The Hallowed Hunt – Lois McMaster Bujold

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge.

This story takes place in the same world as The Curse of Chalion, and Paladin of Souls, two books I adored.     While those books are about one family – the royal family of the kingdom of Chalion, this book is set in another country, which I’m not even sure was ever mentioned in the other two stories.   I’ll admit, I was a little leery, because I’d loved Chalion so much, and I wasn’t sure I’d like something different.

I need to remember that I trust this author.    She actually managed to add more depth to a world with an already amazing system of gods and magic.

The story begins with Lord Ingrey being summoned to investigate the death of Prince Boleso, the youngest son of the Hallowed King.      It becomes immediately apparent that the prince was killed in self defense, for he was clearly trying to take advantage of Lady Ijada, the lady in waiting of his sister, who had stopped by on her way to the capital city.

Sounds simple, right?    Of course there are complications upon complications, including that Ingrey shares his soul with a wolf, a forbidden practice that was forced upon him.   Because it was not his choice, he’s been able to come to an uneasy truce with the Temple about keeping it.    But now, not only was Prince Boleso trying to rape the Lady Ijada, but he was also trying to take the soul of a leopard, and it passed to her instead of him.     Why was he dabbling in such forbidden magic?

What this means to the people of the Weald, and the dying Hallowed King is a story that just kept twisting and turning, and kept me thoroughly on the edge of my seat.     This is great fantasy – the entire trilogy of worth seeking out.


Thomas the Rhymer – Ellen Kushner

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge.

Thomas the Rhymer is an old tale, based on a real man in medieval Scotland.      In the old ballads, Thomas meets the Queen of Elfland, and is taken away by her to her realm, where he lives for seven years.    After that, he returns to the mortal world, where he is given the gift of prophecy.

What I really liked about this retelling is that only the time in Elfland is told from Thomas’ point of view.   Before and after that time are told from the points of view of his adoptive parents, and the girl he loves, who later marries him.      It’s a neat little twist, and a good way to see how his time in Elfland has affected him.

It’s also a good historical retelling.   I mean, yes, he does go to Elfland for seven years, but the time in the real world on either side is vivid, and true.    I think it actually makes the journey into Elfland all the more interesting, because there is such a contrast.      It’s a lovely retelling.

Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge – 3/21/14 – 6/21/14

I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this reading challenge this year.    It’s become a sign of Spring for me, and with the general suckitude of winter this year, I’ll admit, I’m really looking forward to anything having to do with Spring.   (Seriously.    I have never done this much garden planning this early.)

Per usual, I’m going to do Quest the First, which is to read at least five books in the challenge categories ( fantasy, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology).    I’ve been stock piling books all winter in those categories.    I have a pile of 13 next to me on the Tote of Shame, which does not include the book I started yesterday.

I’m so happy it’s Spring!

Knitting Notes

So on the heels of the Flicker socks, I finished off the Risata yarn with a few more hexipuffs.    The nice thing about these ones is they’re different than my regular color palette, so should lend some nice contrast.

After that, I was a little bit of loose ends, because I was waiting for a Knitpicks order to come in.    I was commissioned to make another Evenstar shawl, for a coworker, by another coworker.    It’s been a stealth project, so when I brought in the yarn yesterday for final approval, I had to sneak over when the two coworkers weren’t together (and considering they’re in final testing on a large project, that’s some feat, let me tell you).    So I got a little cloak and dagger fun in, and I get to make another Evenstar, which I really enjoyed making for myself.

This one is in Knitpick’s Gloss Lace, in the Sterling colorway.

Fables – Bill Willingham et al

I can’t believe I managed to take a two year break from catching up on Fables.    And yes, I still have plenty more to catch up on, because there’s been more added since I last picked them up.

I really have to remember that they’re great filler books for when I want to hold off on starting something new for some reason (like the pending coming of Spring and the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge.)

