September 24th, 2007

recent reading: Dawn Cook, Terry Pratchett, Jayne Castle

Three Dawn Cook novels: _Decoy Princess_ and _Princess at Sea_ and _First Truth_. I'm currently reading _Hidden Truth_.

Cook is a recent YA fantasy author. Unlike Tamora Pierce, you are not reading coded history. And very unlike Pierce, Cook's women are chicks: they care about their clothes, shoes and hair. A lot. Alissa (from the Truth books) is sort of crafty-chick -- sews, cooks, makes bowls out of stone, knows about plants, etc. Tess from the Princess books is hot-rich-and-powerful chick: trained to rule and amazing self-defense skills.

Cook beats the crap out of her characters. Parents don't last long. Rema is, presumably, still alive, just off-stage, but just about everyone else's parents are dead. It's actually kind of amazing. And everyone's an only child, thinks they are an only child, or all their siblings are dead. Again, kind of amazing. Major characters are maimed (Tess has a trick leg; Strell loses part of a finger; etc.). All of the Players in the Princess books are unable to reproduce. The adoption and abuse themes are basically ever-present.

The books are romance driven but, as is often the case in YA, the heroine goes from one relationship to another. And sometimes another. Frustratingly unconsummated, but still.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about reading Dawn Cook is, after three novels and partway into the fourth, I still can't tell you if I even _like_ these books. Kinda like Simon Green's Nightside novels that way. And in no other way. Altho, now that I think about it, same with the dead parents, no siblings, etc. Hmmmm. I've loaned a couple of these out already.

Terry Pratchett's _Making Money_ transfers Moist von Lipwig from the Post Office to the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork and associated Mint. Having created a de facto currency in stamps, he now gets to create paper money. Commentary on money, fraud and other shenanigans ensue. Vastly entertaining, _especially_ about the gold suit. Already loaned out.

I was of two minds about whether to even mention this one: _Silver Master_ by Jayne Castle (Jayne Ann Krentz). One of Jayne's futuristic romances, the world-building on Harmony is cheap-and-dirty: lost colony, lost tech, regained tech, now has society very much like present day but with different tech, different plants, etc. The psi stuff is whatever. The two levels of marriage (permanent vs. term) was moderately interesting in the first Harmony novel but has reached whatever status at this point. The dust bunnies were moderately amusing. If this is the kind of thing you like, Castle/Krentz reliably delivers what she reliably delivers: a few laughs, a developing relationship, some secondary characters. I keep buying 'em so you can imagine how I feel about all this.