chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Not nearly such a busy reading week as last week!

I think the only things I actually finished reading were the latest volume of Blade of the Immortal (vol. 27), and the first couple of volumes of an indie comic, Tales of the Night Watchman, that the Mr. picked up at Small Press Expo. I was rather underwhelmed by it: just not my thing.

Volume 27: Mist on the Spider's Web was awesome. I should do an entire post on these most recent volumes of Blade of the Immortal sometime. Some people have noted that Rin is not much of a fighter and that Hyakurin and Makie are much more typical female characters, with Hyakurin as the femme fatale spy-type and Makie as the amazingly skilled woman with Major Issues. But then we had Ainu swordswoman Doa, and shinobi Meguro and Tampopo (I thought they were just comic relief at first — Samura's version of C3PO and R2D2 — boy, was I wrong!), and then this current volume had a marvelous arc for Ryo, the kenshi who's the illegitimate daughter of an important man. Even though it turned out badly in the end, she was fantastic.

What are you currently reading?

I have started Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead, and I am enjoying it, but it's not grabbing me hard the way that the Dirk & Steele books were. I'm also trying to catch up to the current storyline on the webcomic Yellow Peril. With the Mini, I can read webcomics in bed! (Yes, cho, welcome to the 21st century.)

What do you think you'll read next?

I have volume 4 of the manga House of Five Leaves. I should probably blog the series properly after I finish that, since I can usually tell whether I'll continue with a series somewhere around vol. 3 to 5. Also, I bought [personal profile] ann_leckie's Ancillary Justice, which has been getting great reviews.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Busy week!

C.J. Cherryh's Russalka, which had a more interesting and touching ending than I remember. As is common with Cherryh, I could see ideas and issues that she has tried again or previously in other works, which doesn't bother me: they're interesting ideas.

Also, vol. 8 of Ooku by Fumi Yoshinga. This is still a cool series, and beautifully drawn, but I want more slice-of-life Yoshinaga (like Antique Bakery and Flower of Life) or yaoi Yoshinaga (like Ichigenme … The First Class Is Civil Law). I wonder whether she'll ever go back to her roots that way?

Then I read the first volume of the manga version of Durarara!. My reaction is basically "What the hell was that?" The story thus far has seesawed back and forth between cheery high school comedy and urban dark fantasy. I imagine it will take a couple more volumes before I can even tell whether I like it or not.

Volume 2 of House of Five Leaves was interesting, although the mangaka's distinctive drawing style is beginning to wear on me a little. Although it couldn't be more different in style from Fruits Basket, I'm having the same sort of difficulties telling characters apart.

Finally, I just finished Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire, the sixth October Daye book. I really liked it. I think it's partially because it is now definitely an ensemble cast. Given that it's written from Toby's POV, she has to be the center, but she has collected an extended family-of-choice that I very much like. So now there's only one more book available: Chimes at Midnight, which just came out a few weeks ago. And then I'll have to wait for one volume a year, according to her website: three more volumes, coming out 2014 - 2016.

What are you currently reading?

And still limping through The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit. I only read bits of it when I have nothing else to read, but I am determined to finish it.

I downloaded the first Marjorie Liu "Dirk & Steele" book, Tiger Eye. It's my first straight paranormal romance (as opposed to Liu's harder-edged urban fantasies about demon hunter Maxine Kiss), and for about the whole first chapter I wanted to thrown it against a wall for what I assume were romanticism elements. As an example, when Our Heroine is retreating through a crowd, and the whole scene has been from her POV, she's suddenly described as getting through the crowd "gracefully." Because, you know, when someone is worried about retreating from potential danger, she of course spends time thinking about how gracefully she does it. (Mary Sue, phone home.) But I'm getting much more interested in it as we get into the heart of the book, including everything from the comedy of trying to make a very tall exotic-looking man inconspicuous in Beijing (and trying to find normal 20th century cosmopolitan clothes to fit him, since he showed up looking like an extra from a Conan story) and the family-of-choice aspects of the firm. And the constantly broken-off almost-sex scenes aren't any more over-the-top than a lot of fanfiction. It's like Liu was really unsure of what she was doing for the first couple of chapters and then got into it more whole-heartedly.

What do you think you'll read next?

Uhhh … another problem for another day. I do have two novels in hand that I got off the bring one-take one shelf at work, but I'm not itching to start either one: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which was recommended by a colleague. Anyone have opinions on either of them?

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Volume 4 of the manga Bunny Drop (re-read) and the omnibus volume 5 of Gunslinger Girls, where the mangaka is working overtime to stomp on our hearts and smash those suckers flat. (Have I mentioned that the latter series is shounen by its magazine classification? That seems weird to me. Although I am glad that young teen boys are being exposed to the concept of tough, adventurous girls, even if they are brainwashed cyborgs.)

