November Books

I read Christine Feehan’s Mind Game recently (finished it on 11/5/13).  It wasn’t bad, but was not really what I was in the mood for.  I’ve been craving a good SciFi or Fantasy book lately so I decided to see what I could find at the library.

Of the three books I checked out, the first one I read was Pavane, by Keith Roberts and I finished this on 11/11/13. A classic of alternate history, this novel is set in a twentieth century where the Roman Catholic Church controls the western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth was assassinated in 1588.” [].   I found it to be a very interesting idea – and how awful it would be if the Church was all powerful like that.  It was very creative and written beautifully:

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1968, these intricately linked short stories (broken into six measures and a coda) constitute a pioneering work of alternative history that has influenced many contemporary SF and fantasy writers. In them a twisted Church of Rome rules a modern world where steam locomotives are the primary mode of transportation, semaphores (telegraph signals moved by hand and read via binoculars) are used for communication and the horrors of the Inquisition continue. Why? Because in 1588 Queen Elizabeth I was assassinated, leading to the Spanish Armada’s defeat of England and the subsequent suppression of the Protestant Church. But in this stately “dance” of stories, revolution becomes inevitable when society’s natural cultural and scientific progress can no longer be contained.

Pavane is an intelligent, powerful, and moving work, deserving of a wide readership. –Cynthia Ward / Editorial Review.

The next book I decided to read was A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness“A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight.”  People

I was a bit distressed, however, to find that this was the first book in a trilogy – particularly since the 3rd book has not yet been published – and I liked it so much, I had to run to the library to get the second one, Shadow of Night.  

The final book in the trilogy is not scheduled to be released until this next July.  Oh well…

One thing that made an immediate impression on me is the difference between these books and Christine Feehan’s.  A couple or so years ago I read a whole slew of Feehan’s “Dark” or “Carpathian” series.  They are basically “vampire romances.”  These Deborah Harkness books are likewise “vampire romances” but there is a difference.  Actually, there are significant differences, but the point I am talking about is the difference between “sex” and “seduction.”  One reports all the erotic details, the other only suggests those things – the eroticism is in what is implied by other details and in what is left out.  And, at least at this particular time in my life, I much prefer the latter.  I think the imagination is much better at painting the picture than any words.

In any event, I am enjoying these books a lot and I know I’m going to hate getting to the end of this second book and having to stop and wait several months for the rest of the story!

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