October 4, 2005

you hung with me

Posted in books tagged , at 12:56 pm by placeinthestars

I wanted to talk about the books I read this weekend, which were all DD’s fault.

As a wee and teen!vic, I spent many, many hours reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, most of pretty appalling quality, as I recall it, though some stood out then and probably would stand out now. Some I’ve even saved and cherished despite their glaring flaws *coughEddingscough*. When I was 18 or 19, I started getting really tired of a lot of the tics and conventions of fantasy especially, and my reading interest shifted mostly to thrillers, hardboiled detective fiction and mainstream literary stuff, with the occasional venture back into fantasy or sci-fi on other people’s recommendations. Mostly, these days, to engage my interest, fantasy has to be what I think they now call “urban fantasy,” i.e., it has to have some connection to our world – magic in our midst etc. and it has to have a sense of humor. Which probably explains why HP works for me as well as it does, despite clinging to some of those same fantasy conventions I find irksome.

Anyway, that was basically a big long digression to say I don’t read a lot of fantasy anymore, because it often irritates me and feels like I’ve read it before.

DD recommended Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunners series to me on the basis that it contains a canon m/m relationship. And because I’m her willing minion, I eventually got hold of the three books in the series, and last week, I read them.

I learned that I’m still irritated by a lot of the genre’s conventions and cliches. I did a lot of skimming of battle scenes and descriptions of buildings and crap I don’t really care about that never really mattered in the story (when the physical locations *do* turn out to matter, I go back and read what I’ve skimmed if I’m confused). I’m still irritated by what feels like gratuitous overuse of umlauts and apostrophes and really unwieldy fake swears and overly intricate explanations of cultural mores and traditions that don’t always have any bearing on the story. Like, yes, I get that you love your world that you’ve built, but you don’t have to tell me every. single. fucking. detail. of it.

Ahem.

Now that the rant is mostly out of the way, I’ll say I enjoyed the books enough to read all three in five days, and kinda wish there were more, because I did like Seregil and Alec (especially Seregil), and I did enjoy their relationship a lot, especially when they were just being spies and thieves (yes, indeedy, I did crush on Silk when I read Eddings. Shut up. You know you did, too.) without a lot of the magic going on and when the politics were more at a remove. I did find it hilarious that the books feature soul-bonding via buttsex, or well, we don’t know if that’s how it happens, but Alec and Seregil do eventually have a soul bond and can feel each other’s emotions and stuff, and I understand the 13yo girl “It’s so romantic” side, because I’ve been that 13yo girl, but I also think, “gah! that’s really kind of creepy, innit?” I mean, it’s not really creepy in the book, but I still rolled my eyes at it.

Otoh, I thought the relationship was nicely developed as it went along, lovely and full of yearning in the second book, which you know I love, and full of banter and snark, which I also love. And though a little smut wouldn’t have hurt, I’m not sure the author would have been up for it, writing-wise, so I’m kinda glad she didn’t go there.

So I can’t really tell you to read it because of the fantasy stuff, because I really don’t care about that (it makes a nice background to the thieves/spies character archetype, but this wasn’t any kind of ground-breaking fantasy series or anything), but for fun, enjoyable characters and a nicely handled canon m/m ship, I say go for it if you haven’t read them already and that sounds like your cup of tea.

~*~

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