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So when we last met, I had mentioned that I was going to attempt to read one of the volumes in Daniel Abraham's current series; two chapters of that disabused me of the notion. It's definitely complicated enough that one would have to start at the beginning. And given the size of each volume - fatter than the volumes of Game of Thrones, for comparison - it would be far more than I want to take on at this time. So back it went to the library, unfinished.


Meanwhile, I finished all the rest of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series - in my first post for this fantasy quest, I had mentioned that I was starting in on the series; having finished it, that is more than 5 books right there, so I could, on a technicality, say that I've completed this quest. But it doesn't seem to me as though that's in the proper spirit of things - reading 6 books I was going to read anyway. So I'll mention briefly that I liked River Marked, in which Mercy finally manages to give away the fae walking stick that had been following her around, presumably for once and for all, though one never knows, does one? And in the most recently available, Frost Burned, we get a few new twists on characters we thought we had seen the last of, and a couple of new characters that were enjoyable. I like the way the various fae characters get to decide what to call themselves for purposes of registering with the government - some of the names they make up are pretty funny, especially if one can figure out which mythological fae they really are, such as the one who calls himself a "snow elf" who is pretty clearly one of the frost giants of Norse mythology, or such as Mercy's automotive mentor, Zee, who calls himself a gremlin, even though that's a 20th century term that has nothing to do with what he really is.

So, more in the spirit of the quest/challenge, I decided to read something else - not another werewolf or vampire, not a series I already heard about, not even an author I've ever read much of, and what leapt off the library shelves at me was Lilith Saintcrow's Damnation Affair. It's magic and sort-of-vampires and sort-of-zombies set in the old West, or should I say the sort-of-American-West. Saintcrow has invented new terminology for some of the things both in the West and in magic, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out from context what they are. Our story is of a young lady appearing in a Western town ostensibly to work as the new schoolmarm, and secretly to try and track down her lost brother. She is from Boston, and in addition to magic, she also has the voice of her very proper Boston parents lecturing her in her head, which is both helpful and not - certainly, the parasol she carries is handy for beating off zombies. Our male protagonist is the sheriff, who was also, unbeknownst to the townsfolk, in a former life a sort-of-Knights-Templar/monk. If this sounds complicated, well, it is - because it's different, so that one spends some time trying to find matches between this universe's magic and history, and other old-west-fantasies' magic, and between those and our world. Almost as soon as I was more than a couple pages in, the comparisons I started making in my head were to Patricia Wrede's Thirteenth Child. For example, in both, the words for the Old-World countries/continents are slightly different, not Europe and Asia, for example, but something almost like them. The language our characters speak here isn't English, it's Englene. Place names in the west are slightly off too. And in that, one can also start comparing them both to the place names and such in Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series (though we aren't reading Card anymore, as we don't care to contribute any royalties to his anti-gay beliefs.) Anyway, if you have read Damnation Affair and liked it, and haven't yet read Wrede's Thirteenth Child and its sequels, I think you'll like them - and vice versa.

Now under way: another Patricia Briggs, but this time a series I haven't read before, or even noticed existed before, which appears to include dragons, maybe - at the moment, at the beginning of the book, the dragons appear to be extinct. So that will be the next one I report on.

Also read a graphic novel that sort of counts as fantasy: Beasts of Burden Volume: Animal Rites - cute, not terribly deep, but the dog characters and the cat are sort of cool.

Other things: took the euphonium to a Browningsville rehearsal and played it for about half the time, and there were moments when I didn't make a fool of myself. And saw "A Million Ways to Die in the West" with Larry, speaking of the West, and Seth MacFarlane's West is probably almost as fantastical as the books above, and from the first couple of measures of the score during the opening credits I was laughing, and I think I enjoyed it so much because so much of the humor was audio in one way or another, which is what I was paying attention to rather than the gross and tasteless poop jokes. From the snippets of Copland in the score, to "Mila Kunis" by way of "People die at the fair" and not forgetting the uncredited cameo by Bill Maher, I laughed a lot. I'll probably buy the soundtrack album.
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