BOOK & BLOG
November 6, 2007
Book of the Week: EMPIRE OF IVORY by Naomi Novik and DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning
I treated myself to a voluntary book this week as I traveled, one that had been on my TBR pile for weeks. I read EMPIRE OF IVORY, the latest installment in Naomi Novik’s wonderful Temeraire series. I can’t say enough good things about these books. Not only does the dialogue have a genuine Napoleonic-era sound and cadence to it, the dragons are wonderful vastly different from each other in size, ability, and talent, they are only subjugated by humans by means of the fact that they are “impressed” by the first person they see as they hatch. The feral dragons in the tale are the minor mobsters of the dragon world. EMPIRE ends on a dreadful cliffhanger.
Here’s a warning; though these are books about dragons and their master humans, they are adult books in many ways. There’s certainly no explicit sex, but there is plenty of death. After all, these are books that take place in a time of war, and both dragons and people perish with sad regularity.
I read another book again by accident. I thought I’d packed the second Karen Marie Moning “Mac” book, about the very young woman whose sister is murdered in Edinburgh in an especially horrific way. MacKayla goes to Scotland to find out what happened, over the emphatic protests of her parents, and she discovers more than she ever imagined. At the end of DARKFEVER, Mac is paired with the enigmatic and very dangerous Jericho Barrons in her attempt to quell a fae invasion of Earth. I thought I’d packed BLOODFEVER, the second Moning book about Mac, but it was DARKFEVER instead. I actually enjoyed re-reading it. Now I’m ready to order the second book, and this time I’ll read it before it can get submerged in the TBR pile, which has grown all year as I’ve had to read required books.
I’m back from World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, New York. I’m relatively new to the science fiction convention circuit, but I’m learning. World Fantasy is regarded as an industry convention, with a very high percentage of writers, as opposed to fans. I had a great time. The programming was centered on ghosts, and that was fun. There were lots of interesting restaurants within easy walking distance, since the convention center is located right in downtown Saratoga Springs, and there was lots of fall color and Victorian architecture to look at.
I was delighted to see a lot of acquaintances there: E.E. (Eric) Knight, who was completely gracious even though I addressed him as “Ted,” Sarah Monette, James Alan Gardner, Sharon Shinn, Jackie Kessler, and Maria Lima and Jeanne Stein (long-time friends). Booksellers Larry and Sally Smith had set up their stall in the dealers’ room, and I was rooming with my friend and collaborator Toni L.P. Kelner. I sat next to MaryElizabeth Hart and her husband Jeff Marriotte at the awards banquet. Jeff is a famous writer in his own right, and they own Mysterious Galaxy, a wonderful bookstore in San Diego where I’ve often signed. It was a lot of fun.
Just to drop some more names, I got to meet Lois McMaster Bujold, Anne Bishop, Esther Friesner, Joe Haldeman, and Christopher Golden, who contributed such an eerie and wonderful story to MANY BLOODY RETURNS. I know I’ve left some people out, but when I recall them, I’ll put them into a future blog. I don’t get too many opportunities like this, and I want to make the most of it!
In the way of business, Toni and I had breakfast with our agent’s associate, and we had a lovely dinner with Ginjer Buchanan, my editor at Ace. I was treated to a meal by my British agent, John Parker, too. And I squeezed in a talk with my U.K. Editor, Jo Fletcher.
Whew. Does it sound like I got to any panels at all? Well, mighty few. My own two, and Toni’s, and perhaps one more. I got to make a few passes through the dealer’s room and the art show, and I had a decent showing at the book signing, where I was seated next to Margo Lanagan and Guy Gavriel Kay, who was the toastmaster this year. He did a great job, too.
So, back to the salt mines for me. I’ve got a novella to finish before Christmas, and only one more event to attend, an “Honor the Authors” night in Hot Springs, where the proceeds will go to a worthy cause. That’ll be it for the public year!
© 2009 Charlaine Harris