Posts Tagged ‘anne robillard’

This week has been a quiet week in terms of reading.  It’s been the start of the new TV season which might have had in impact…  (on that topic, I’m watching Forever and Gotham as new shows.)  I finished Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling’s) second mystery novel, The Silkworm and you can expect my full review next week.  Sneak preview: I liked it.

I’m also continuing with the audiobook of Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.  It’s not grabbing me in the way that The Silkworm did, but it is very intriguing and I am enjoying it.  Also being listened to is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  I’m just at the wedding night scene.  Yum.  Especially when you add Mr. Sam Heughan into the equation…

For once, I didn’t add any books to my library this week!  Incredible, I know.  I will make up for it next month, trust me…  I have been waiting for the next book in Anne Robillard’s A.N.G.E. series, Tribulare, to hit Kobo.  The hard copies have been out for a while, but this series is only now being released in electronic format.  I see it’s available on prologuenumerique.ca and archambault.ca, and even amazon.ca but I have the rest of the series in Kobo format so I’d like to be consistent.

Upcoming releases in October

Oh boy.  October is a whopper of a month for book releases.  There are no fewer than eight books being released next month which I am anxiously anticipating.

My most eagerly awaited release of October – on October 7th to be specific – is the finale to Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, The Blood of Olympus.  Do I really need to introduce this series?  Riordan was kind enough not to leave too much of a cliffhanger at the end of House of Hades, instead choosing to clear the stage for this final confrontation with Gaea.  There is a definite prospect that at least two of our heroes may die, but even so I am really looking forward to hearing how this ends.  I have this on both Kindle and Audible preorders.

Also on the 7th we have the release of Unraveled, the third and final book in Gennifer Albin’s Crewel World series.  This is a YA fantasy/dystopian series with an interesting magic system and politicking. I didn’t enjoy book two as much as book one in which the world building was excellent, but I am still interested enough to want to read the end of Adelice’s story.  I have this on Kindle preorder.

In a change of scene on the 7th we have the release of A Midwinter’s Tail by Sofie Kelly, the next in her series of cute cat mysteries. I am a sucker for these and this is a good series.  I have A Midwinter’s Tail on Kindle preorder.

The fourth and final book I’m anticipating on the seventh is Silverblind by Tina Connelly.  This is the third book in her Ironskin series, the first one being an excellent adaptation of Jane Eyre with fae.  The world building in this series is wonderful.  I skipped on book two, Copperhead, because it was from the point of view of a character in Ironskin whom I really didn’t like.  Book three focusses on a different character, one whom I found more interesting.  I am waiting on Silverblind to become available for preorder on Audible.  Ironskin was narrated by Rosalyn Landor and I found her narration excellent.

On October 27th we have the release of In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken, the final book in The Darkest Minds YA dystopian trilogy, another excellent one.  I particularly like the characters in this one and I can’t wait to read how their story ends.  I have preordered this on Kindle, but may add the Audible audiobook later.

Also on later in the month on the 28th we have The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss.  Now, it’s been over three years since The Wise Man’s Fear, and sadly this isn’t a continuation of Kvothe’s story but rather a companion novel telling more of the story of Auri.  Sure, I’ll check it out.  I had only ordered it in Kindle format, but I see that Rothfuss himself is narrating the audiobook which sounds kind of cool, so I’ve ordered that one as well.

The first in a new series by Julie Kagawa, Talon, is released on October 28th.  I really enjoyed her writing and narrative in The Iron Fey series and this new series sounds intriguing – dragons masquerading in human form as modern teens.  I will check it out on Kindle format.

Whew, almost there!  The final book in which I am interested in October is Emma, a Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith.  This is the third in the Austen project, modern retellings of Jane Austen classics.  I’ll admit that from the snippet I read I wasn’t all that impressed.  In all fairness, McCall Smith is going to have a hard job living up to the excellence of other such modern retellings of Emma such as the YouTube series Emma Approved and Clueless.  I am happy to take a look though, and it will be downloaded to my Kindle on October 28th.

