This is a quick burns review of some books I read over the past couple of months.
First up is Scott Sigler’s Infected, one of the first “podcast novels” and a book that helped to make Sigler a hot commodity in the genre. I recall a couple of posts on Jeff VanderMeer’s blog (here and here about Infected when the book was published in hardcover. I listened to this one as it was available for free on iTunes. The story combines elements of military thriller and alien invasion for a very fun and engaging story. Sigler himself performs the audio for the story and gives each of the characters a distinct voice (though it is pretty easy to tell that Sigler is all the voices). The main players here are CDC scientist Margaret Montoya, CIA operative Dew Philips, Dew’s boss CIA Deputy Director Murray Longworth, who track down the source of strange, disturbing and violent deaths and Perry Dawsey, former college football star and our main point of view of an infected person. I haven’t “read” too many audio books but I think I’m going to change that. Well, I’ll at least continue the series with Contagious, the sequel to this one since it is free and on my iPod. (I even mentioned Scott's forthcoming novel Alive on a recent On My Radar post for SF Signal.)
I also recently finished Kevin Hearne’s second to most recent Iron Druid Novel, Hunted (published in 2013). It has been a couple of years (Trapped in 2012) since I followed along with Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon and tagging along on their journey reminded me how much fun these books are. In this one, not only is Atticus being pursued by two of the hunt goddesses (Artemis and Diana), Loki is looking for him, in the hopes of kickstarting Ragnarok. On more than one occasion I was laughing out loud at something in the story and my wife, ensconced in her own thing, turned to ask why I was laughing. Along the way, Atticus is blind-sided, has several conversations with Odin, pals up again with the Perun, the Slavic god of thunder and lightning, and says goodbye an old friend.
I've got the next book on Mount Toberead, I don't think I'll wait as long to read it as I did between reading Hunted and and Shattered, the next book and the Kevin's "promotion" to Hardcover.
I also breezed through Rachel Aaron’s writing book 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Better, and Writing More of What You Love. I am looking forward to starting the next book I’m going to write after coming away from Rachel’s book with some excellent things to incorporate into my writing process (such as it is). I've seen Kameron Hurley, Patrick Hester and other writers give this book a shout-out at least once a week on twitter. There are some great ways to approach writing in this book.
Rachel’s written some really fun and entertaining novels so I think taking some writing advice from her seems a pretty logical thing to do.
I’ll finish with The Just City by Jo Walton, a book that was anticipated by a great many readers including myself. I thoroughly enjoyed Among Others and thought the concept of this one was interesting: people plucked out of time by the Greek Gods to form a new society set apart from the world. There’s a slight similarity to the classic Philip Jose Farmer novel To Your Scattered Bodies Go in concept. Unfortunately, I had to slap a DNF stamp on The Just City. I felt no urgency in the plot or from the characters and felt a bit bored by the whole thing and quit just before finishing the first third of the novel because nothing grabbed me.