Rehashed dragons

Nerilka’s Story & The Coelura (The Dragon Books Book 8) by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Nerilkas’s Story (176 pages)

Nerilka is a minor character in the novel Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. This is her story, running parallel to the story told in the main book. Same as Moreta, I read this once in the late 80s or 90s and it was not a favourite. I recommend reading Nerilka after Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, as it really feels like a companion novel and will make a lot more sense like that.

Nerilka tells her story in the first person and at the beginning is at times a fairly unemotional omnipresent narrator, as McCaffrey moves over the main points of the know plot from Moreta‘s book quite quickly. Some dialogue is even taken verbatim from that book, seen from a different point of view and narrator. By Chapter 6, around a third into this novel (novelette?) we finally start to cover more new ground.

Fairly simple, mostly a re-hash, too unemotional. It was ok, but if you are reading this series you can safely give this a pass. You won‘t miss much.

Pern Re-read
I started a re-read of the series in 2020/2021 and plan to read all the available main novels that I have not read yet.
I am deleting, as I progress through the series, mostly in publication order. I am not too fussed about the order for the rereads, so I will diverge where it seems practical…

Publication Order — main novels / next
* 1989 – The Renegades of Pern
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons

The Coelura

This novelette is not related to the Dragonriders of Pern. No idea why it was combined with Nerilka‘s Story. I read the start, skimmed a little and read the ending. Not interested at the moment. Maybe I‘ll read it properly another time.

Moreta‘s Ride

Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (Pern, #7) by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the origin story of the ballad of Moreta‘s Ride, known from the books of the main timeline. An epidemic has hit Pern, the death toll is high. The search for a cure if frantic.

I think I have read this book maybe once, back in the late 80s or 90s. Back then I definitely didn‘t pick up on all those gay dragonriders or the family dynamics in the Weyrs. This was first published in 1983 and you can tell that McCaffrey evolved somewhat since the publication of the first book of this series in 1968, Dragonflight

I really enjoyed this. The story flowed nicely, the upbeat beginning at the Gather festival was a good contrast to the later devastation. I liked the relaxed and open attitude towards sex—I don‘t mean that there was a lo of it, but rather that it was portrayed in a very mature fashion, including the accompanying emotions. No eye-roll inducing soppyness and angst, as so often happens in specfic. There are some silly political shenanigans and some of the antagonists are a bit less well fleshed out than the main characters. The personal development of Moreta and Alessan throughout the epidemic was well done. Relationships between rider and dragon are maybe explored a bit more deeply. 

And knowing what was coming at the end did not help one little bit. I was ugly crying.

Pern Re-read
I am deleting, as I progress through my re-reads. For now in publication order. However, as the books are still surprisingly pricey and I need to buy them all again, I went with a collection of three novels that follow chronologically (On Dragonwings)… with the re-reads I am not too fussed about the order, so I will diverge where it seems practical…

Publication Order — main novels
* 1984 – Nerilka’s Story
* 1989 – The Renegades of Pern
* 1991 – All The Weyrs of Pern
* 1994 – The Dolphins of Pern
* 1998 – The Masterharper of Pern
* 2001 – The Skies of Pern
* 2003 – Dragon’s Kin
* 2005 – Dragonsblood
* 2006 – Dragon’s Fire
* 2007 – Dragon Harper
* 2008 – Dragonheart
* 2010 – Dragongirl
* 2011 – Dragon’s Time
* 2012 – Sky Dragons

Saga continues in small installments

Saga #57 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Illustrator), Fonografiks (Letterer)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A little backwards look down memory lane. 

And a precious parenting moment…

More Will and Lying cat, a little progress with Alana‘s newest job, family and what you do to keep it safe and happy. 

I could have done without the seven pages of fan letters and promotions for other comics. More Saga would have been nicer.

