Irbis by Aleksandar Žiljak. This novel sort of reminded me of Escape from L.A. It’s fast-paced, full of action, there’s the “do or die in horrible pain” catch, and the ending is just as vicious, although more optimistic. Above all, it’s fun, and well worth a read. And the cover is adorable (you also get to see what an irbis is). The link leads to his blog, which is usually in Croatian, but there are posts in English too.
Ogledalo za vampira (A Mirror for a Vampire) by Adrijan Sarajlija. It’s the first novel by a Serbian author who already had a pretty good story collection. It combines magical realism, horror, science fiction (sort of), and the structure is more of an acid trip (not that I have a first-hand experience of an acid trip) than of a novel. An interesting and a fun read, although some parts of it are not for those with a weak stomach.
Intrusion by Ken MacLeod. It’s a creepy novel about Hope Morrison who lives in near future and refuses to take The Fix, a pill which would remove many possible genetic defects from her unborn child. She has no particular reason for refusing to take it, other than the wish to be left alone with her body and her pregnancy. The world she lives in is not that of totalitarianism, on the contrary; it’s a democratic Western country where there is a lot of care for everyone’s safety — which leads to very little personal freedom, and people fought for it to be that way in the name of democracy and safety and good life for everyone. For example, every woman of a child-bearing age must wear a monitor ring, which informs the authorities if she is drinking alcohol while pregnant or engaging in other activities which might damage her unborn child — all for the safety of the children. Another example: the police won’t beat you up, they’ll torture you instead with heated sterile needles, so there’s no infection,and when they’re done with you, they’ll give you the number of the service which helps people cope with the trauma. To make it short: it’s what the world might look like if people give away too much of their personal freedom in exchange for “safety” and “common good”.
The Executioness by Tobias S. Buckell. It goes together with The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi — and The Alchemist was considerably better in exploring the society which lives under the threat of a magical (and extremely difficult to destroy, and often lethal) bramble which grows every time someone casts a spell — and spells are quite easy to cast. So, it is illegal to use magic, and those who do it anyway get executed, normally by executors, but The Executioness tells a story of a woman who picked up her father’s axe after he got too sick to perform his duty. The story is an interesting read, although too naive at times.
Preko rijeke (Across the River) by Dalibor Perković. Another book by a Croatian author, this time a story collection, some of them award-winning. The horrible truth about Jesus Christ. Extraterrestrial aliens and the war in former Yugoslavia — the aliens had nothing to do with the war, some of them just happened to be in the area and were conducting their business — the aliens were not nice by any means, it’s just that humans can be even worse than that. A humorous story involving a time-travel machine and the sexual life of a couple. A story about the relationships between a deity and the folks worshiping that deity. Some of it was serious, some was funny, and overall, quite a good read.
The Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. It’s the fourth book in the series, following what should have been a trilogy, and it’s mostly of the what happened next kind — and something always happens, doesn’t it?
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. Fun idea. Well thought-out characters. Well thought-out plot. Well thought-out everything. Feels like it was rewritten too many times, though, so some life was sucked out of the book. Fun anyway, and worth reading. Will read the next one for sure.
Bullet by Laurell Hamilton, the 19th book in the series about Anita Blake. Skip the first part. Skip the last part, unless to see the ending. From the middle, read every fifth page. You’ll miss nothing of importance, skip the sex scenes, and won’t read every single thought Anita had. That way, the book is tolerable. Sort of. To give you an example: in the first 30 pages or so, we get to see what everyone is wearing, and we get to learn that even a 3-year-old (or a 5-year-old, the author can’t remember how old that character is) knows that Anita has sex with just about everyone. Then there are some emotional problems, guys (particularly one of them) talking about emotional problems, you get to know which one of the guys can give another guy oral sex without choking even if it goes deep (you were dying to know that, didn’t you?), and then there’s a long sex scene (three guys, one woman, homosexual sex, heterosexual sex, BDSM), and when it’s over, you see you’ve read about the third of the entire book. It doesn’t get better. Oh, and you get to read every single thought Anita has. The oral sex talk was way way more interesting, even if you weren’t interested in it at all.
Hit List by Laurell Hamilton, the 20th book in the same series.** spoiler alert ** Yet another book where you get to read every single thought of Anita Blake. Some things happen, too, some people get injured, folks we were previously told were superfastsuperstrongsuperkillers are suddenly sloppy, the villain we were previously told might be unkillable gets defeated without much difficulty, and we get to read inner monologue of Anita Blake. At least she’s less annoying than she used to be, so we don’t read about her having issues and having issues, but growing up a bit and having less issues than she used to. Yay. Not.
Have you read something interesting lately?