This was as compulsively readable as always. And it went SOME way toward fixing the implausible mess the author got into with one character last time.
The Bookman's Tale, by Charlie Lovett
A bit too pat, a bit too mannered, but wonderfullly, properly Romantic in at least 3 or 4 senses of the word.
A Wizard Alone, by Diane Duane
This was... odd. Duane is as wonderful a writer as ever; the main characters are as fun and three-dimensional as ever; the story is as full of emotional and symbolic power as ever. And yet: her characterization of the autistic added protagonist of this one... was weird. It's clear that she meant to be inclusive and respectful. Because of that, I don't think she MEANT to imply that inside every autistic person is a trapped neurotypical person waiting to be freed (or free themselves?), but it kind of felt that way, in fact I'm having trouble seeing any other interpretation of the story, and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. There's an excellent commentary on the problems with this book at http://beccaelizabeth.dreamwidth.org/200
Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey
Such a good book! Nothing transcendent, just a very steady, perfectly composed YA fantasy ... great characters, satisfyingly fresh mythos (magic built mostly from Maori legends), and enough of a sense of mischief to keep things lively.
The Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah
Not at all the sort of book I usually read, and I almost stopped reading it a couple of times in the first 50 pages because the beginning part is awkwardly written, too much telling and not enough showing, plus the language is clumsy. But it really grew on me, particularly the way the originally very unreal fairy tale sections get grittier and more full of telling historical and personal details as the story goes on. It seems to *me* that the book's flaws were mostly confined to the first few chapters, but perhaps I just got so into the story that its flaws faded in importance?
Wahine Toa: Women of Maori Myth, by Robyn Kahukiwa with Patricia Grace
A beautiful adult picture book by Kahukiwa, rather more graceful and warm than the usual exhibition catalog; and Grace's words are elegant and rhythmic; I read most of them aloud.
Some Other Country: New Zealand's Best Short Stories, edited by Marion McLeod and Bill Manhire
The chronological arrangement of these stories was rather interesting, confirming that certain periods of mainstream short story writing (eg, the 80s) are just NOT very appealing to me, no matter where the stories' writers come from.
From A to Zine, by Julie Bartel
I used this book in a school project about zines in libraries last spring, and the bits I read for my project were so lucid and enthusiastic that I decided to read it all later on. Glad I finally got 'round to it, because the whole thing is that good.
The Shattering, by Karen Healey
Really quite fun, though more with the typical YA dark fantasy and (slightly) less with the clever and perfectly done than Guardian of the Dead. Looking forward to reading lots more of hers.