What are you currently reading?

Still Limping through The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit and nibbling away at C.J. Cherryh's Russalka. Also some re-reading for a writing project. Plus, I have started vol. 3 of the manga A Bride's Story.

What do you think you'll read next?

Volume 2 of House of Five Leaves. volume 8 of Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga, and volume 1 of Durarara! are in the pipeline from Amazon, along with Ashes of Honor (vol. 6 of Seanan McGuire's October Daye series).

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

It's been three weeks since I did this. I'm not going to list everything I've read since then!

What have you just finished reading?

Nail Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I enjoyed it; it was a comfortable fit for me. Even the scary parts were comfortable somehow: Gaiman has a real feel for what actually scares kids. The reviewers have been mostly talking this up like it's the second coming of goodness-knows-what. I think it's an effective piece of writing and in some places, very beautiful, but it isn't wrapping around my brain like, say, American Gods. On the other hand, I liked it better than Coraline or The Graveyard Book. It also reminded me in some ways of Jo Walton's Among Others, in that it's a tribute to the place that books create for introverted children.

I also read volume 1 of The House of Five Leaves, a manga that had been recommended by [personal profile] smillaraaq and that had caught my eye on the Viz site a while back. I liked it and wanted more.

I'm re-reading the first several volumes of the manga Bunny Drop (note: spoilers in the post at the link), probably because last week I read the final volume. All my series seem to have run out. *is sad* Anyway, I've finished re-reading volumes 1 through 3.

I also just finished Jim Hines' Codex Born, which was a total page-turner for me. I also really liked the way Lena's character developed. I think this is the book where I can officially say that I am a Hines fan. I was very underwhelmed by The Stepsister Scheme, and although Libriomancer was fun, it didn't grab me the way this most recent book did.

What are you currently reading?

Limping through The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit, which I don't dislike enough to quit entirely. Also re-reading volume 4 of Bunny Drop and C.J. Cherryh's Russalka, which I first read years ago, and which I have downloaded to my new tablet from the author's Closed Circle site.

What do you think you'll read next?

Hmmm, I really don't know! Someone on the f-list was reviewing some private investigator mysteries with gay protagonists (this author and this one); maybe I'll try one of those.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon and E. Nesbit's The Treasure Seekers. (I kept forgetting I had the latter on my phone, when I was faced with a stack of dead-tree books.) Last week, I also finished Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells.

I liked the Ahmed, but I kept getting tripped up by some writing practices I dislike. One was the constant switch in viewpoints within a scene, which I associate to some degree with amateur writing. He got better about this as he went on, to where at the end, he was switching scene by scene and signaling more clearly what was going on with the viewpoint. There were also a couple of times that things happened presumbly for Deep Plot Reasons, because in context they made no sense and had me going "Where the hell did that come from?"

The Wells was good. Emilie is sort of a Tremaine Valiarde junior: she's not super-emotional and she is very competent, although not absurdly so (especially given her age). It's a sort of wish fulfillment fantasy of the type that classically stars an intrepid young boy (child gets to go on huge adventure, child is treated with respect by adult fellow travelers and gets to strut her/ his stuff), and it features airships and mysterious underground civilizations.

The Nesbit was ... OK. It has the didactic and sentimental moments of the magical Nesbits but without the delicious magical absurdities. I enjoyed the slightly out-of-kilter voice of its unreliable narrator, but YMMV.

What are you currently reading?

I'm doing a re-read for a writing assignment, which will go undisclosed for now..

What do you think you'll read next?

I have Neil Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I forgot to include in my Amazon order for our trip but picked up in Chatham, MA, where we went for a day of shopping and lunch out when the weather was very rainy.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Seanan McGuire's Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea (vols. 4 and 5 of the October Daye series), vols. 1 and 2 of the manga A Bride's Story, and vols. 1 and 2 of the manga adaptation of the anime Tiger & Bunny.

I liked One Salt Sea better than Late Eclipses, because in the latter, Toby is back to doing impulsive stupid things that have me going "Um, no, Toby, don't do that," with the result that I knew roughly what was happening about halfway through the book. In One Salt Sea, I knew to some degree whodunnit, but not how, and it was interesting to see it play out. There were also a couple of very funny scenes.

(On the other hand, I continue to twitch from time to time and wonder what happened to the Native American spirits in this completely Euro-fae-occupied America.)

