Death in the East – by Abir Mukherjee (Review)

Wyndham & Banerjee Investigations #4

Mystery, Historical Fiction

Pegasus Books; November 14, 2019

414 pages (hardcover)

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8 / 10 ✪

Where there are witches, should we not hunt them?

Please beware spoilers for the Wyndham and Banerjee Investigations Books #1-3.

Review of A Rising Man
Review of A Necessary Evil
Review of Smoke and Ashes

London, 1905

As a young constable, Sam Wyndham walks the streets of the Jewish quarter, his assigned beat, only to come across an assault. Two men assailing one woman. Only after chasing the men from the scene does Wyndham recognize her—Bessie Drummond, a former flame, brutally beaten and left for dead. He hails a cab and rushes her to the hospital, where Bessie recovers.

But only days later, Bessie is attacked again, this time in her own rooms. And this time, she is not so lucky.

The resultant investigation goes far deeper than Wyndham could possibly imagine, and will test his desire to see it through to the end.

India, 1922

Death in the East finds Sam Wyndham departing Calcutta, hopping a train bound for the jungle interior of Assam, seeking out an ashram in the hopes of curing him of his long-standing opium addiction. The monastery takes all; natives and Europeans, young and old, rich and poor. But there’s a catch. The monks of this ashram seek to cure men of their addiction, but should any relapse, they are turned away. In short: there are no repeat customers.

The Harvill Secker cover of Death in the East

The trial is hell, that much is certain, but it’s a worthy price in escaping addiction. Only amidst the throes of withdrawal and hallucination, Wyndham sees a ghost from long before. A man he assumed dead, one he thought he’d never see again, and hoped he wouldn’t. But when Wyndham recovers from the episode, there is no sign of the man. He pushes it to the recesses of his mind, trying to tell himself it was all a dream. But doubt gnaws at him.

The doubt reasserts itself when another addict from the ashram turns up dead, one that looks very much like Wyndham. Now Sam must pursue this spectre in the hopes of preventing another murder—and to finally put his own ghosts to rest.

“I have noticed,” said Surrender-not as we walked back up the hill towards the club, “that wherever you go, people tend to die.”
“That’s nonsense.”
“What about that railway sub-inspector out near Bandel last year? You ask him for a railway timetable and twenty minutes later he’s dead.”
“He was hit by a train,” I said. “I don’t see how that was my fault.”
“I didn’t say it was your fault. Just that people seem to die around you. Remember my paternal grandmother? She died two days after she met you.”
“She was eighty-nine years old.”
“You have to admit, it’s curious. I’m thinking I should introduce you to my uncle Pankaj. I’ve never liked him.”

And so we come to the novel that every detective/mystery author must write: that with a pair of interconnected mysteries, happening at different time periods. I swear, there are so many of these there should really be an easier way of defining them. Pastbacks? Dual timeline mysteries? Overlapping post-time cases? I dunno—I’m really hoping that someone will just tell me what they’re called. Although I kinda liked “pastbacks”.

Anyway, despite the cliché that these types of mysteries have become, we enter Death in the East, the fourth Wyndham and Banerjee, and the second outside the city of Kolkata. While Wyndham enters the story alone, don’t fret—Banerjee will join him before its end. After the crowded, chaotic beauty that is Calcutta, the countryside ashram is a whole new setting entirely. And unlike A Necessary Evil, England still rules this corner of India; the local natives cowed, despite whatever sway Gandhi has elsewhere.

It’s a new setting, one that the author brings to life just as effectively as the choked and diverse streets of Colonial India. Out here the Europeans have taken to the countryside, only to find it wanting. Instead of adapting, they’ve carved out their own little England, while duly complaining about how it’s not the same. It’s quite a different backdrop to the tale, though one equally as enthralling as any that preceded it.