There you go!  Those are the books in which I am most interested in October.  Did any catch your eye?

Codex Angelicus by the Quebecoise author Anne Robillard is the fifth entry in her A.N.G.E. series.  This contains 10 books of which five are currently available in ebook format.  For those of you unfamiliar with this series, A.N.G.E. stands for Agence Nationale de Gestion de l’Étrange (National Agency for the Management of the Bizarre) and refers to the top secret agency which investigates paranormal phenomena.  We are introduced to the Agency in book 1 through new recruit Cindy Bloom.  Cindy is only one of the many fascinating characters in the series.  Sadly it is only available in French right now.  I have read books 1-5 and here are my thoughts on the series up til now.

What I liked

Steady plot developments and twists. Throughout the series Robillard has built up the plot.  We start off with Cindy being assigned to the False Prophets department under the tutelage of Oceane Chevalier – False Prophets is referred to as the new agents’ kindergarten as it’s normally a very safe and boring field where nothing much happens.  Of course, what they learn there drives the whole plot for the rest of the series.  Each subsequent book picks up on what has gone before and adds to it with new little twists.  

Wonderful characters.  As you will see from Robillard’s previous work The Knights of Emerald, writing strong, relatable characters is one of Robillard’s strengths as a writer.  This is equally true in A.N.G.E.  The reader becomes invested in Cindy, Oceane, Cedric, Yannick and Vincent.

Pacing.  One of my complaints about The Knights of Emerald was the slower pacing – at times Robillard seemed to lose the thread of where she was going.  That cannot be said about A.N.G.E.  The story keeps moving along at a good clip each volume building on the previous.  I really look forward to seeing where she Robillard goes with it.

What I didn’t like

Les relatable situations.  One of the things I loved most about Knights was that these fantastical characters were placed in very human situations.  While readers may not have fought supernatural beetles they can still relate to a character who, for example, has to deal with the fact that the woman he loves is in love with his best friend.  This relatability is not so apparent in A.N.G.E.  The situations faced by our characters are less something that a reader can relate to in his/her own life.  

All in all I love Robillard’s writing and would recommend it.  I gave Codex Angelicus four stars out of five.

s buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes

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My review of Irianeth

After the frantic reading of BookTubeAThon 2013 I don’t have many books to discuss for this week’s reading roundup.

The first book I read was Switched at Birth by “Kathryn Kennish”.  The quotes are around the author’s name as this book was written in the universe of ABC Family’s drama Switched at Birth about two families who discover their daughters were involved in a hospital mixup.  This show has been my recent guilty pleasure when not reading.  Other than the character drama the merging of two families causes, I’ve found it a fascinating insight into the world of the deaf – one of the young women concerned is deaf.  Many of the scenes involve, or are wholly in, American Sign Language.  The writing and acting on the show are of excellent quality, so perhaps my expectations of the novelisation were too high.  I found the novel uninteresting and lacking the depth that comes across in the show.  It was written from the point of view of the hearing mother and barely touched on one of the most interesting aspects of the book, her learning about the deaf language and culture.  I would suggest you skip the book and watch the show, but if you insist, you can pick Switched at Birth up on Kindle or Kobo.  Season 1 of the show is available on iTunes.

Another book I read this week was Anne Robillard’s Représailles, the tenth book in her Chevaliers d’Éméraude series.  This is clearly the point in the story where everything turns to custard for the Chevaliers and their allies.  Their enemies are multiplying, their key players are being targeted, the body count is increasing and their king is too wrapped up in his grief and desire for vengeance to think and act rationally.  Characterisation is one of Robillard’s strong points, and in this book I found the characters of Onyx and Hadrian fascinating.  Yes, Onyx is on a real revenge kick, especially after the tragic events of this book.   You can both empathise with him and want to kick him up the backside at the same time.  Hadrian’s real fear and frustration at being unable to control his dearest friend’s emotionally driven actions comes across clearly in this book.  The question is explicitly raised for the first time; would  an emotionally unstable king such as Onyx on the throne be any better for Enkdiev than if the evil lord wins?  Représailles is available on Kindle, Kobo and iTunes

