Tag Archives: tanya huff

Very Specific Book Recs: Books without Romance by Amanda

Sometimes I have a great deal of sympathy for tiny Ben Savage in The Princess Bride when he doesn’t want to listen to “the kissing parts.”  Sometimes, the kissing parts are the last thing you want.  Whether it’s because you’re lonely or because of a recent heartbreak or because you like being single and wish authors would write books where it’s okay to be single, goddamn it, WE DON’T ALL HAVE TO END UP WITH SOMEBODY, OKAY or you know, whatever less reveling about me reason you might have, here a few books with little to no romance in them, thank god.

mechaniqueMechanique by Genevieve Valentine

Where to start with Mechanique.  It has steampunk sensibilities and a non-chronological timeline.  It also has a circus and is about family of choice and doing what is right, even if that’s not nice or easy.  It’s about people who have found a place in a world that is falling apart and who are willing to fight to keep that place, and the people who make it up, safe.  It’s evocative and moving and so, so lovely.  Read it now.

 

772606Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

Space Marines!  With Tanya Huff’s wonderful sense of humor!  What, you need more?  Alright.  The main character, Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr, is a complete badass and I’m not sure if I’d rather be her or marry her.  It’s the start of a series, but only this first one is romance free.  Fair warning, these books are about active duty soldiers and can be heartbreaking, despite the well-developed humor throughout.

 

71X23Oy4s6LThe Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen claims he can steal anything.  He backs his claim by stealing an official seal from an important government minister.  Due to his bragging after the fact, Gen is caught and thrown into prison.  The king’s Magus offers Gen a deal.  Steal the unstealable, a mythical gem that will win the Magus’s king the right to rule the next kingdom over, and Gen can go free.  Is Gen up to the task?  Read the book and find out!

 

pegasusPegasus by Robin McKinley

I hesitate to recommend this one because it is the first half (or third, depending on which of Robin McKinley’s blog posts you’ve read) of a book and ends on what may be the biggest cliffhanger I’ve ever experienced.  The second half (or third) has not been published yet and the last I saw on McKinley’s blog said it was due out in 2014 and, well, *looks around at all the 2015 up in here*.  That said, if you’re good at dealing with cliffhangers, this is a really, really fantastic book.  Where it shines is the (non-romantic!) relationships between the characters.  Father to daughter, friend to friend, princess to wizard, they’re all fascinating.  Whatever else is to come, this first half (or third) of the book is truly fantastically written.
18p0vr2afhl88jpgYou by Austin Grossman

Oh, You.  I first read it when I was the same age as the protagonist and it really spoke to my wandering-late-20s-what-am-I- doing-with-my-life soul.  It is largely a book about video games and the video game industry, but other than the occasional bout of Tetris with my mom and step-sister, I haven’t played video games since about 1996 (when the old Nintendo finally crapped out on us) and I never felt left out of anything while reading this book.  It’s also a book about building relationships, finding where you belong, and self-exploration.  It’s a bit slow at times but lovely nonetheless.
81dSlqYK3SLThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

To paraphrase kids these days, I can’t even with Ursula K. Le Guin.  She’s beyond amazing and if I were to ever meet her in person, my fangirl weeping would surely embarrass us both.  The thought, the depth, the understanding of humanity she puts in her writing is both inspiring and breathtaking.  Not to oversell her or anything.  This book explores gender, how society functions, friendship (oh my goodness, the friendship!  Seriously, can’t even), and basic human nature.  Seriously, so read all the Ursula K. Le Guin you can, as soon as you can.  You won’t regret it.
*Inspired by a request for recommendations from the marvelous Miranda and suggestions from the lovely Liyana.

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Amanda enjoys making people laugh and receiving compliments about her pretty, pretty hair.

 

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Who is Your Favorite Fictional Villain?

Today, some of the Sheroes Blog editors dive into their favorite fictional villains and sheroes.

Zoë says: 

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My favorite villain is Hell (or an aspect thereof) from the book Summon the Keeper (Book #1 of The Keeper’s Chronicles) by Tanya Huff. The Keeper’s Chronicles are an incredibly engaging comic-fantasy trilogy, and the first book features the adventures of Claire, her feline sidekick, and a cast of other well-developed characters after Claire is called to deal with a gateway to you-know-where in the basement of a Guest House in Kingston, Ontario.  Hell (or some incarnation thereof) is discovered to be hanging out in the basement, sealed in by the actions of a previous Keeper, but trying quite persistently to escape.  Huff imagines this aspect of Hell as a multi-personalitied, witty, but not altogether brilliant “villain” desperately trying to encroach on the minds of the inhabitants of the Guest House.
Read this if you like light, witty fantasy along the lines of Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, or Patricia C. Wrede.
Ratesjul says:
coverI always find it hard to pick favourites of anything, whether it’s books or authors or characters (or even specifically villains)…. So I’ll give you two. One of my favorite characters is Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter of Three Firs (Elizabeth Moon’s Sheepfarmer’s Daughter and sequels). I like Paks because, well, she’s human. She has flaws, and admits to them, and strives to better herself. She goes from little or nothing to honors, and back again. She stumbles into traps, and extricates herself, but will also give in, when it seems best. I guess what I like most about her is that she fights, she doesn’t really give up (and giving in is not giving up), and even as a mercenary she won’t just follow blindly.

20020712022127_105Another favorite character is Elizabeth from V M Caldwell’s The Ocean Within and Tides. I like Elizabeth because she struggles to continue to be herself, to fit within a tug of war between her need to not let anyone matter in case they go away, and to find her place. Particularly when it comes to a small boy who calls her turtle and worms his way into her heart. I read somewhere that there was originally a third book, set between the two of these, and I’d love to read it and see how the family changed in between. Even discovering these books as an adult, I love the characters.

TamLinAs for a favorite villain, I’m not so sure…. So many of them don’t really stick with me as much as the heroes and sheroes do. (I guess I like the happy endings!) One that sticks the most is Tam Lin, who doesn’t particularly have much of a choice in the matter of being a villain. In some ways he isn’t the villain – he is a product of the life he lives (or is forced to live) – but to Janet, in some ways, I guess he is.

Marie says:

119322Compelling villains are the backbone of good literature! I don’t even know where to start. I’m always most taken in by insidious, surprise villains, where you don’t know they’re bad until close to the end. Mrs. Coulter from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is one of those villains. You can almost feel how evil this cloying, beautiful woman is but it’s not until the main character herself figures it out that you realize just how truly horrible Mrs. Coulter is.

As for a favorite character, again, I could pick a thousand! But I’ll stick with His Dark Materials, since those books are fantastic and if you haven’t read them yet and you like young adult fantasy that is deep and sweet and smart, you need to read them ASAP. My favorite character is Lyra Belacqua, the main character,  the girl-who-saves-the-world. She does this, with extreme personal sacrifice, at the age of twelve. She is wild and tough and vulnerable and loving and her sharp as a knife little-girlness is pitch perfect, as is her wrestle with what it means to grow up.

 

We want to know: who is your favorite fictional villain? Who is your favorite fictional shero?

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Marie, Ratesjul, and Zoë are Sheroes Blog editors who fight crime…er…read a lot of books in their free time.

 

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