Recent Reads from Susie

Hello readers,

The most beloved book I read this year was The Orphans of Raspay by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is the latest in her series about Penrick, set in the same world as her fantasy series Chlion. And I hope this paragraph sends you out to buy the two collections of Penick’s stories published by Baen Books, Penrick’s Progress and Penrick’s Travels! These are novellas, which has been the exact right size for 2020, when my ability to read long fiction has been compromised. Penrick starts the series as definitely over socialized and stopping to help what appears to be an old lady in distress. In Lois McMaster Bujold’s delightful imagination this leads to possession by a demon, kidnapping by jealous peers and lets us get to know Penrick better. He tries hard to be helpful and intelligent but seems to always end up doing something dangerous. It is delightful. The Orphans of Raspay is still only available from Subterranean Press unfortunately (collector editions only). But it not only is a absorbing tale, one sentence at the end had me in tears. I love Lois McMaster Bujold.

My large reread was Discovery of Witches.  I came late to this series, so I was able to read the books in order. I still needed a reread before the fourth book. There are so many interesting characters, so much information, I just lost track of some important characters. I am not sure about the TV series; it seems to be just too close to horror, which I can avoid when I am reading, but is emphasized in the show. I still love the books. Phoebe, the newest member of the vampire clan, always makes me laugh as she drags the family into 21st century art collecting and items that need to be on loan to museums. An idea that seems to never have occurred to people when it’s the portrait of grandad and only 250 years old.

Coming in February is a first book by Everina Maxwell: Winter’s Orbit.  It has some technical problems that seem to be common to first book efforts, but the book as a whole is really fun. The main character is the family failure prince, who is sent to every social event that requires a royal, but not really trusted to do much more than tie his own shoes. His grandmother announces he has to marry the widower of a cousin, who is a family member from a planet that is in crisis. Lots of intrigue, but also the story of a new marriage with all the baggage of personal and political failures. Great fun.

–Susie

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