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A Sudden Wild Magic (Diana Wynne Jones) 3+/5 - Well, DWJ. Therefore, I liked it. I liked this one less than average, though, and wow, the romance was even worse than usual -- and i don't have very high expectations for DWJ romances.

What I Saw and How I Lied (Blundell) - 3/5. Teen after WWII finds all is not as it seems. I have nothing to say about this book, either good or bad.

Hybrid (O'Grady) 3/5. It was like The Passage, only with better medical jargon, and less with the woo-woo vampire mysticism. But the physics was just as bad. Also, maybe it was the Kindle version, but the ending was really abrupt. I mean, not even in the "plotlines didn't get wound up" way, but in the "it feels like this was cut off in the middle of a chapter" way. I'm betting the kindle version is missing a couple of end pages.

The Passage (Cronin) - 3/5. Oh yeah, I read this too, I forgot. Like Hybrid, only with woo-woo vampire mysticism. I really have a very hard time with vampire Ponzi schemes. Has someone explained exponential growth to Cronin? A quick calculation assuming each vampire needs to eat two people/day and the chance is 0.05 that person will become a vampire yields less than 300 days until the entire US is vampires...

Hawk of May (Bradshaw) 3+/5. Arthurian. A book from my childhood, and better than I remember. The first half was quite wonderful, and the second half had some nice surprises but overall lowered the rating. (Okay, in particular, that whole interlude with Lugh was a little... weird.) Also it is nice when your entire plot does not hinge on something that is super obvious if you have ever read any Arthurian stuff ever. However, overall passes my Arthurian test of "Bradshaw knows more about Arthurian mythos and Irish history than I do," though this is admittedly easier to do now than it was ten years ago. I'll definitely be picking up the sequels.

Edited: D points out I CANNOT DO SIMPLE EXPONENTIAL CALCULATIONS, bah. I have changed the numbers accordingly.
cahn: (Default)
My fourth favorite Arthurian poem, after all-of-Charles-Williams, Preideu Annwn, and Winter Solstice, Camelot Station: )

"Nevertheless you, O Sir Gauwaine, lie,
Whatever may have happened through these years,
God knows I speak truth, saying that you lie."

ETA: "The Defense of Guinevere," William Morris. I really like Morris.
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[livejournal.com profile] julianyap was the one who had to bring Arthur into it...

A poem from my favorite Arthurian poet:

Hued from the livid everlasting stone
the queen's hewn eyelids bruised my bone;
my eyes splintered, as our father Adam's when the first
exorbitant flying nature round creation's flank burst.

Her hair was whirlwind about her face;
her face outstripped her hair; it rose from a place
where pre-Adamic sculpture on an ocean rock lay,
and the sculpture torn from its rock was swept away.

Her hand discharged catastrophe; I was thrown
before it; I saw the source of all stone,
the rigid tornado, the schism and first strife
of primeval rock with itself, Morgause Lot's wife.

ETA: The rest of Lamorak and Queen Morgause of Orkney, Charles Williams )
cahn: (Default)
The Ballad of Sir Dinadan is the latest in a series of Arthurian kid's books by Gerald Morris, a couple of which I'd read previously. These books are really charming. I'm a little in love with them not least because I routinely fall in love with a) any Arthurian book that knows more about Arthur than I do (though you think this is hard, yet it is not so: I've never actually read Malory all the way through), b) any Arthurian book that acknowledges how essentially idiotic the story of Tristam and Iseult is, and c) any book at all that demonstrates the author has actually read the Mabinogion. T.H. White, of course, scored extremely high on a) and b), and possibly well on c) (though he was certainly a little less interested in the Celtic aspect). Morris does very well, with top marks on c) -- in this book, Culhwch and Olwen make up a large subplot of the book, and the other Mabinogion romances feature heavily in some of his other books.

These books are really cute and a lot of fun, and made me laugh out loud at times. They aren't perfect books. They can occasionally be on the simplistic side (though although I had mourned the lack of mention of, e.g., the weirdly dignified Eagle of Gwernabwy in with all the over-the-top satire, it's true that the whole episode of Mabon is treated very differently, so maybe I'm being too critical), with some of the characters one-dimensional and the plot not always hanging together entirely coherently (honestly, kind of like his sources, so I can't really complain). Dinadan, in addition, has an interesting ending that may appeal to some but which I'm not sure I liked-- I'm not sure I like the triumph of experience over hope. But anyway, his books do retain that sense of wonder I still remember from my first forays into Arthurian myth, and if I knew a kid (or grown-up kid) who was just getting her toes wet with this stuff, I would absolutely give her these books as an excellent introduction to Arthur's court and to the treasures of the Mabinogion.

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