Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Abbreviations #42 | Murder on the Orient Express, Between The Blade and the Heart + Melting Stones

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 1, 1934
Source: Purchased the Kindle book
Buy the Book: Book Depository | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

I wasn’t planning on indulging in a second Agatha Christie book until 2018, but when I was randomly browsing my Kindle library recently, Murder on the Orient Express caught my eye. I’m glad I decided to read it, because I enjoyed it! I really enjoy the storytelling style that Christie employs here, where the evidence, the players and the setting are limited and where the result is conclusive by the end. It was interesting to see how the murder investigation unfolded, and as a novice mystery reader, I honestly didn’t know what the results would be until it was revealed. The novelty of this genre (to a newbie reader) and the cleverly plotted mystery won me over, and I’ll certainly be reading more Christie in the years to come.

Series: Valkyrie #1
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)

I’m not a big urban fantasy reader, but I certainly enjoyed Between the Blade and the Heart. This new series starter centers around Malin, a Valkyrie-in-training, who discovers that her mother failed to kill an immortal she was assigned to and who is affected by all the consequence of that choice. Sounds fun, right? And in many ways, it was fun. I enjoyed Malin’s journey to resolve the big, world-ending, life-threatening problem that she faces, especially when she gets to team up with some of her friends (old and new, mind you). I thought the world was a touch overwhelming (it’s immortals from all sorts of lore – including Filipino!), but also immensely fascinating because of the possibilities it offered. I was flying through the earliest chapters of this story, thanks to the easy-to-read writing… And then, it hit one stumbling block for me – the romance. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy parts of the romance, because I did. But it was the way that I felt like it wasn’t particularly necessary to the progression of the actual story and would much rather have just focused on the primary plot instead. Still, overall, it was a pleasant read and I do think I’m going to be picking up the sequel to discover what happens next.

Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Series: The Circle Reforged #2
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: January 1, 2007
Source: Purchased the Kindle e-book
Buy the Book: Book Depository | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

I’m pleased that I finally had the chance to read Melting Stones this year! This is the first novel in the Emelan/Circle series that centers around a protagonist other than the four main mages of the series, as it focuses on Evvy as she and Rosethorn journey to the Battle Islands to try to help the island’s inhabitants figure out why there are dead trees, acidic water sources and less magic. It’s a neat little adventure tied up in a bow, and I thought it was real fun to read. It’s deceptively light in tone (especially considering it occurs post-Battle Magic events), but that doesn’t mean the reader doesn’t get a sense of the gravity of the situation. Pierce successfully weaves together a story that is easy to devour and compelling, filling in the spaces with familiar faces (Evvy, Rosethorn and Luvo) and some new characters. Even though this one pales in comparison to its predecessor, I still thought it was worth the read to spend more time in this world and with these folks. It’s definitely something to check out if you’re a fan of the Emelan/Circle series!

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