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2016-01-01 - Reading Accomplishments - 007

Noble Kale's picture

The period between this entry and the last was certainly more fruitful than previous entries - I read quite a considerable amount. Part of this was because I've been on year-end holidays, but also because I no longer have PAX, etc to work through. Since it's also the start of a new year I might do a summary of the last year's reading (though I started this project around the 15th of January I've decided to round that off to the start of each year) with some stats, etc.

Regardless, here's the list for this entry:

  • Beck, Jessica - Lemon Larceny
  • Rutherford, CJ & Rutherford, Colin - Souls of the Never
  • Stine, R.L. - One Day at HorrorLand
  • Lee, Carol - Death by Chocolate
  • Asprin, Robert - Phule's Company
  • McCoy, Mimi - Her Evil Twin
  • Asprin, Robert - Phule's Paradise
  • Bishop, David - Kingdom of the Blind
  • Applegate, K.A. - The Stranger
  • Asprin, Robert - A Phule and His Money

Quite the list. So, Lemon Larceny was an earlier book from the Donut Mysteries series than the one I'd previously read, but it was pretty good. There's a little bit of cringe/anxiety raised in them but overall they do pretty well. Death by Chocolate was another cozy mystery from another series (and author), but it was... decidedly less high quality. It was the first in a series though so hopefully they improve from that point. One Day at HorrorLand almost, almost felt like an earlier Goosebumps book (as I've said before, I'm not entirely convinced Stine didn't just write the first few and get ghostwriters for the rest) - less on the 'jump scare due to prankster sibling' stuff and more 'wtf is going on' throughout. The more recent ones I've read prior to this one relied very heavily on 'OMG TWIST' with the last line and have been pretty pathetic, so this was interesting.

On a similar note, Her Evil Twin was one of the Poison Apple books, which are basically 'Goosebumps for girls, also modernised' so they mention far more about fashion, teen anxieties and email. They often have a 'then they did some research' component, which this one lacked. It was pretty interesting, though also pretty obvious. Almost a Fight Club for kids, which I could see as an interesting concept.

Kingdom of the Blind, while reasonable, was pretty standard Judge Dredd fare - though not as good as the other books from the series. There were just a few too many plot holes and the twist at the end was pretty obvious. I finally got back to the Animorphs series with The Stranger, and while it was less intense than the other books, the family storyline in it probably hit a lot of teen readers in similar circumstances hard. They really are pretty heavy hitting for teen literature.

I got back to reading the Phule series this cycle - I'd read the first one a long time ago, and they're still pretty great. I find Asprin has a way of reminding me of things I can improve in myself when I read his work. While obviously I can't solve my problems with money like the titular character, there's an approach he has that one can emulate at least in part that I feel has benefits.

So, I left Souls of the Never till last because... it's pretty.... yeah. Lemme summarize it like this: A bunch of planeswalker-esque characters find the most Mary-Sue person who turns out to be the planeswalker-esque character to unite all the planeswalker-esque characters to defeat the big bad. Along the way it turns out her best friend (miss normal) is actually a crack-shot daughter of a secret agent who taught his daughter to shoot exceptionally well, her mother was sucked into the space between worlds during one of her dad's experiments (with what one assumes to be an LHC equivalent) and... it all gets fucking more trope-y from there, including 'no one can time travel, it's coded into our genetics (even though we're all different races from different realities)... EXCEPT YOUUUUUU'. Short answer, there's an interesting world in there, but holy shit is the writing bad. 'Best of tumblr/livejournal fanfic' bad - including the most immense amount of 'we share a soul and fall incredibly in love at first sight' stuff.

So, it's been pretty huge. Some good stuff in there, some super terrible stuff (I think that 'The Universe at the bottom of a Cereal Box' was worse than Souls of the Never, but only barely), and a lot more still to read.