I confess to being torn about reading book 11, La Justice Céleste, the penultimate volume.  On the one hand, I really want to see how the story ends.  On the other, I hear that Robillard pulls a George R R Martin on a favourite character in this book, and I fear it will be very painful to read.  Robillard’s characters are so well written, and I’ve spent 10 books with him so I’m dreading saying goodbye.  Ironically, I wrote a blog post in which I compared Robillard to Martin.  I just wish she didn’t share his tendency to kill off beloved characters!  Although I know the character dies, I’m not sure of the circumstances.  As this is Robillard and not Martin, I’m at least hopeful that he will get a heroic sendoff and not just fall off his horse and break his neck. Additionally, the final book, Irianeth, isn’t yet available on Kobo so I won’t be able to finish the series.

In a recent blog update I mentioned that I found Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns a little too grimdark for my personal taste.  I came across an interesting review of the later books in the series which convinced me it might be worth bearing with the series.  It sounds as if there is some excellent character development for which I’m a sucker.  I will of course keep you posted on my thoughts.

Added to my library this week:

King of Thorns – both Kindle and Audible formats Whispersync
Switched at Birth: The True Story of a Mother’s Journey – Kindle
Midnight in Austenland – Kindle and Audlble formatsWhispersync
Requiem (Delirium) – Kindle and Audible formatsWhispersync
Pandemonium Enhanced Ebook (Delirium) – Kindle and Audible formatsWhispersync
The Kinshield Legacy (The Kinshield Saga) – Kindle format
The Romanov Conspiracy: A Thriller – Kindle format

First of all, apologies for the delay in posting. It's been a busy few weeks on both a personal and work level, so I have not been able to post much. Anyway, here I am!

Some of the books I've read recently have led to some natural comparisons. Two of these are Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. These both have in common a theme of magic and mystery being hidden within books, a love of reading, and also a setting which couldn't be anywhere other than in the present day, within the last few years. There were references to the dot.com crash and Google and the Twilight series. Personally, that second point is something which irritated me. I feel it limits the books' durability.

While Libriomancer was more of a traditional good vs evil fantasy, Penumbra is more of a mystery in which the protagonist attempts to resolve an ages old mystery hidden within books. I found it a fresh and entertaining concept. I had a few issues with the magic system in Libriomancer. Brandon Sanderson, considered one of the better contemporary developers of magic systems, wrote a couple of essays on what he terms Sanderson's First Law in which he states that "An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic." and Sanderson's Second Law in which he states that "Limitations should be greater than the Power." In Libriomancer the magician can reach into books and literally pull out any magic artifacts mentioned there. The only limitations are that the item must be small enough to be drawn out of a book and that certain artefacts (Harry Potter's Elder Wand and Sauron's One Ring, for example) have been magically sealed away. I felt that this led to the ending's being rather a deus ex machina. Having said that, this was balanced by the fun I had picking out all the fantasy references. I still can't quite believe he went for "Sanguinarius Meyerii." (if you want to know, read the book!)

Two other books I read that lean themselves to comparison are The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer and The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. Both of these are young adult fantasy, and both of these adhere to many major fantasy tropes. Note: don't click on that link unless you have several hours to spare… Despite this, both books have engaging characters and interesting, if predictable, storylines. What lifted Land of Stories above other similar books was Colfer's witty and intelligent writing style. Many times I found myself giggling at a particularly pithy turn of phrase. In comparison Emerald Atlas seems almost join-the-dots dull. That's not to say I didn't actually enjoy it. I enjoyed it enough to read the sequel, The Fire Chronicle, and feel the writing has improved considerably.

The final comparison I'd like to explore is not between two books, but of two authors who are sometimes compared; The Quebecoise Anne Robillard is sometimes described as the Quebecois Tolkien, and indeed in her bio on her website she acknowledges Tolkien's influence on her writing. Mme Robillard has become one of my favourite authors, and I had the pleasure recently of meeting her at the Montreal Salon du Livre at which .

