Before starting this post, I told myself I must finish writing the book review I was working on. So it is written and should be up in the next day or two (I will reread and revise some before putting it up, as usual, but that part won’t take long). After this, I’m going to start on the next review to try to get closer to caught up, especially since I’m getting close to the end of Mirror Dance and must read the long-awaited but short Bone Crossed next.

This week there are two new additions to the TBR pile.

World’s End by Joan D. Vinge

I had been planning to read The Summer Queen and skip this one since it is out of print, but I found a copy of World’s End for fairly cheap. It was hard for me to believe since it was much cheaper than most copies I saw at $10 plus it was a signed, numbered hardcover edition with a slipcase that was supposed to be like new. That sounded too good to be true, but I got it this past week and it really is all that AND in excellent condition. So I was very happy. This one is also much, much shorter than The Summer Queen so it will not take long to read it first.

Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

This was another review copy that just showed up one day unexpectedly. Spider’s Bite is the first book in the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. It was just released and the next two books in the series will also be released this year (Web of Lies in June and Venom in October). I do like assassins and I’ve been hearing good things about this book so I’m considering giving it a try. The first chapter is available on the author’s website.


For a while, I was doing posts at the beginning of the month about what I was planning to read. Since planning doesn’t always work that well for me, I decided to join in the ranks of those who post what they did read during the previous month at the beginning of a new month.

January was a pretty dismal reading month. It started off really well with 3 books read in the first couple of days while I was still on holiday vacation. Since then, I’ve only finished 2 more books, though, and I haven’t reviewed any of them (although I am at least halfway done with one review). That’s why I started Miles Errant – it’s huge so I was hoping to be caught up by the time I was done reading it.

January Reading:

1. Jhereg by Steven Brust
2. Yendi by Steven Brust
3. Teckla by Steven Brust
4. Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott
Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold (not including this novella toward my total books read since it was originally published in another collection instead of as a separate book)
5. Brothers In Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold

Favorite January book: I think I’m going to have to go with Jhereg since I can’t count Mirror Dance yet. Last night I stayed up really late because I “just had to read one more chapter.” I had originally intended to just finish one chapter I’d started earlier. Finally around 2:00 I realized I’d really better put it down and try to get some sleep…

Books that counted toward 2010 goals: Brothers In Arms went toward both the reading more science fiction goal and reading more books in series I have started and not finished.

What did everyone read last month?

Eek, it’s been a whole week and the last one of these was the last post I wrote. I was hoping to get at least one of those reviews written in the last week but hopefully I’ll get one written up before this weekend is over instead (most likely The Book of Jhereg, although I also need to write reviews of Twilight of Avalon and The Illustrated Guide to Mythical Creatures). Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the massive omnibus Miles Errant by Lois McMaster Bujold to give myself time to get caught up on all these reviews. I’ve finished both the novella and Brothers in Arms and am now reading Mirror Dance, which has potential to be my favorite book in the Miles Vorkosigan series so far.

This week I got a few new books I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I am really hoping to read at least some of these in February; hopefully I will have more time to read then.

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

Earlier last year I devoured the first three books in the Mercy Thompson series but held off on the fourth book until it came to paperback (since my books would be mismatched – yes, I am anal). When I got a Borders gift card for Christmas, I knew I would have to save it for when Bone Crossed came to paperback, which was just a couple of days ago. (I’m now saving the rest for if I get addicted to the Kate Daniels series.) Waiting was so hard, though, that I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wait for paperback when the next book comes out in a couple of months.

The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg

Carol Berg’s Rai-kirah series is one of my favorites of all time so I was very excited to hear about her her first book in the Collegia Magica series, The Spirit Lens. It came out the beginning of January but I ended up waiting for it for a while since I preordered it along with another book by a favorite author that was coming out at the end of this month…

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb’s Farseer/Liveship Traders/Tawny Main trilogies are among my favorites and my very favorite of the three is Liveship Traders. So I was very excited about this book, the first in the Rain Wilds Chronicles duology. It has been out in the UK for a little while, but it only became available in the US this week so there would not be a long wait for the second part, Dragon Haven (May 2010).

I thought I was going to have a week without one of these posts but then yesterday I found one ARC in my mailbox.

Feed by Mira Grant

This is the first book in the Newsflesh series (also known to me as the “RSS Zombie” book, as my husband started calling it). According to Orbit’s website, it will be released in May, but I noticed Amazon says it will be available on April 27. In spite of the fact that I normally avoid zombie books like – well, kind of like I would the actual zombie apocalypse – I am considering reading this one. For one thing, Mira Grant is another name for Seanan McGuire and I did really enjoy her novel Rosemary and Rue. Secondly, I read the first paragraph and am actually rather curious about it now.


I don’t often make link posts, but there were a couple of links I saw this week that I wanted to mention so here they are.

First off, some very sad news. Kage Baker, author of The Company series, is very ill and would love to hear from her fans (email and snail mail addresses are provided for anyone who would like to send her a message of support).

