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March 3rd, 2008

_Fire Study_, Maria Snyder

Regular readers may recall me complaining about the missing kindle version. I did hold off on complaining until the official release date (yesterday), and at that point, there it was. I downloaded that puppy for $9.99 and read it and was very pleased.

In this outing, Our Much Abused Heroine gets a note from her Story Weaver Moon Man asking her to come. She goes. Illusion, deceit, ambush, traps and several betrayals later, Yelena drops in to help rescue her Dad. There are a number of predictable elements (her brother doesn't trust her, Marrok sells them out 'cause he's a deluded idiot, First Magician keeps being "irrationally" ridiculous until we find out it's not irrational or ridiculous, she's just being evil). There are some interesting developments (a little more development of the Commander, a little bit more about Just What Has Been Happening to pubescent magicians in Ixia, finally, an explanation for Valek's anti-magic).

I was wondering how on earth Yelena (or anyone or any group of people) had a chance of defeating blood magic enhanced First Magician, but figured it probably wasn't going to be raw power, given how things had gone with Guyan and the predecessors of the Sandseeds. And indeed, it was not. Nice little elegant wrap up, complete with explaining the source of the magic power. It would be interesting to know the source of new souls (reincarnation?) -- from the power net to which they will return? Or elsewhere? Or both? If this is a closed system, the more people there are alive at once, the less magic there is to go 'round, until at some point, there would be none left (sort of like that creepy substance-of-we-feeling from Doris Lessing's books). But if new souls come from elsewhere, the net should (in theory) get stronger over time.

It's not easy to know where Snyder could go with this series next. Yelena has not necessarily maxed out on power, but she's passed her master's test. OTOH, there's a lot of room for development of the relationship between Ixia and Sitia, and her position as Liaison is perfect for working on that storyline.

_The Outlaw Demon Wails_, Kim Harrison

This cannot be an easy series to drop into the middle of.

In this outing, Our Demon Marked Heroine is grieving for her lost vampire boyfriend Kisten, and working towards a blood balance with her roommate Ivy (who is bi, and who has Issues) while worrying about the short lifespan of pixy partner Jenks and his wife Matalina (are you keeping up yet? I haven't even mentioned the two thousand year old ex-familiar elf Ceri who has been knocked up, or the revelation about the real identity of her housemate Keasley). Things get off to a strong start in the days leading up to Halloween. Rachel's mum is helping her shop for a Halloween costume when Al crashes the shop (literally), followed by Minias and another demon doing a little enforcement. Apparently, Al's being summoned out of jail (please say it's not Nick! I'm tired of hearing about Nick!) and allowed to run around loose until daybreak and Al's really, really, really unhappy about Rachel.

You can sort of see where the action is going to come from there, right? But wait, there's more! The helpful scuba-diving witch from the previous book gets a job in town and is showing a strong interest in Rachel, altho precisely what for is a bit murky. Rynn Cormel is the new Master of Cincinnati. And Trent needs something from the Ever-After, altho it takes a while to find out precisely what or why.

Lots of stuff tied up: the true nature of Rachel's dad (and her other dad, just to clue you in to some of the issues there), the father of Ceri's baby, what Rachel's dad and Trent's dad were doing that killed them, and why they felt a need to take that kind of risk, the nature of the Ever-After (according to Jenks). Really. A lot of the dad stuff going on here. Rachel's mom, meanwhile, turns out to be not nearly as ditzy as Rachel has been implying (well, or at least the ditziness is a whole lot more justified than Rachel realized, and is much more resolvable). Rachel gets less impulsive (yay!) and quits doing stuff just because someone threatened her and told her she didn't have a choice. Net improvement in judgment? Tough call.

Oh, and we find out Where Witches Come From. I think we might be well on our way to rehabilitating demons in the next book or so, and I could easily foresee fixing the separation between Our World and the Ever-After. Maybe.

If you're interested in Yet Another Elves and Vamps and so forth have been secretly living among us and recently revealed themselves in a post-apocalyptic world series, you might find this one entertaining. I'd recommend starting at the beginning, and be prepared for a very rough and ready heroine who does some truly stupid shit.

more title authority problems

I was looking at my recommendations at Amazon, and both #2 and #14 under New Releases were _Grimspace_. One was the paperback and the other was the kindle. _Iron Kissed_ is #3 and #20, ditto.

Hmmmm.

I guess what I'd like to know now is, has anyone else seen this who _does not_ own a kindle/is _not_ buying kindle edition? When I look at the explanatory box, I see that the kindle stuff is referencing other kindle editions and the regular stuff is referencing non-kindle stuff.

Either way, I think the implication has to be that Amazon is moving some kindle.

shoe blog

New addictive activity:

http://www.shoeblog.com/

For human behavior at its wackiest, updated more than once a day, with pictures.

How did I happen to get hooked on this, you might ask? Well, R. has developed this persistent fascination with fashion, and so he's way up on the latest and greatest Fashion Craziness. Lately, he was telling how the It bag had transformed into the It Shoe. I pressed him for some details, then did a little googling of my own.

Have fun, y'all.

men who bake cookies for their dogs

You've probably heard about Charlotte Allen's screen in the Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022902992_pf.html

Everyone is having at it.

I just have one thing to add. I grew up next door to a world-class athlete (would have been in the Korean olympics, except he broke his back rather thoroughly practicing something that everyone else thoroughly understood to be impossible). I ran across him at Amazon years later, and discovered that he was also running a business called Axel Snacks (spelling suspect -- his dog was named Axel, but I don't recall how he spelled it), in which he bagged dog biscuits for his dog and for sale to other dog owners at a park with an off-leash area.

So, yes, at least one man baked for his dog. Enough to turn it into a business.

As a side comment, this article is a perfect example of women-can-be-sexist.