Top Ten Tuesday — Adjective In the Title

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week‘s topic / March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title

Tricky topic. Lets see what I can did up on my shelf. For variety‘s sake I‘ll start with the books I added to my shelves last and work backwards…

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings — my latest NetGalley addition: Two Ships. One Chance To Save The Future. Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space

The Art of Cursive Penmanship: A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults by Michael R. Sull — A practice guide to improve one‘s handwriting. We start with a discourse on the history and technicalities of handwriting. There is instructions on the correct sitting posture, how to place the paper, how to use your writing implement, on fountain pens and so on. Chapter 5 is the beginning of the practical part. That‘s roughly where I am right now. Haven‘t started with the exercises yet…

Ancestral Night (White Space, #1) by Elizabeth Bear — not quite sure why I added this one to my stack: A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

Dying Earths: Sixteen Stories from the Ends of Times by Sue Burke and others — sounds depressing, but I want to read Sue Burke‘s story: The writers and contributors to the little corner of the web called have brought together a collection of stories about a dying Earth. 

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes — this was a buddy read that I skipped. Everybody really liked it, so I got it after all: Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.

An Easy Job by Carrie Vaughn — short story, read it already… Carrie Vaughn is worth mentioning again.

The Black Coast (The God-King Chronicles, #1) by Mike Brooks — another buddy read that I skipped and my reading buddies all loved it: When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home . . .

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — I like the original fairytale and the cover is pretty, so I couldn‘t resist: Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control.

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds — two novelettes set in Revelation Space. And the blurb of one of them is something aquatic. I had to get it: In the seas of Turquoise live the Pattern Jugglers, the amorphous, aquatic organisms capable of preserving the memories of any human swimmer who joins their collective consciousness. Naqi Okpik devoted her life to studying these creatures—and paid a high price for swimming among them. 

Digital Divide (Rachel Peng, #1) by K.B. Spangler — not quite sure why I picked this one. Genre bender with cyborgs: Rachel Peng misses the Army. Her old life in Criminal Investigation Command hadn’t been easy, but she had enjoyed it. Now, as the first cyborg liaison to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, Rachel is usually either bored senseless or is fighting off harassment from her coworkers.

Yes, not 100% certain that those are all adjectives… *shrugs*

What interesting reads have you added to your shelves recently?

Sign-Up for Dewey‘s 24-hour readathon

Welcome, welcome one and all! The April 30, 2022 Readathon is coming up fast, and we would LOOOOVE for you to join us! Can’t read the whole day? No …

READER Sign-Ups for April 30, 2022 Readathon!

Yep, here it is again, on the 30th of April. Another Dewey‘s. I participate in these very sporadically. I don‘t usually get a lot of reading done. Once I am really tired, that‘s just it. I do like the mini challenges though. I signed up anyway…

A pretty grim visit to the Pelted Universe…

Even The Wingless (Princes’ Game #1) by M.C.A. Hogarth

The blurb reminded me just a little of Foreigner. That is where the similarities end. 

It is great fun to be back in the world of M.C.A. Hogarth, with more space elves, although this is a much, much darker and more violent part of her Pelted Universe. Very intense, very violent. Strangely compelling, despite the pretty horrific plot. And I feel weird and embarrassed for liking this so much—have a look at my content warning below—I pretty much inhaled the second half in one sitting.

Lisinthir, space elf and empath, is the new Alliance ambassador to an empire of two-legged dragons and a society of brutal and violent male dominance and slavery. His job is to gather intelligence and free potential slaves kidnapped from the Alliance. And to survive. To do that, he has to go down a pretty dark and violent path.

Content warning: slavery, physical violence, frequent rape, sexual abuse, torture. None of it is graphic, but it is one the page almost constantly.

Princes‘ Game Series:
The books of the Princes’ Game series tell the story of the Chatcaavan war and the part the Eldritch played in it.

This universe contains books that are quite different in tone. I started with Her Instruments and liked that series quite a lot.

The Pelted UniverseList by SeriesList by Internal Chronology

There is no I in team and not everything is as it seems

Ham Helsing #1: Vampire Hunter by Rich Moyer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ham Helsing comes from a long line of unsuccessful vampire hunters, killing themselves with crazy inventions. Apparently stupid runs in the family. Ham seems to be the odd one out…. Maybe? Anyway…

Written for young readers (8-12 years), this charmed me right away and made me laugh. It‘s all about not being bogged down by assumptions, being a good and sometimes selfless person, working as a team… There is humour, sarcasm, adventure, scary spiders, an evil chicken and other funny characters. It‘s a very simple story, but it is very well done.