My personal opinion is that she would be better described as the Quebecois George R.R. Martin (who was described by Time as the American Tolkien!) I believe this is a better comparison because it matches more closely the relative strengths and weaknesses of the authors concerned. Like many fantasy readers, I adore Tolkien and agree with popular opinion that he is the father of modern fantasy. His world building is second to none, however his character development, particularly that of female characters, is rather weak. Both Martin and Robillard have given us wonderful, memorable, three dimensional characters (Wellan, Kira, Tyrion, Arya).

They also favour character development over plot development. There are 12 tomes in Robillard's Chevaliers d'Emeraude (I'm on book nine), and currently five in A Song of Ice and Fire with at least another two to come, and plot development is slow compared to say Brandon Sanderson or Brent Weeks. This is balanced by wonderful character development and the fascination of seeing how they characters react to a situation in book five as compared to how they would have reacted in book one. For these reasons I consider Robillard more like Martin than Tolkien.

Let me know if you have any comments or any books you would like me to review.

It always seems to happen this way. I’d placed holds on three library e-books and all three became available within a few days of each other!

On my reading list I now have:

Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort by J.K. Rowling. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in French). For some reason it really amuses me to see how the Potter-specific terms were translated into French; “Muggle” becomes “Moldu”, “Squib” becomes “Cracmol” and “Crumple-Horned Snorkack” becomes “Ronflak Cornu.” However, Quidditch remains Quidditch.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. I think this was a recommendation I picked up from GoodReads. I don’t know much about it, other than that it’s a well written memoir by a Pulitzer prize winning author but it seemed an interesting read. It was free to borrow from the library, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Rapture by Kate Lauren. This is the fourth and final part of Lauren’s Young Adult fantasy series about angels and demons. It’s not the best series in the world, and probably not one I’ll invest in to buy, but again, I don’t mind borrowing it from the library to see how it ends.

Other than library books I have several other books I’m planning to read:

Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson. Tor/McMillan has been kind enough to agree to send me a review copy of this book, which I’m expecting in the mail shortly. This sounds an interesting premise, so I’m grateful to the publisher for giving me the chance to review it for you all.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I picked this up from a Twitter recommendation by one of my favourite YA authors, Rick Riordan. I’ve not finished it yet because my library holds became available. To be honest, although the idea behind the story seems interesting (a world without women, where everyone can hear your thoughts!) it’s not grabbed me as much as I thought it would. That being said, I suspect that is more due to personal taste rather than any defect in the book itself.

No Place on Earth by Christa Wolf. I have just placed my order with Chapters for this book. I’m planning to read it as the first book in my attempt on The Guardian’s Most Difficult Books challenge. Although this is not on the list, this is my own personal Everest; having fought tooth and nail with the darned thing at university I’m determined to read it again.

Le Journal d’Onyx: Chevaliers d’Emeraude Book 6 by Anne Robillard. This is the continuation of Mme Robillard’s epic fantasy saga and the only reason I’ve not read this already is because I’m savouring the pleasure of waiting. I’m also impatiently waiting for Wellan Inc to release the second book in Robillard’s contemporary fantasy series A.N.G.E. in e-book format; I adored the first one, and Robillard has easily become one of my favourite authors. Expect a full blog post on her work at some point.

La Croix de Lucifer Book I by Dany Desjean. While travelling on the métro this morning I came across a poster advertising this new series which seemed to be in a similar vein to Robillard’s A.N.G.E. series so I think I’ll check it out while waiting.

Speaking of Quebecois literature, I found an excellent site to purchase ebooks: http://www.ruedeslibraires.com. It seems to be really fast on the ball when it comes to new releases. I’ve found Robillard’s books there weeks before Archambault or any other site. I’m certainly glad I held onto my Kobo as well as my Kindle, as Amazon really doesn’t do French language books well in Canada, and the Kobo allows me to read the books from the library and these other resources.