A Bride's Story is just beautiful, and I liked Amir's feistiness and mad hunting skillz. On the other hand, there's almost no exploration of how it feels to be a 20-yr-old woman married to a 12-yr-old boy.

Tiger & Bunny was cute, but after two volumes, the underlying emotional arcs are only just getting started.

What are you currently reading?

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells, and The Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit. I am enjoying them very much.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have Throne of the Crescent Moon queued up, and also some re-reading for another writing exchange.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Noel Streatfeild's Dancing Shoes and a Montreal travel guide.

What are you currently reading?

Peter Dickinson's The Blue Hawk, which I have almost finished (another re-read). I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that one! Really lovely use of language, and some interesting meditations on the nature of gods and those who worship them. Some of it echoes the points made in both Pratchett's Small Gods (1992) and Hodgell's God Stalk (1986) ... Dickinson's book was published in 1991, so make of that what you will. I'm also making my way through some manga re-reading for a writing project.

What do you think you'll read next?

I just downloaded the first two of E. Nesbit's "Bastables" series, which I have never read. I am very fond of her series featuring the Psammead, so we shall see. I'm also about to do a big book order for vacation reading, and I'll probably add on the next volumes of Natsume's Book of Friends and Black Butler, both of which came out recently.

(To my intense disgust, Ben Aaronovitch's next book is due out in the U.K. tomorrow ... but not due in the U.S. until 2014!)

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan (literally, only an hour or so ago), and Anne of Ingleside and Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery.

The Morgan book was very much a mixed bag. It had some terribly exciting scenes that made me grin or exclaim aloud, some hot male/male sex, character angst and betrayal, and a female character who gets to have All the Blades, with Names,* but also some scenes I really wish I could unsee.

What are you currently reading?

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery, some non-fiction for story research, and The Life of Slang by Julie Coleman. The latter is a book I bought for my husband for Fathers Day, but he kindly left it on the Big Pile o' Reading Matter in the bathroom.

What do you think you'll read next?

My friend's MS is still eating my brain. Some more story research is also on the slate. I'm wondering whether I want to download and read The Blythes Are Quoted, which is apparently a number of short stories about characters from the Anne of Green Gables series and their descendants. I don't usually like short stories as much as novels, but so much of the Anne series is episodic that maybe it won't bother me.

*Did anyone else ever read Frostflower and Thorn by Phyllis Ann Karr? Thorn had named her blades, but Archeth in the Morgan book has much better names for hers, and more of them, too.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read), Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery.

Enchanted Glass is, as I remembered it, OK, but rather flat, especially in comparison with classics such as The Homeward Bounders. Fire and Hemlock, and even The Lives of Christopher Chant (the Chrestomanci books are not super-favorites of mine, in general).

What are you currently reading?

Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains and Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. Also, I'm doing some nonfiction reading for story research, which will remain unspecified for now.

What do you think you'll read next?

That MS is sucking up a lot of time and brainpower. I'll probably continue on my Montgomery kick: Feedbooks seems to have all of the Anne series for download. And I'm still working on the Morgan book. I was amused at my reactions to the smartass protagonists' reactions to their opponents in the combat scenes that just occurred: I was grinning and almost snickering. Too much Fritz Leiber at an early age, I suppose.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Loveless (manga) volume 11, Seanan McGuire's An Artificial Night (October Daye #3), and Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery.

Loveless managed to ratchet up both the angst and the humor (spoiler for the latter: Yohji manages to unhook his first bra - Shinonome's, of course! She thwacks him on the head with a book.). I wonder if we'll ever find out how Seimei became such an awful person?

In An Artificial Night, Toby is getting a little more sensible, but just a little. I was really enthralled with the first two thirds of this one. Then McGuire started to adhere to a classical trope of legend – one with which I am very familiar – and did it basically paint-by-numbers, which sort of wrecked the whole mood for me.

In the Anne books, it becomes more and more clear that Montgomery has hundreds of little vignettes that she wants to share. Anne of Windy Poplars, which is framed as a series of letters from Anne to her fiance, actually got a bit tedious. The narrator's voice is a little more wry and tart than Anne's, and it makes a better foil to the endless series of incidents in which Anne manages to tame human ogres, dragons, and snakes. I was gratified that Anne had a couple of protégées this time around, as well as a young man whom she's trying to encourage to continue his education.

What are you currently reading?

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read; almost finished), Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains, and Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery. The contrast in moods and subject matter between the latter two is giving me whiplash of the brain.

What do you think you'll read next?