Talking about team…

I might read issue #2 at some point…

Gallantly bowing out of this one…

Gallant by Victoria SchwabJulian Rhind-Tutt (Narrator)

Olivia lives at an orphanage. She doesn‘t speak, sees ghouls and is isolated from the other girls. One day there is a letter from an uncle, calling her home to his house, which is called Gallant. A haunted house, relatives with a mysterious past and a hostile cousin, a vaguely creepy and gothic atmosphere. No romance elements.

Very good audiobook narration, likable characters, some nice story elements, slow plot development. I emphasized with Olivia. I didn‘t find the story as such terribly suspenseful, although it is definitely well written. It was too straight forward for me and too predictable. I liked the story, but started to drift off around the middle—there was just not enough tension or interest for me to keep going.

I might have missed out on some of the charm of this book by not getting an illustrated print version. Maybe I will revisit that one of these days and actually finish the story properly.

Despite the DNF at 51% I am giving this three stars, because it was ok and well done, I just didn‘t feel it. 51% is a pretty relative figure as well—I snoozed through some later parts of this, which is on me, not the book…

Will I read further books by the author? Yes, it‘s likely, but I would aim for the adult/mature ones. I have to say though that Schwab is not high on my list. The other book I read by her also ended as a three-star read, although the world building was quite interesting.

Kudos to the audiobook narrator, actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, I will keep my eyes peeled for further offerings narrated by him.

Not harvesting my soul…

Jova’s Harvest #1 Comic Book by Steve Uy

Rating: 3 out of 5.

2nd time reading this, as it popped up again in my comiXology app after the shop merger with Amazon in February 2022 (thanks for doing a really bad job of that, Amazon!). During my first round I made it to page 34 of 44 before abandoning this.

Artwork: Interesting, almost natural looking textures. Main characters look like children. Is this maybe emulating Manga?

Story: Very stilted dialogue in a weird, Shakespeare-like style.

Probably not bad, if you‘re in the mood for it, but not doing it for me. DNF on page 16, around 30% into it.

Margaret Atwood, what were you thinking?

The Complete Angel Catbird by Margaret AtwoodJohnnie Christmas (Illustrator), Tamra Bonvillain (Illustrator)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

This starts like a typical superhero comic. Ordinary guy, something unusual happens and he turns into a superhero — in this case he shapeshifts. The process goes pretty quickly. Dude plus cat plus owl… it‘s a flying cat-bird!

More to Issue #1…

No deeper thoughts or elaboration, one cliché follows the next. Simplistic story telling. Feels like middle-grade/YA. No surprises, no tension, it sort of pointlessly ambles along. The bad guy is obvious, because ugly. Women traipse around half naked in their shapeshifted half-forms. The MC has a silly name. And why is there a vampire in this? Seriously, this comic is silly.

I expected interesting story telling from Margaret Atwood. This is as shallow as it can get, one-dimensional and formulaic. What was she thinking?

So much for Issue #1. Why on Earth is a story this shallow taking so many pages? It‘s not as if there is any character development or decent world building happening. Normally I would toss this, but as it‘s a buddy read, I will proceed to Issue #2… ★★☆☆☆

Onwards to Issue #2!

Oh good, the evil rat-guy tells us exactly what he wants to do to our heroes. Suspense, where art though? Ok, the rats doing charades with him, because they can‘t talk—that was pretty funny… other than that this issue was pretty much a waste of space. Seriously, the meagre plot could have been told in a third as many pages, because the artwork certainly didn‘t make up for the almost non-existent story. I skimmed through half of this. Boo-Hoo Mew Mew! ★☆☆☆☆

Issue #3! Sigh…

Yeah, no. I skimmed though half of this, then fast forwarded to the end. This is too daft to read. The artwork is getting sloppier as well, with less and less detail. Last words of the one-dimensional bad guy: “I will return!” Please don‘t, this was no fun. And 70 pages of additional artwork etc., you have got to be joking. This is an embarrassment for any self-respecting pulp fiction. ★☆☆☆☆

Internationally best-selling and respected novelist Margaret Atwood and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas collaborate for one of the most highly anticipated comic book and literary events!

From the blurb
(Source of gif)