The mystery itself—of course—takes place in two parts. One set in 1905 London, the other in 1922 India. The two alternate chapters for a time, though each begins to repeat as we come to both the meat of their respective tales. I found that this worked quite well, and was relieved to see that the book didn’t just stick to the alternating style the whole way through, as some novels do. In general, I’m not a fan of the dual timeline kinda mystery. Again, I find it overdone and cliché, but Death in the East was at least told and constructed well—not getting into any of the nitty gritty details of what went on. Both mysteries were entertaining, and when they came together, the resulting conclusion was well done.

The book has a good sense of humor, while still maintaining the atmosphere of a good murder mystery. The series continues to poke fun at all things England while underlining some of the positives of the Empire, and its many underlying failures with racism, bigotry, and colonialism. My favorite such point was made somewhere in the middle and complains that what “godforsaken place” would see the sun rise in the middle of the night—poking fun at the fact that for quite a while, the entire Empire was managed by one timezone. That’s India, Fiji, the Bahamas, and England—all on Greenwich time.

TL;DR

Honestly, the main complaint I have with Death in the East is the whole dual timeline mystery thing—they’re overdone and overused to the point that everyone and their sitcom has to have at least one. Otherwise, it was a good entry to the series, one that sees Wyndham address his long-running opium problem, while still managing to get some work done. Banerjee joins him, of course, but we are left with out some fantastic running characters from Calcutta, and provided with a few throwaways that probably won’t feature in any additional tales. The mystery—BOTH mysteries—were solid, interesting, entertaining, deep. Even though there aren’t any compelling new additions to the series (character-wise), those replacements we do get are unique and interesting enough to see us through this entry. Plus, it’s good to get out of the city once in a while and stretch your legs, right? Go to an ashram in the jungle to puke your guts out and take in a lovely murder. It’s almost as though you never really left.

Titanshade – by Dan Stout (Review)

The Carter Archives #1

Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Detective

DAW; March 12, 2019

416 pages (ebook)
12hr 50m (audiobook)

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8 / 10 ✪

Welcome to Titanshade, an oil boomtown grown up, struggling to find its identity in a new era, lest it collapse in on itself, just another footnote on the path of history. Cater is Titanshade’s native son, a local become homicide cop, one who knows his way around the sleazy, corrupt underside of the city that makes up his beat. But the city is so much more than that, as he is soon to learn.

Looming over the sleazy, corrupt underside exist the sleazy, corrupt businessmen and politicians that run it all. Men, women, creatures Carter has known of his whole life, but were always far too high profile for him to concern himself with.

Enter the Squib—a squat, amphibian being—a political delegate involved in funding a project aimed to save the city from itself, providing alternative energy to the dwindling oil business. While such a high-profile case would normally have been above Carter’s station, it’s all-hands on deck, as the more than just the city turns its gaze to the murder. Because in addition to being a high-profile political target, the fact that the delegate was a Squib could have dire consequences to inter-species relations. See, when a Squib bleeds, it releases a highly odorous pheromone along with its cinnamon-scented blood—the combination more than enough to drive many a human mad with lust. Many such Squibs have been killed before, but none in so gruesome a fashion or so bright a spotlight.

To make matters worse, the police already have a suspect: Carter’s adopted daughter Talena, who was in the wrong place at the very wrong time. And with such a high-profile murder already filling the news, tensions between the races of Titanshade at their highest point—the pressure is on to tie everything up as quickly as possible.

And so Carter has only a short amount of time to prove Talena’s innocence, find the true killer, and do it all before the city tears itself apart. Throw in a rookie Mollenkampi (named Ajax) assigned to keep an eye on the wildcard Carter; a second Mollenkampi, Angus, who’s essentially Carter’s nemesis while still managing to be a good cop in his own right; gritty commissioner Bryyh, Carter’s boss; and the feeling even before the mystery starts, that he’s already missing something vital.

Even if he manages to pull everything together in the nick of time, Carter may still alienate everyone and everything important to him, and end up eating his gun in the process. It’s just that kind of day in Titanshade.

