the final book, and does so well.