Not a lot of books this month, at least by my usual standards, but man, they were all hefty. Book of the Month is Christopher Buelhman’s The Blacktongue Thief.
I know; shut up.
Sort of. Maybe. I saw all the words.
I have read and reviewed the first two books in Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb series, Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth. There will be a fourth, supposedly this year, called Alecto the Ninth. That will apparently be the final volume. This one, Nona the Ninth, only happened because apparently Nona’s story got a bit out of Muir’s control and she had to make it its own book; early printings of Harrow actually say that Alecto will be the next book, an error that I don’t know if they corrected in later versions.
You might notice that the word “review” does not appear in the title of this post. This is not a review. I am functionally incapable of reviewing this series any longer, and I can only barely apply the verb “read” to the process my brain was attempting while my eyes were roving over the words on the page. If I had read the book, I would have understood more of it. By the end of this book, there are so many characters who are not in their own bodies that I feel like I need a fucking spreadsheet to understand what is going on. Some characters may — or may not, no one is clear– be in more than one body. My wife loves these books unreservedly; I keep asking her questions and she begins to answer them with “Well, do you remember when …” and my answer is invariably no. No, I do not remember that happening. No, I do not remember that character, who was apparently mentioned six hundred and thirty times in book two. No, the back cover copy on this book describes several different events in the book and I don’t remember any of them. Blue thing in the sky? What blue thing in the sky?
I only just found out, in conversation with her before coming in here and writing this, that not one but two of the characters are apparently planets. I missed that! I feel like a character being a planet should have been something I noticed. Two of them I definitely should have noticed. I did not. The main character, Nona, is physically nineteen years old but has the mentality of a six year old and is in some unclear way only physically six months old; the book is fairly adamant that she, Nona, is not Nona, but is in fact one of the two main characters of the two previous books, possibly in one of their actual physical bodies and possibly not, and by the end of the book I am literally unsure if any of the three of them are alive, in any sense of the word. I think Gideon’s actual physical body is running around, but someone else is in it, I think, unless we were supposed to realize that the other person who is in Gideon’s body now was always in Gideon’s body and this is not a change of the status quo but a reveal. I have no fucking idea.
Also, there are other Gideons, and at least one of their bodies is still running around, also not occupied by the spirit of that Gideon. I think. I saw a reviewer on Goodreads refer to that Gideon as G1deon to help distinguish them.
There is one person who is actually two people, but not at the same time, until they get into a fight with someone else and win it by the second person in the body shoving the owner of the other body out and taking it over, so then the one person who is actually two people is actually two people, until later, when one of them catches fire for, as near as I could tell, no fucking reason at all, and then suddenly both of them are back in the same body again only now both of them are one person. Whose name is Paul.
There is a character named Hot Sauce. Another named Pants of the Undying. A third’s name is Awake Remembrance of These Valiant Dead Kia Hua Ko Te Pai Snap Back to Reality Oops There Goes Gravity. I made one of those up. I dare you to figure out which one.
I swear to God, I’m literate. I really am.
It will not surprise you to learn that I have been putting off a number of things that needed doing, and as a result it is the Sunday before I have to go back to work and I have a number of Things that need accomplishing. That said … the reading room is done? Or close enough, at least? I need to do something with that shelf in the middle, there, the one that is leaning to the side; hopefully I can come up with a way to push the shelf next to it a couple inches over to shore it up a bit without removing every single Goddamned book off of the shelves again. We had one bookshelf fall apart moving it from the living room to here, and several of these are not going to survive another transition, but if I can pin it between two shelves that are more or less properly vertical we ought to be okay.
I’ll put up some pictures of the living room and the bathroom soon too; the living room’s conversion is complete, barring only some cable management behind the TV that — wait for it — I’ve been putting off, and, well, the bathroom is exciting. But for now I’m going to cross “blog post” off of my to-do list and move on to something else. I gotta make it through five days this week and then I get a three-day weekend for MLK Day; I should be able to manage that, I think.
Book of the Month is Justina Ireland’s Rust in the Root.