Five more book reviews

I’m managing to read quite a few books, and then not post reviews of any of them. Of course, the longer I wait to write the review, the more fuzzy the details get in my memory, so here’s another batch of quick reviews in an effort to at least get myself closer to finally being caught up on the 2004 reads.

The Confusion (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 2) by Neal Stephenson [4.5/5]

If you liked Quicksilver, you’re almost certainly going to like this second volume of The Baroque Cycle. This time around there’s more Jack Shaftoe, which I thought was a definite plus, as his sometimes swashbuckling adventures tend to be faster paced than the storylines of the other viewpoint characters. I didn’t enjoy Eliza’s parts of the story as much as I did in the first book, which was a bit disappointing, but I’m still looking forward to seeing how Neal ties everything up in The System of the World (which is already sitting in my to-read pile).

Staying Dead by Laura Anne Gilman [3.5/5]

This was an enjoyable urban fantasy novel, with strong characters and some very nice worldbuilding.

Greetings from Lake Wu by Jay Lake [4/5]

Jay Lake is a brilliant writer, and this short story collection is an excellent way to introduce yourself to his work. As a bonus, you get to see some nice Frank Wu pieces too. My favorite story here is probably “The Angle of My Dreams,” but they’re all good, and well worth your time.

A Place so Foreign and 8 More by Cory Doctorow [3.5/5]

I thought Cory’s first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, was a great book, so I was looking forward to reading some of his short stories. I didn’t end up being as impressed with this collection as I was with his longer work, but there are still some fascinating ideas in here, and, while not all of the stories really clicked for me, there are some real gems. You can even check out some of them yourself for free. I recommend trying “Craphound” or “Shadow of the Mothaship,” and if you like those, buy this book.

The Eyre Affair: A Novel by Jasper Fforde [3.5/5]

I thought this book was a lot of fun, though the setup worked better than the payoff. If you’re looking for something that reads quickly and is relatively light, and you’ve got at least a passing knowledge of English literature, give this one a try.

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