I’d heard good things, yet Titanshade still managed to exceed my expectations. Instead of the underwhelming mashup between a high urban fantasy and a detective/mystery, I got a thought out mystery/detective urban fantasy not unlike the Dresden Files, but one set in its own fantasy world—one with its own rules and fantastical beings and creatures and magicks. Now, this is quite an Earth-like world, but still there are key and unique differences. The different races of beings are one; Mollenkampi alongside Squibs (which are called something different that I can’t remember right now) alongside Humans alongside still others, all packed together into the same society.

Honestly, I expected this to go together a bit like the SyFy show Defiance: a unique and interesting idea, but one where all the classes of humanoids basically blend into one when you get right down to it. Instead, the author has them written and designed his creations well—with their own diets and characteristics and languages and ideals. So much so that I’ll say it again: I’m surprised that this went together so well.

The story itself is a gritty detective one, full of morally ambiguous characters and two-faced diplomats, politicians, cops, witnesses, and more. And Carter is just the gritty, hard-nosed detective to handle it. For a guy that most people seem to hate (and everyone seems to be annoyed by), Carter makes a pretty good lead. I was pretty much in his corner from the outset—though if I’d hated him too (being the sole POV), I’d’ve probably quit reading. Twists and turns affect everyone in the plot differently and this is where Carter’s interactions with his new partner, Ajax, take center stage. Carter is a hard-nose detective who’s set in his ways and doesn’t play by the rules. Ajax is a bit fresh faced, but not enough to put up with his partner’s bullshit. He bends at times, stands firm at others, but never really breaks one way or the other. This pairing actually works quite well—and makes the story.

I’d like to see where the story goes next (and if the 2nd installment is just as solid), and will hopefully get to it later in the year. While I listened to Titanshade as an audiobook—and while Books #2 & 3 are out in print—it is thus far the only book in the series that’s been professionally narrated. Not that that’s an issue. I just decided to take a wee break before switching from audio to print. I’d definitely recommend this in either format, really, but I really enjoyed the audiobook. Mikael Naramore does an excellent job bringing both Carter and the world around him to life—complete with its gritty feel and moral ambiguity. If you were after more of him, you’re in luck! I hear Book #2, Titan’s Day, is due to be recorded and/or released sometime soon; just COVID went and delayed its production. Whether or not you enjoy this via audio, print, or digitally, I’d certainly recommend its reading. Especially if you’re a fan of urban fantasy or mystery, or even gritty cop dramas.

Islanders (2019) – Indie Lagoon

Islanders

Grizzly Games2019

10 hours / 54% Achievement Progress

TwitterPublisher WebsiteSteam

City Builder • Strategy • Indie • Chill • Exploration • Atmospheric

$4.99

Grizzly Games is a Berlin-based, indie publisher. They have two games to their name thus far, Superflight (released in 2017)—an open world, casual flight sim—and Islanders, a city-builder released two years later.

At the time I’m writing this, Islanders commands a 95% positive rating on Steam, and I can see why. This minimalist city-builder may not be on par with grand strategy games like Civilization, Humankind or Crusader Kings, but its unique, point-based construction system and chill, island hopping gameplay make it a must for casual fans of the genre.

Islanders is an indie city-builder that does things a little differently. Instead of resources and technology and population, everything revolves around points. When you begin a new game, Islanders will ask you to choose between one of two starter packs—usually either Farming or Lumber. These two packs will either revolve around Farming or Lumber, amazingly. But unlike something like Civ, they won’t be used to collect resources used to build and unlock additional buildings. See, you only get a set number of buildings. Thus you must strategically place these buildings in order to maximize the number of points you receive. For example, a Lumberjack has a base point total of zero, but receives an additional one point for every tree, four points for each statue and five points for every sawmill in its radius. However, it also loses six points for every additional Lumberjack nearby. So let’s say you put it near 20 trees and one sawmill, thereby earning 25 points. These points are added to your total.

