This was a fun story with a neat conceit: in medieval Tortall, the value of the currency is being devalued by people minting fake money. With the value of silver plummeting thanks to the counterfeitting- and a bad rye crop causing food prices to go up- people are going to start starving in the streets if the protagonist Beka (a medieval guard, a la Terry Pratechett’s ‘Guards’ books) doesn’t track down the counterfitters. This was a truly unique story idea- which is something I can’t say very often. I truly enjoyed reading this book for it’s plot.
The book’s pacing was a bit long-in-the-tooth in places. I felt that a few dozen pages could have been pruned out here and there. The characters in this book were good, and at moments great. The protagonist in particular serves her job well as a reader-insert character. She has enough character to stand on her own, but not so much as to make the reader bounce off her her perspective.
This is a solid 3/5 stars. (For reference, I default to giving 3 stars to books I enjoyed wholeheartedly.)
If any of this sounds interesting, start with book 1 in the series, Terrier.
One Day All This Will Be Yours
This is probably going to be the best book I read this year, or close to it. This is also the first Tchaikovsky story I’ve read, or in this case listened to. (The author narrates the audiobook himself, and it’s well done.) This novella is 144 pages of awesomeness, (or 3.3hours for my fellow audiobookers). If I were to compare this book in quality and topic, I would compare it to the luminary ‘‘This is How you Lose the Time War’ by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. Where that book is a (really, really good) time travel love story, this is that too. However, where that book takes place in the middle of a time war, this one takes place in the aftermath of one.
The protagonist in this is a curmudgeonly survivor of a time war, the last human alive and determined to remain that way. He’s appointed himself as the curator of time, making sure that the time war never happens again the only way he can: wiping out humanity so time travel can never be invented again. He’s set up shop at the end of time, re-terraforming earth after multiple nuclear holocausts, and killing any time travelling humans trying to escape the nightmare of history into his peaceful future. His only friend is Miffly, a dinosaur to whom he feeds any time travelers coming from the past.
He spends countless years alone, living a happy, if quiet life… until the unthinkable happens. He’s visited by time travelers, but this time they’re not coming from the past, but the future.
This is a lovely, heartwarming, and oddly bloodthirsty story filled with fun side characters with a ton of class and style. I’d compare this to a ‘Doctor Who’ story, if the Doctor was a wee bit murdery. This is a romantic comedy, with an edge.
Easily 5/5 stars. (For reference, I only give 5 stars to 2 or 3 books a year, and I usually read 50+ books a year.)
Rise and Fall of the Borgias
This is a 5 hour lecture series about the 1500’s Borgia family. The Borgias are a notorious family of corrupt aristocrats/priests who plagued the Catholic Church, Italy and Spain. They’re (in)famous for everything from incest to murder to more murder to debauchery in the Vatican. Some of the rumors about them are true (murder), while others are most likely fabrications by their enemies (incest).
This is a good lecture series. The lecturer does a good job giving context to the Borgia’s corruption- in short, all the other Bishops and Cardinals were equally guilty as the Borgias of sin. However, the Borgias were more blatant about it, so their political enemies had an easy time spreading rumors about them by basing them on truth. I’ll say that this lecture has a ‘pro-Borgia’ slant, in terms of putting them in the best possible light… however, even so the lecturer doesn’t hold back from describing all the gristly details.