In these books, the Fables have to mobilize against Mister Dark, and Rose Red finally gets over her mopey self (ok, she has reasons) and steps back up to leading things again.     I was also a bit surprised to see they gave up on the Farm, though I’m assuming that’ll only be short term.

I do really like Bellflower, aka Frau Tottenkinder’s way younger self – she’s pretty kick ass.    I think I really do just enjoy the different takes on all these characters.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Flicker Socks by Cookie A
Yarn: Knitpicks Risata in the Fairy Tale colorway
Needles: Size 1.5 DPNs

I’d gotten this pattern in a swap a while ago, and I’d also been holding onto this yarn for a while (quite a while – it’s discontinued), so they seemed a like a natural fit for a quick project.

This is probably a mid-level Cookie A project – pretty straightforward, but not super easy either.    There’s barely any twisted stitches, which I found rather amusing.

It is a bit of a shame this yarn is discontinued.    It has a touch of cotton in it, which makes it a little lighter wearing than full wool socks.   I have another pair I knit a couple of years ago, and I find I can wear those to work fair more often than my regular wool socks, because they’re not quite so warm.    (Well, in a normal winter at least.    I’ve been rocking the full wool socks frequently this year.)

The Unknown Ajax – Georgette Heyer

Read for the Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge.

This is the kind of Heyer book I really like.     It was laugh out loud funny in parts – probably pretty anachronistic for the time period, but so fun it didn’t matter.

Lord Darracott is a cranky old coot presiding over the families of his four sons.   (He had a couple daughters too, but once they were married off, he ceased to care about him, which tells you a lot about him.)     His second, formerly favorite son, Hugh, had the audacity of marry “a weaver’s daughter” (really a rich mill owner’s daughter, but oh the trades-tainted humanity!), so Lord Darracott disowned him.     So, when the oldest son, and his son are killed in a boating accident, it comes as a huge surprise to the rest of the family that Hugh (now long dead) in fact had a son, also named Hugh, and this Hugh is now the heir to the Darracott title.    (There’s no fortune – Lord Darrocott being a cheap and stubborn old coot).

So Hugo, as he’s known, is summoned to the family home to meet his remaining uncle, two aunts, and assorted cousins, including the sons of Uncle Matthew, who always assumed they were the heirs.    Hugo’s a big man, a Major in the army, but with a broad Yorkshire accent.    Half the family (the men) takes him for a buffoon, but his aunts and his cousin Anthea see a little more in Hugo then the men can see.

This is solid family drama – it’s all about the interactions in the Darracott family, and I enjoyed them all thoroughly.    Naturally, Hugo is able to save the day from an invented catastrophe, and everything ends happily ever after.

Knitting Notes

Flicker sock #1 is done!

I forget how much I like making socks.    There’s just something so enjoyable about turning a heel.      And they’re such a nice, discreet size.    Even if the pattern is a bit of a slog, it never seems like it’s going to keep going on forever.    (BTW, this pattern is not a slog, it’s a just big enough repeat and challenging enough to keep it interesting.)

The Invisible Ring – Anne Bishop

Jared is a pleasure slave, one who turned on his owner, and killed her.    So he’s now at the slave market, sure he’ll be sent to the Salt Mines, when what he at first thinks is an even worse fate finds him.

The Grey Lady, Queen of the neighboring land of Dena Nehele, has come to the slave market, and she buys Jared.   All that Jared knows is that no one that has ever gone to Dena Nehele has ever come out again.    But, things aren’t particularly going well in Jared’s own land, which is slowly coming under the influence of Dorothea SaDiablo, who will stop at nothing to gain power over all lands, including killing her most powerful enemy, the Grey Lady.

The Grey Lady is given enough warning of Dorothea’s attack that she and the slaves she’s bought are able to escape over the mountains.    The more that Jared travels with her and the others, the more he realizes that things are not what they seem.

This is a prequel of sorts to the Dark Jewels trilogy I read a few years back.    It’s a really interesting world and system of magic.    I happened across a few more books, used, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world.