For each milestone in points you reach, you’ll unlock another pack, containing more unique buildings—and even some that you might’ve seen before. While you’ll get Lumber, Farming, Brewing, Seaweed, and City packs early on, later your choices will diversify somewhat. The thing is that no matter how many points you earn, your next milestone will only unlock the choice of a maximum of two packs. It’s a gamble (especially early on) that you’ll be able to earn enough points through placing these buildings to unlock another. If you fail to earn enough points, it’s game over, and Islanders will restart. You won’t lose much (at least at first), but later on there’s more to play for and expect things to get much more strategic.

My first game ended in five minutes.

I placed the sawmill and lumberjack away from one another and not near enough trees and immediately saw the game over screen. Pressed continue and I was right back to another small, picturesque isle in an infinite sea.

My second game lasted about about an hour.

The thing is that while it looks quite simple, Islanders also holds a challenge, a complexity that actually does require some strategy to navigate. You can make one move at a time, place one building at a time—and make certain you’re happy with it. You’ll have the opportunity to undo your move immediately upon making or until you place another building. After that it’s permanent. You cannot erase or replace any buildings further that one turn back. So you better make sure you love its placement, or else that house is staying on that tiny isle for good.

On the lefthand side of the screen, you have your point total. It tracks your overall progress, as well as your progress towards your next milestone pack unlock. On the righthand side, there’s your progress toward the next island. Once this bar is filled, you have unlocked a new island that you can journey to whenever you wish. You could stay a while and continue building on your existing isle, or abandon it straightaway for the new one. Just know that once you leave for a new island, there’s no coming back.

It’s important to note that should you stay for a while and at some point fail to earn enough points towards the next milestone, your game won’t end. You’ll just have no choice but to continue on to the next island. So the game won’t end, but your time on any given island will eventually run out.

I reached this point in my third game.

I spent an hour or so pushing through the first four islands, but immediately fell in love with Island #5. It was a larger isle, full of plateaus and beaches and boulders and forests. There were overgrown ruins of a bridge that I found scenic and mysterious. And it was predominately green. A lush, lovely green. I love green.

After maybe 30-45 minutes, I’d unlocked the next island. But I was reluctant to leave #5.

In the end I built 5 cities on this fifth island. Additionally, I constructed four farming complexes, several mines and quarries, and a random assortment of huts, gardens, and other amusements. That topmost (and tallest) plateau (or tepui, if you will), I left mostly untouched, only tucking a few lumberjacks in. I tried and retried buildings, careful to conserve space, maintain the tranquil aesthetic, and maximize my points.

I spent nearly 5 hours on this island.

It was genuinely upsetting when I realized that I was backed into a corner and couldn’t earn enough points to complete the next milestone. I took screenshots of all my cities, all my favorite bits of the island and—placing my final garden—I was forced to move on to Island #6. I was crushed. I was disappointed. I was surprised. How could a chill, relaxing game that I picked up to do a bit have affected me so much? It was an interesting moment. I wasn’t sure whether to feel vindicated in my purchase or disappointed in my strategy that I’d apparently failed at.

Then I got my first look at Island #6.

And—OOOoooOOOoooo…

I haven’t yet started #6, so right now it’s just a mass of potential. It is visually as appealing as any of the other islands, as well as the largest region yet (I wonder if they’ll continue to grow the farther you go in the game?) (Also, I hope they’ll be archipelagos to build across at some point). The music is still as chill as ever. I really wanted to dive in.

But I need to unwind after Island #5. And I’ve been playing it for much of the last five hours (while also watching Taskmaster on Youtube). Also, it’s 5am. I should prooobably go to sleep first.

TL;DR

Islanders is a relaxing, beautiful game. But there’s also some strategy to it—far more than I expected. The soft, semi-pixelated graphics have a definite appeal. The soothing, tranquil music doesn’t stress you out and encourages you to take the game at your own pace. Combined with gorgeous colors and a lovely aesthetic, it’s a pretty and chill game, even if you lose right away. Even when you lose later on down the line it’s hard to get too upset, because your next island is just a click away.

