1. sophie: swallowing darkness, divine misdemeanors, a shiver of light. laurell k hamilton.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      "so did you read them?" "yeah." "so do you wanna tell us about them?"
      "well... the only thing i remember really is... so this is what
      happens..." merry gentry is an exiled fairy, maybe a descendant of the
      fertility gods, the "whole goal of the series is for her to get
      pregnant." "well, does she wanna get pregnant? i mean, is she down?"
      "this is kinda like a duty... -ish." (ok god please forgive me that i
      can't just type this entire thing verbatim. i've never regretted not
      getting into stenography more than i regret it right now. -ed.) "like
      a jackelope? are you talking like, about an imp? like an imp?" "they
      look like manta rays but they have tentacles. they're... this is
      TRADITIONAL. the lord sholto is the king of the sluagh." anyway she
      thought it was twins but it ended up being triplets. they're trying to
      protect the babies from the uncle. there are sort of two fathers for
      each kid and they're trying to figure it out. anyway these aren't as
      heavy as the anita blake ones, lots of politics, sophie keeps saying
      she doesn't like these as much, in fact she says she's kind of losing
      it with the series. but clearly she loves the genre, and she feels
      like she's out of options.

  2. jeff: the republic of thieves. scott lynch.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      he liked the first two quite a bit. thought of it as a bit like a
      fantasy ocean's eleven, always a caper. in republic of thieves, you
      get to learn a lot about the bondsmagi, and also the girl he's always
      pining after ("sedona? sephora?" "sonora? sonoma? stimutac?"). thiso
      other girl turns out to be the falconer's mother. wtf? the falconer? i
      dunno, something about elections (this is the third volume of an
      obviously stupid epic, what do you want from me? -ed.) anyway, the
      bondsmagi try to control locke lamorra using his name, but BAM it
      turns out to be an assumed name rather than his true name and so
      etc. etc., but there's also some interesting details about lamorra's
      past. "it reveals a lot of things you've been wondering." well now
      that sounds like a real endorsement to me.

  3. chris: the way of kings. brandon sanderson.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      "ok, this is already on the list. but this time i finished it, and
      unlike last time, i didn't think it was that bad. ok. i can see why i
      got frustrated last time..." the first thing chris talks about is how
      sanderson signed a contract to write 10,000 pages. "it gets
      interesting basically immediately after i stopped last time." this is
      tightly contained for an epic, nowhere near as many characters as
      "that stack of books over there" (read: grrm. -ed.) sanderson is all
      about the magic systems, so he tells us a bit about that. storms that
      recharge spheres ("just think of them as magical batteries.") there's
      some serious doubt being fomented here about the economics of all this
      ("what about inflation? chips of crystal? what about currency
      debasement?") anyway. ok, we're getting down to it. the
      pedestrian. that's what attracted chris to this because it seems so
      absurd that he could really write this much. but he's into it! how!
      "he's not good at writing, but he's good at telling a story." he is
      clearly enjoying the second one.

  4. adam: the alloy of law. brandon sanderson.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      "this is exactly what chris said it is. it's basically mistborn gone
      steampunk." first sanderson he's read in a couple of years. a striking
      difference in writing style from abercrombie, who he read just prior
      to this. but once you get used to the workmanlike writing, he's a
      master of pacing. it's all plot. (suddenly we're hearing about
      sticking shit in your arm vs ingesting it, in relative terms of
      magical potency, "ferrochemical" magic, etc.) this is not a
      life-changing book, but you know. "it passes the time in a very
      enjoyable way." he sets up a system, he pushes a bunch of shit through
      the system he's set up, and, you know, the systems are good.

  5. jason: the wheel of time. robert jordan and brandon sanderson.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      "this is just a brief comment. i'm not going to go on and on about the
      wheel of time." seriously, yep. the whole thing. well, we talked about
      this for awhile. no notes. he liked it. no wasted moments.

  6. jason and chad: ice trilogy. vladimir sorokin.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      "so this meteor crashes in siberia..." bro. his name is sasha, maybe,
      but he has a bunch of names. all aspects of this seem open to
      interpretation, but in general one is attracted to the stasis imputed
      to astronomical observations and finds the overall dynamic mess of
      terrestrial existence oppressive and abominable. (understandably, but
      i guess this is about to be heavily problematized. -ed.) well anyway,
      the last book has "a number of things going on." i'm not really
      capturing this, obviously, but this sounds pretty great. the writing
      is supposed to be pretty stylistically excellent. checkhovian in the
      beginning but sliding into this more contemporary but still very
      affected style. questions about how much of this was transported
      through translation.

  7. matt: annihilation, authority, acceptance. jeff vandermeer.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      i talked here, so i didn't write.

  8. chris and jason: ancillary justice. ann leckie.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      won the hugo and the nebula. space zombies. maybe a little bit raw,
      but they both liked it and want us to read it. there's a galactic
      empire with these giant ships with vast intelligences, iain m banks
      style (and may he rest in peace).

  9. jeff: the prince of thorns. mark lawrence.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      ("just real quick.") it's about a little kid who fucks a bunch of
      people over. it's in the future in a post-apocalyptic earth where
      everybody lives in castles. somehow magic has come back into the
      world. liked, would recommend.

  10. chris b: george r r martin completionism.

    various short stories and novellas. some better than others.

  11. matt: a song of ice and fire, 1-5. george r r martin.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      see above.

  12. adam: the heroes, red country. joe abercrombie.

    1. verdict: +/+++
    2. review:

      the summer of abercrombie! reread the first law, skipped best served
      cold ("because it was so dark, so nihilistic, i just skipped that
      one."), and went on to heroes and red country. this time around, the
      pacing in the first law trilogy was less impeccable than he
      remembered, and the heroes is a far more consistent novel. yet somehow
      it was adam's least favorite of all the abercrombie. adam is SUPER
      into red country, and recapitulates every single point made in our
      prior review dated jan 2013. "it was awesome." "THE MAYOR IS

  13. adam: rogues. george r r martin and gardner dozois, eds.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      i admit, this one got away from me a bit. "my favorite one was the
      rothfuss, which was like a day in the life of bast." (your humble
      editor begs leave to doubt this in the strongest terms.)

  14. adam and chris b: saga, vol 3. brian k vaughan and fiona staples.

    1. verdict: +++
    2. review:

      raving and raving. everybody loves these 100%. adam is no
      exception. the execution here is incredible, as good as
      anything. "surprising. just perfect." (he really loves these.)

  15. that's all, folks!