Next month I have two pre-orders which will download to my Kindle. The first is The Blinding Knife, the second book in Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series. I enjoyed the first one and he left it on a real cliffhanger, so I’m keen to see where it goes. The second pre-order is for the new adult novel by J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy. I’m keen to know if Rowling’s light, easy style and storytelling ability will translate to adult literature. Mind you, I think I’ve seen more adults than children reading Harry Potter!

I have eight days off work just now, so we’ll see how far I get through this list. Sigh I could get through it so much more quickly if life (and my Wicked obsession) didn’t get in the way…

It always seems to happen this way. I’d placed holds on three library e-books and all three became available within a few days of each other!

On my reading list I now have:

Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort by J.K. Rowling. (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in French). For some reason it really amuses me to see how the Potter-specific terms were translated into French; “Muggle” becomes “Moldu”, “Squib” becomes “Cracmol” and “Crumple-Horned Snorkack” becomes “Ronflak Cornu.” However, Quidditch remains Quidditch.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. I think this was a recommendation I picked up from GoodReads. I don’t know much about it, other than that it’s a well written memoir by a Pulitzer prize winning author but it seemed an interesting read. It was free to borrow from the library, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Rapture by Kate Lauren. This is the fourth and final part of Lauren’s Young Adult fantasy series about angels and demons. It’s not the best series in the world, and probably not one I’ll invest in to buy, but again, I don’t mind borrowing it from the library to see how it ends.

Other than library books I have several other books I’m planning to read:

Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson. Tor/McMillan has been kind enough to agree to send me a review copy of this book, which I’m expecting in the mail shortly. This sounds an interesting premise, so I’m grateful to the publisher for giving me the chance to review it for you all.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I picked this up from a Twitter recommendation by one of my favourite YA authors, Rick Riordan. I’ve not finished it yet because my library holds became available. To be honest, although the idea behind the story seems interesting (a world without women, where everyone can hear your thoughts!) it’s not grabbed me as much as I thought it would. That being said, I suspect that is more due to personal taste rather than any defect in the book itself.

No Place on Earth by Christa Wolf. I have just placed my order with Chapters for this book. I’m planning to read it as the first book in my attempt on The Guardian’s Most Difficult Books challenge. Although this is not on the list, this is my own personal Everest; having fought tooth and nail with the darned thing at university I’m determined to read it again.

Le Journal d’Onyx: Chevaliers d’Emeraude Book 6 by Anne Robillard. This is the continuation of Mme Robillard’s epic fantasy saga and the only reason I’ve not read this already is because I’m savouring the pleasure of waiting. I’m also impatiently waiting for Wellan Inc to release the second book in Robillard’s contemporary fantasy series A.N.G.E. in e-book format; I adored the first one, and Robillard has easily become one of my favourite authors. Expect a full blog post on her work at some point.

La Croix de Lucifer Book I by Dany Desjean. While travelling on the métro this morning I came across a poster advertising this new series which seemed to be in a similar vein to Robillard’s A.N.G.E. series so I think I’ll check it out while waiting.

Speaking of Quebecois literature, I found an excellent site to purchase ebooks: http://www.ruedeslibraires.com. It seems to be really fast on the ball when it comes to new releases. I’ve found Robillard’s books there weeks before Archambault or any other site. I’m certainly glad I held onto my Kobo as well as my Kindle, as Amazon really doesn’t do French language books well in Canada, and the Kobo allows me to read the books from the library and these other resources.

Next month I have two pre-orders which will download to my Kindle. The first is The Blinding Knife, the second book in Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series. I enjoyed the first one and he left it on a real cliffhanger, so I’m keen to see where it goes. The second pre-order is for the new adult novel by J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy. I’m keen to know if Rowling’s light, easy style and storytelling ability will translate to adult literature. Mind you, I think I’ve seen more adults than children reading Harry Potter!

I have eight days off work just now, so we’ll see how far I get through this list. Sigh I could get through it so much more quickly if life (and my Wicked obsession) didn’t get in the way…