You won’t fight any battles. It’s your island to colonize alone, as you will, with no opponent to compete for space. There’s no technology to worry about, nor resources, no population. You unlock buildings with points, and can’t always predict how your choices will influence what unlocks later.

There’s no saving, which is somewhat disappointing, but I can understand why it’s been left out. Your current game is preserved should you leave it in progress, and your new one won’t be too far from the one before to require a save mechanic. That’s not to say there’s no replayability, however, as the ever-changing, procedurally generated islands ensure that each game will be new and interesting, if not vastly different.

Since Islanders is a more casual, less intensive city-builder, it’s not going to replace something on the scale of Civ or Humankind. Nor will it prove a strategy game on par with Crusader Kings or Hearts of Iron. There’re no epic battles, wars; no race to explore, advance; no one to conquer or dominate; no population to control, manage, appease, or keep alive. But it’s still good fun, and I’d certainly recommend it.

Since it’s not a massive game, it won’t tax your computer. It runs on my old Mac just fine, and the thing is 10 years old. I think the install size was 100 mb or something. But if you’re concerned about that, I think Islanders also just released for console too.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed Islanders far more than I’d’ve ever expected. Completely worth the fiver in my opinion—but then I got it on sale for $2.50. Definitely worth that.

Top Ten of 2019

This is actually my 4th or 5th attempt at a Year’s Best list. A few were too long (one had 25 books) others were too short (5 books), some too restrictive and others too broad. I was going to do a 2019 Only list, but I ended up scrapping that last. While most of my favorites for the year were released THIS year, this year I probably read more newly released books than ever before. And while only 3 of my Top 10 come from before this year, they include 2 of my Top 3. So I cut it to 10. I could probably throw in a few honorable mentions, but then I’d invariably get carried and we’d be here all day. So it’s 10. Just 10. There’ll be links to both the Goodreads page and my reviews for each book, in case you’d like to check out either. Otherwise, I hope you’ll enjoy the list and maybe comment. While I liked most of 2019, the end was just painful. Horribly, terribly painful. I hope that whomever and wherever you are, your year was much better, and ended more gracefully. Can’t wait for 2020! But first, here’s to 2019:

10. Beneath the Twisted Trees – by Bradley P. Beaulieu (2019)

GoodreadsReview

To begin the list, Beneath the Twisted Trees is Book #4 of the Song of the Shattered Sands. Out in 2019, it was a fantastic ride filled will vivid storytelling and epic world-building. Continuing the story of Çeda on her journey to destroy the Kings of Sharakai, I cannot recommend this series enough. Bradley Beaulieu’s attention to detail has always been on-point, but The Shattered Sands impressive still.

9. The Imaginary Corpse – by Tyler Hayes (2019)

GoodreadsReview

Again thanks to Angry Robot for this ARC! I’d never even heard of Tyler Hayes at all until I got this book—but the Imaginary Corpse absolutely blew me away. An imaginative and fun world filled with adorable and cuddly characters, including one of my favorites of all time: Tippy. Combining the dark noir of the classic gumshoe with the cuteness and fun of something out of the Great Mouse Detective, I’d recommend this story for pretty much everyone, easily one of my favs for the year!

8. Age of Legend – by Michael J. Sullivan (2019)

GoodreadsReview

I hated the ending to Age of War soooo much, I threw the damned book at the wall. I loved the Age of Legend so much, I had to keep myself from starting the Age of Death right upon finishing it. A darker beginning gives way to an epic adventure—a Michael J. Sullivan specialty. My main issue with this book comes with its own warning: there’s a cliffhanger (another Sullivan specialty), so you’ll likely want to read the next one right away. Which, if you didn’t back the Kickstarter, might be an issue. So maybe wait until February to read them. Or prepare to suffer the consequences.