I should try to re-read Redshirts by John Scalzi, and write it up. Ditto with Among Others by Jo Walton. The Morgan book will require antidotes in the form of more Anne and maybe some favorite children's books. I'm also beta-reading a book manuscript for an old friend, but I'm not sure that counts.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

In a desert, on the shores of a long river with seasonal life-giving floods, is the city-nation of Gujaareh. It has very little crime and almost no signs of poverty. Its people die of disease far less often than do the citizens of other nations. The priests of the city's patron deity, the dream goddess Hananja, succor her people with the four dream humors, with which they can cure most physical and mental illnesses and remediate many birth defects. One of these humours, Dreamblood, is harvested from the dying: those who suffer because they cannot be cured by other methods, those who have simply outlived their time in the walking world — and those whom the priesthood have judged corrupt.

Ehiru, the most talented and respected of the Gatherers (those who collect the Dreamblood), loses control of one of his tithing operations and learns that something is badly amiss in his peaceful land. He and his devoted new apprentice, Njiri, find their lives entwined with that of Sunandi, a foreign diplomat accused of crimes against Gujaareh. Magic, dirty politics, and angst ensue. I enjoyed it.

Jemisin plays some games with U.S. cultural norms in this. The society of Gujaareh far from perfect, and as in many societies, some groups of people are considered better than others. Higher-caste people have darker skin. Women "are goddesses": for this reason, they are not expected — or permitted — to work at most professions. The sequel, The Shadowed Sun, delves more deeply into the issue of women in this society.

One aspect of the worldbuilding that I especially liked is that the neighboring country of Kisuati is Gujaareh's motherland. The two cultures have a number of aspects in common, still: for example, Hananja is also a goddess there, although she is just part of a wide pantheon instead of reigning supreme. This is a realistic situation that existed and still exists in many places in our world, but it doesn't come up all that often in fantasy.

Read more ... with some spoilers )
chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

The Shadowed Sun by N. K. Jemisin (re-read) and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery.

I need to write up the Jemison properly.

I read and re-read Anne of Green Gables as a child, but I never got any of the sequels. They're all available for free online (I got mine from FeedBooks). Anne of Avonlea covers the time from Anne's receipt of her teaching certificate at Queen's Academy (you may recall that she went away from home to earn this) through a couple of years of teaching grade school.

One of the most striking thing about the book for me was how much the unequal treatment of the little Keith twins bothered me. Montgomery's interest is all too clearly only in mischievous Davy; well-behaved Dora is a piece of cardboard who gets only parts of a couple of scenes. The same thing is true to a somewhat lesser extent with Anne's school pupils: imaginative, attractive young Paul Irving is the only child who counts. I'm not sure why this irked me so much, but it did.

What are you currently reading?

Seanan McGuire's An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) and Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (I've actually nearly finished this).

What do you think you'll read next?

I need to at least start Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains. I've ordered the manga volume Loveless 11 online and hope to have it by Friday, and I imagine I'll download the next "Anne" book (Wikipedia tells me that this is Anne of Windy Poplars).

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Gunslinger Girl manga, omnibus vol. 4 (vols. 9 & 10 of the original) and my Sutcliff re-read. Re GG: Aiiiee, so sad. T-T

What are you currently reading?

The Shadowed Sun by N. K. Jemisin (re-read) and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery, which I downloaded for free on my phone (I got the free version of the Aldiko reader).

What do you think you'll read next?

I just obtained Seanan McGuire's An Artificial Night (Toby Daye #3) and Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains. If the latter sounds out of character, that's because it's the choice of a summer book club thing I'm doing.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

The Killing Moon (re-read) by N.K. Jemisin

What are you currently reading?

Something by Rosemary Sutcliff, which I will not specify at this time (re-read). And bits and pieces from C.J. Cherryh's Regenesis (also a re-read). (Plus, the latest Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazines.)

What do you think you'll read next?

Probably The Shadowed Sun by Jemisin.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Among Others by Jo Walton (yes, i found it!). I really enjoyed the first seven eighths of it, and then it sort of petered out. I should do a proper writeup of it sometime.

What are you currently reading?

I have started re-reading The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin.

What do you think you'll read next?

Something for a writing project (that shall go un-named for now), and then, clearly, I should re-read The Shadowed Sun by Jemisin.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

What have you just finished reading?

Bound in Blood (vol. 5 of the Chronicles of the Kencyrath by P.C. Hodgell), vol. 2 of the manga series 21st Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa, vol. 11 of the manga series Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden by Yuu Watase (and boy, is there a style whiplash between those two series ... ), and Redshirts by John Scalzi. The Hodgell was a re-read of an old favorite (and hmmm, where's my copy of Honor's Paradox, the next volume?); the other three were new. I'll write up the Scalzi at some point: I enjoyed it, but it was fairly slight for the most part.