Thanks to Adventures in Reading, I found this interview with Steven Brust. Since I’m currently working on a review of Brust’s The Book of Jhereg, I figured I’d include it.

That reminded me of an interesting article (also on and posted by Jo Walton like the interview) that I read the other day and had meant to link to – SF Reading Protocols.

There is going to be a Book Blogger Convention in New York City on March 28, 2010. It’s the Friday right after Book Expo America, which takes place during the same week. Both sound like a lot of fun.

The Snow Queen
by Joan D. Vinge
448pp (Paperback)
My Rating: 10/10
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
LibraryThing Rating: 4.08/5
Goodreads Rating: 3.92/5

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge won the Hugo Award in 1981 and was also nominated for a Nebula Award. This science fiction novel was followed by a shorter novel, World’s End, which is the story of what happened to BZ Gundhalinu after the first novel ended. The Summer Queen is the direct sequel to The Snow Queen and was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1992. The most recent novel set in this universe, Tangled Up In Blue, is a stand-alone about BZ Gundhalinu that takes place during the earlier part of The Snow Queen. Unfortunately, The Snow Queen and World’s End are both out of print now.

The story of The Snow Queen is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale sharing the same title. The planet Tiamat is divided into two peoples, the Winters and the Summers. For about 150 years, the Stargate to other worlds remains open and during this time Tiamat is ruled by a Winter Queen. Once the gate closes and the foreigners leave, the Winter Queen is removed in favor of a Summer Queen. The Winters enjoy the technological benefits of the offworlders who visit during their time in power, but the Summers are a more spiritual people who do not share the Winters’ interest in technology and are considered to be a rather primitive people by the Winters.

The reign of the Winter Queen, Arienrhod, is drawing to an end after 150 years during which she has been kept young by the “water of life.” Reluctant to lose her important position, Arienrhod secretly had several clones created and raised as Summers in the hopes that one will survive and succeed her as queen. Only one of these doubles grows up to be a possibility for Arienrhod’s successor, Moon Dawntreader Summer.

Moon and her cousin Sparks grew up together – and grew to love each other. Ever since they were young, Moon and Sparks have dreamed of becoming sybils, whom the Summers respect for their ability to enter into a trance and answer questions posed to them truly. While Moon passes the test, Sparks does not which causes a rift between them, particularly as it is known that to love a sybil is death. Sparks leaves for the Winter town of Carbuncle where Arienrhod rules, and once the queen hears that her clone’s cousin is there, she uses him to draw Moon near. Yet her plan goes awry and Moon ends up leaving the world behind – and leaving both Arienrhod and Sparks to turn to each other while mourning her loss. However, Moon learns some important truths offworld and feels it is her destiny to return to Tiamat.

The Snow Queen was not only my favorite book read in 2009 but is now one of my absolute favorite books I have ever read. It was a little slow at times, especially toward the beginning, but the way it all came together later made me feel even the slower parts added a lot. The world of Tiamat and the characters were both fascinating, and some of the scenes toward the end were so bittersweet and haunting that they will be sticking with me for a long time to come.

This is a difficult book for me to talk about without spoilers since the second half is where it began taking off and tying everything together so nicely. There’s not anything I can think of that I didn’t like about it since even the parts that seemed to drag a little when I first read them seemed important to me later – I don’t think it would have been the same without them. I loved the writing, the characters, the story, the romance and the social structure of the planet Tiamat.

If there was one flaw I saw, it may be that Moon seemed too perfect – everyone seemed to love her, she showed kindness to those she had every reason to hate, she was beautiful, she never stopped caring for Sparks even when he could be a bit of a jerk, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a sybil and she attained special knowledge. None of this mattered to me, though, and I even thought it worked with her character when it came to seeing how she was so similar yet so different from Arienrhod. They both had some shared traits but Moon was so innocent while the older queen was manipulative. It made me wonder if young Arienrhod was more like Moon and what that means for Moon’s future.

Other than Moon, there were other characters who had their time in the limelight and I enjoyed reading about every single one of them. At first, I found myself wanting to just read about Moon or Arienrhod and wondered why there was time spent with some of the other characters, but by the end I found I couldn’t imagine the book without each and every one of them as all of their stories affected me.

Tiamat itself was such a wonderful place to visit and was very well-developed without being full of dull descriptions. I really enjoyed reading about the divide between the Summers and Winters, the sybils and how they were viewed by the two different peoples and the discovery of what sybils were as well as the revelation about the source of the water of life.

The Snow Queen is a wonderful science fiction book with a well-realized setting and culture, great characters I came to really sympathize with, lovely writing and some memorable scenes. It’s one of those rare books that I just love and wouldn’t change in the least. I’m very much looking forward to reading The Summer Queen and more by Joan D. Vinge.

My Rating: 10/10

Where I got my reading copy: My husband gave me a signed copy for Christmas.