Thistlefoot – GennaRose Nethercott

Isaac and Bellatine Yaga haven’t seen each other in years, after Isaac left the family to go off on his own.     They’re called together when they receive an inheritance – one they have to go pick up at a warehouse.   It’s a house with chicken legs, and if you’ve noticed the last name, you know that these two are decedents of Baba Yaga, and her house has come to them.

This was a hard book for me to get into – it jumps back and forth in time quite a bit.     What it ultimately becomes is a story of deep trauma, and how that trauma lasts through generations.     At the end, when that is finally explored, I thought the book was at its best.


Knitting Notes

Project: Paper Crown Hat by Amy van de Laar
Yarn: Swans Island Ikat Collection Watercolors in the Indigo/Teal colorway
Needles: Size 2 DPNs

This is a cute little pattern – very easy to do.   I will definitely keep this one around for stash busting.

The Wizard’s Butler – Nathan Lowell

This is a nice, cozy book about a young man who gets hired to be the butler for a man who turns out to be a wizard.

There are two interweaving subplots about a cursed amulet, and a scheming niece who’s trying to get the wizard sent to a retirement home so she can turn his estate into condos, but at its core, the story is really about Mulligan finding something new for his life when he’d been struggling to find a place to fit into. I finished this in two nights – it was a delightful interlude against heavier reading.

Holy Sister – Mark Lawrence

I try not to read too much about books ahead of time, because I really hate being swayed by other people’s opinions. I accidently found out that this is many people’s least favorite book in this trilogy, so I was definitely a little nervous going into it. I can definitely see where people would have issues – this story jumps around in time in a way the prior two books did not, and that makes it tonally very different. That said, I did enjoy it.

We always knew the end of the series – the first book begins with the convent under attack, and two of the girls we shortly meet as novices are defending it as full nuns. So the question has always been, how did they get there? And I’m very happy with how that happens – Nona and her friends grow into some amazing, kick ass women.

Knitting Notes

Sun Moon Socks

Pattern: Sun Moon Socks by Andrea Rangel
Yarn: Sundara High Twist Fingering in the Gilded Moonlight colorway
Needles: Size 1.5 and 2 DPNs

I adore this yarn – it is just the prettiest blue. Definitely showcased well with this pattern.

The pattern’s great – very well written. It would be a good introduction to colorwork if you haven’t done that before. Heck, it’s clear enough it would probably be a good intro to sock knitting in general.

Dance of a Burning Sea – E. J. Mellow

I enjoyed this book – it’s the second in a series following the lives of three sisters. They’re both the daughter of a baron in the capital city, but also the Mousai, enforcers for the Thief King, who also happens to be their father.

This is Niya’s story, and we get a taste of it in the previous book, where there is a run in with a pirate, who Niya clearly hates. We get the full story of that here – of course it turns out Alos isn’t nearly as bad as he seems, and has good reasons for some of the terrible things he’s done. And Niya really needs to do some growing up – it’s entirely her fault that she ends up bound to Alos’ ship for the next year.

So we get some interesting exploration of the outer reaches of this world, and some good character development for Niya and Alos. The final book in series is out this week, and I’m interested enough to see what happens next that I actually preordered it.

The Last Graduate – Naomi Novik

I am so loving this series. Which is making my resolution to wait until the paperback of the third book comes out very hard to stick to. If I didn’t have a ton of other stuff to read, I’m sure I would have run out and bought the hardcover already.

El’s a senior now, and after the first semester, the rest of the year is devoted to practicing their escape run through the Scholomance’s graduation hall. The first book sets up the Scholomance pretty well – you know why the wizard kids are stuck in what might seem like a hellhole. This book brings things one step further. It’s pretty clear that no one is going to be able to escape without El and Orion’s help, and it’s also pretty clear that the school itself is pushing them towards something.

The motivations of the school are not so surprising in hindsight, but what the seniors decide to do with that knowledge is amazing. And the ending! Gah! Like I said, it’s going to be hard to wait for the paperback.

Knitting Notes

I love this yarn! It’s just the prettiest variable blue.

These are the Sun and Moon Socks, by Andrea Rangel. Moon theme, of course (if you know me). I actually bought this pattern before I had firm plans to make it, which I almost never do. And then, like two weeks later, Sundara did a daily dream called Gilded Midnight that’s a full size of the blue yarn, and a mini of the yellow. I have never ordered yarn so fast in my life.

I’m cheating a bit making the moon yellow, but I like the contrast way better. But, since it’s night, I’m carrying through with the yellow toe. I’m going to be close using up this yarn, but it’ll be worth it.

The Bright Ages – Matthew Gabriele & David M. Perry

This is an interesting overview of the history of Medieval Europe, with the idea that we need to stop referring to it as the Dark Ages. The authors’ main point is that popular history tends to treat the medieval period as a fall from the glory that was the Roman Empire, but it’s better to think of it as an evolution – nothing really ended.

It’s funny – I didn’t notice this until I was reading a few other reviews of the book, but there are no foot notes included. So this is a book aimed for the general reader. I do think it’s a good overview – they cover much of European history, as well as the Islamic influences that you really can’t ignore when talking about this period. My one lone quibble – they really beat you over the head with the phrase “The Bright Ages”. I mean, yes, you’re trying to make a point, but I think you covered it pretty well when you set up the Introduction.

Powers – Ursula K. Le Guin

Leave it to Le Guin to write a young adult book that’s a really moving story of slavery and freedom.

This book is the story of Gavir, a slave in one of the households in the city of Etra, part of a confederation of cities that constantly seem to be at war with each other, always shifting alliances. In many ways, Gavir is very lucky – his sister is with him, and he’s being educated by the current teacher (also a slave) to educate both the children of the house, and the other slaves. It seems like a happy life, where slavery is almost an afterthought.

Of course, it’s not an afterthought. Life goes on, and childhood idylls end. After an unspeakable tragedy, Gavir ends up going on a journey, and finds himself, and a new view of the world, along the way.

I actually find it hard to say more about this book – half of the experience is being in the story, and seeing Gavir grow as he encounters new places, ideas, or people. It’s an amazing book, which considering the author, should come as no surprise.