7. Blackwing – by Ed McDonald (2017)

GoodreadsReview

Blackwing was originally published in 2017, but served as my intro to the Ed McDonald, and the Raven’s Mark trilogy, which concluded in 2019. It actually took me three tries to get past page 30, but once I did, I was captivated. A thrilling adventure in a new world—Blackwing definitely puts the… ‘A’ in adventure? Something like that. Whatever. If you haven’t read it, it’s really cool.

6. Soulkeeper – by David Dalglish (2019)

GoodreadsReview

I loved Dalglish’s Shadowdance series—and while Skyborn underwhelmed me—Soulkeeper won me back. If I’d needed winning back, I guess. A new fantasy adventure, with a classic fantasy appeal, this book nailed the characters, the world-building and the nostalgia for me. The only thing I took issue with was the dialogue, but it wasn’t a detail that ruined the story. Didn’t even leave a bad aftertaste. Can’t wait for Ravencaller in 2020!

5. Walking to Aldebaran – by Adrian Tchaikovsky (2019)

GoodreadsReview

I’m usually hit-or-miss on novellas and short-stories. Anything that half-asses a proper length adventure. For Adrian Tchaikovsky, however—I’ll make an exception. A light but surprisingly deep read, Aldebaran follows smartass astronaut Gary Rendell as he explores an alien artefact at the edge of our solar system. I loved the adventure and wit, the exploration of the unknown, the tone Tchaikovsky uses to describe the world, even didn’t mind the shortness of the tale—really my only issue was the price.

4. Fallen – by Benedict Jacka (2019)

GoodreadsReview

The tenth Alex Verus book is my favorite thus far. We’ve hit a pretty good stride with that, as so were Books 7, 8 and 9 upon their releases. Fallen is the best of the bunch, though. As Alex’s adventure nears its completion, the story is getting deliciously dark (though not Grimdark), enough to convince Verus that a dozen books is enough. I assume, at least. Ten books down, and Alex must become something else, something MORE, in order to move forward. I love the direction this series has gone and can’t wait to see where it goes next!

3. The Fall of Dragons – by Miles Cameron (2017)

Goodreads • Review

The final book in the Traitor Son Cycle leads off my Top 3. The Red Knight has gone through trials and travails; found and lost and found love once more; crossed untold lands, worlds, filled with mysterious and terrifying beasts; fought battles, wars and emerged bloodied, but unbeaten. And yet the enemy remains. Fall of Dragons is the epic—and immensely satisfying—conclusion. If you haven’t read it—or any of the other Traitor Son books… well, they’re just amazing. It’s an epic, incredible, awe inspiring adventure. Sometimes the detail and language can be a bit dense, but by Book 5 I was more than used to it. I’m not a fan of endings; I know that all good stories must end, but sometimes I wish the adventure would just continue forever and ever. Fall of Dragons ends well. It isn’t necessarily happy—but it’s such an ending! A must read.

Note: I apparently haven’t review this yet, since I read it before this whole blog thing took hold. Hopefully I’ll get to that soon.

2. Crowfall – by Ed McDonald (2019)

GoodreadsReview

Where Blackwing (#7, pay attention) began the Raven’s Mark trilogy, Crowfall ends it. Though I didn’t love Ravencry, both Books 1 & 3 effectively blew my mind—more than enough for them to make this list. But where Blackwing suffered from the uncertainty that begins a new series, Crowfall shows that McDonald knew where he was going with it. Or maybe he got, really, really lucky. All the pieces of Galharrow’s adventure came together in this book, and the resulting story was amazing. There’s little more that I can say except: Read this. I loved it, and I hope you will too.