(Oh, and the mysterious re-read I was doing earlier was The Diamond Age, or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, by Neal Stephenson.)

What are you currently reading?

I'm mostly reading bits and pieces of C.J. Cherryh's Regenesis (the sequel to Cyteen), for something I'm thinking about writing.

What do you think you'll read next?

Good question! Somewhere around the house is a copy of Among Others by Jo Walton: that's the last of the books I got for the winter holidays that I have not yet read. Or I could re-read N.K. Jemisin's Gujaareh books (The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun) so that I could write them up ... and the same with Jim C. Hines' Libriomancer. But there's an equal chance that I will dig out some old favorite to re-read, because that's my usual response to having finished something new.

 

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

This is going to be brief (for once). The series is still interesting. Toby is still creating "Oh, Toby!" moments, but this time, she's joined in her faux pas by most of the cast. Toby's liege sends her after his missing (adult) niece, who is in charge of a small independent Faerie political unit named Tamed Lightning. Most of Tamed Lightning is a computer company, and it turns out that the place is hosting a serial killer: especially problematic for Fae, who otherwise can expect to live forever. What follows is a semi-locked room mystery, because communications in and out of Tamed Lightning are ... problematic.

Cut for lots of spoilers )
chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

'Cause all the cool kids are doing it. But I'll want to do some real write-ups later on some of these.

What are you currently reading?

I'm about two-thirds of the way through a re-read of P.C. Hodgell's fantasy Bound in Blood, volume 5 of the "Chronicles of the Kencyrath." She deserves a better editor: there are some awfully info-dumpy sections. But Jame's voice comes through on most of it, so those bits are tolerable. This time, it occurs to me that Kindrie got better awfully fast: maybe PCH got tired of his woobie-ness. I still think the details of cadet life at Tentir are one of the best things ever. And I liked the scene between Tori and Marc, when Marc was working on the stained glass window.

I've also started the second three-volume compilation of the manga Gunslinger Girl, and I'll probably write it up the series when I finish this one (I usually do manga after I've read the first four volumes, if it's a long series).

What did you recently finish reading?

Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue, the first volume of her Toby Daye series. I blogged it here.

Also, last night I mainlined the latest volume of the manga Blade of the Immortal: vol. 26, Blizzard (they have titles as well as volume numbers). I had been waiting for this one anxiously because the last volume ended on a serious cliffhanger, and this one did not disappoint. I will be blogging it later.

What do you think you'll read next?

I need to do a re-read for something I'm writing. Also, I got the second Toby Daye book. Finally, I might be in the mood for more Hodgell as well, but I'd need to figure out where my copy of Honor's Paradox has ended up.

chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

October (Toby) Daye is a half-fae, half-human, and in a whole lot of trouble from start to finish in this tale of fairy folk of the scary, impressive type living in modern-day San Francisco. The story opens in a flashback as Toby takes on an investigation that ends disastrously. For the rest of the book, more than a dozen years later, she's a semi-stranger in a partially strange land, a tragic figure with a massive stack of chips on her shoulder who insists on following her assigned quest through all sorts of perilous encounters.

Read more ... with some mild spoilers )
chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

Moon lives on a planet peopled with a number of intelligent races, and as far as he knows, he doesn't belong to any of them. He is a shapeshifter, with one form that allows him to blend in with the various "groundlings" (terrestrial humanoid races) and another shape, winged, that bears an unfortunate resemblance to one of the variants of the rapacious, predatory beings known as the Fell. As the first book opens, Moon's latest refuge fails him (he never really expected anything else), but he is rescued from likely death by what turns out to be an elder of his own true race.

Our hero discovers that he is a Raksura, a member of a reptilian species with two major subspecies and a complicated social system. The Raksura colony to which Moon's rescuer belongs, the Court of Indigo Cloud, is on the brink of disaster, and Moon turns out to have more than one special role to play in its salvation. The first book closes with a horrifying conflict with the Fell and the decision to move the entire colony to the ancestral home only remembered by Moon's aged rescuer.

The second volume picks up exactly where the first ended. The Raksura of Indigo Cloud arrive at their new (to them) ancient home, a mountain-sized tree, and start to settle in, only to discover that the tree is dying because someone has stolen a crucial component of it. The rest of the book is taken up with a quest by Moon and a small band of the Indigo Cloud Raksura to find the missing part and restore it. The journey takes them to other Raksura courts, where they have to deal with extravagant manners and dirty politics, and to a wonderfully fantastic multi-racial city, where they must engage in espionage, combat, and sabotage so that they may take back what is rightfully theirs.

(Read more ... I'm trying to avoid serious spoilers) )

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