1. The Ember Blade – by Chris Wooding (2018)

GoodreadsReview

In a year where most of my favorite reads were new releases, my top choice harkens from the year prior. The Ember Blade is an epic tale, 800+ pages of classic fantasy adventure. A new world to explore, new characters to know and love, new details, new subplots, new love, new loss. Book 1 of the Darkwater Legacy was a coming-of-age epic that had it all—fantastic creatures, villains, heroes, love, purpose and adventure, so much adventure! While I wasn’t completely sold from the start, about a quarter way through my time with this tome, I was way past stopping. While it may seem like a classic coming-of-age tale, The Ember Blade mixes new with old, light fantasy with dark, to come up with something amazing and special—something that I hope you’ll love just as much as I did.

Books I couldn’t finish in 2019

I DNF a fair amount of books, whether I’m not in the right mood, or not sleeping well, or they don’t speak to me. Or maybe they just suck. In 2019 I started and failed to finish 21 books, though I’d read 1 of them before. Of these, 9 were by authors I’d previously read, and 2 were by Yoon Ha Lee. I hope to give 9 of them another shot, but for sure will get back to 4 of them. In addition to 10 books that began new series, I failed to get through one Book #2, two #3’s, and one #4.

Here are a few notable ones:

1. Ghosts of Gotham – by Craig Schaefer

What began as a thriller with supernatural elements took a hard turn into fantasy and it was so abrupt that I… lost it. The story. Or the plot. Or the… whatever. I tried to continue, but everything was completely different. It was like beginning a totally new story at the halfway mark. It was really weird. DNF on page 213

2. The Dark Blood – by A.J. Smith

After I was fairly critical of the Black Guard, A.J. Smith reached out to me saying he was sorry I didn’t like it, but hoped I’d be willing to give his world another go in the future. The world-building was actually really good in book #1—not my problem with it at all, so I acquiesced. Book #2 was actually a lot more enjoyable. Until I got to the end of the first part and just kind of drifted away from it. Eventually it got shelved, and I’m not really sure why. Hopefully I’ll get back to it soon, but we’ll see. DNF at page 111

3. An Easy Death – by Charlaine Harris

After trying to force my way through this for 1.5 months, I finally admitted it wasn’t working. Thing is, I can’t for the life of me tell you why. It’s only a 300 page book, after all. I’m really gutted by this because I’ve heard such great things about it! I just couldn’t get into it. Recently I’ve had issues with losing focus on books, so I’m hoping to revisit it later. Maybe I’m feeling a bit burned out this year. DNF on page 132

4. The Quantum Thief – by Hannu Rajaniemi

I’ve always wanted to read the Jean le Flambeur series, but that’s not likely to happen anymore. Truth is, I found The Quantum Thief boring, unfocused and disjointed. After the first tenth I couldn’t’ve even told you what was happening, or what HAD happened. DNF at 11%

5. The Buried Giant – by Kazuo Ishiguro

I got this as a library book and was intrigued by some much of it. The description, the cover, the first chapter…. then we got to the actual story. I think. It was… dry, to say the least. Very little happened. I lost interest and eventually the loan expired. Doubt I’ll ever get back to it. DNF at 14%

6. Nation – by Terry Pratchett

I love Terry Pratchett’s work! From Discworld to the Carpet People, Dodger and more, I love his humor, wit, adventurous writing and creativity. Ergo, Nation was quite the surprise. I wasn’t in love with the beginning, nor the middle, but I powered through because… well, because it was by Terry Pratchett! I was certain that the story would get better, and I’d start having fun. Except I never did. DNF at 74%

7. Magebane – by Stephen Aryan

This is another one I’ll give multiple more attempts. I’ve loved everything Aryan’s offered thus far and the end of his second trilogy should’ve been a no-brainer. But after my third attempt to get past page 50 failed… I shelved it. For now. DNF at page 43

8. Brief Cases – by Jim Butcher

I’m in Dresden Files withdrawal. That must be it. That’s the only reason I can think of to have a Dresden-themed, Jim Butcher book on this list. The only solving it has got to be a full-length new adventure. The short stories are good, interesting and all but… they’re just not doing it. Plus, I’d read the Bigfoot ones before. DNF at 28%