September goes out (with a) fast

I haven’t felt like blogging for the last couple of months. My head has been elsewhere, mostly because of the extended birthday tour and celebrations – thanks Susan! – which I do need to cover at some point. Gaming has also suffered. Too many things to do, not enough time. Maybe the situation will improve after Yom Kippur. Certainly, Sukkot should be a good break and another chance to recharge my batteries.

To those fasting, may it be meaningful and easy.

Gmar chatima tovah – גמר חתימה טובה

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

The second of an unfinished fantasy trilogy, this book continues the biographical narrative by Kvothe, as he tells the story of his life to a scribe. Around this island of history, we get hints of a world on fire, with death and destruction circling in the background and perhaps getting closer with every chapter in the telling.

The quality of the writing also continues the same high standard on show in the first book, and it is an immensely enthralling tale in the main. I would exclude from that one extended sexual encounter which simply did not work for me. Or, it didn’t work because it went on for too long and bored me. That apart, there were plenty of surprises, some loose ends tantalizingly dangled in front of us to – no doubt – give some meaty hooks for the next book to connect to.

It’s not the absolute best of the genre that I have read (as mentioned last time) but I’ll be getting the next book whenever it finally appears.

If you like fantasy fiction, this is a pretty close thing to a sure bet.

The Killing – David Hewson

This is a novelization of a Danish television series that has attracted rave reviews for matching – if not exceeding – the high quality of the source material. The story is simple, but complex. The simple part is that a young girl is found, murdered, having been brutalized then dumped to drown in the boot of a car driven into a lake. The complex part is unraveling how she got there and who did it.

The central police character is a somewhat loose cannon called Sarah Lund. She is supposed to be going off to Sweden to start a new life with her son and boyfriend. But her last day turns up the young girl’s body, and from there things spiral out of control.

One reason for the chaos is that there is an election going on for the mayor, and the key challenger and his party are dragged in to the investigation. Politics being what it is (or can be) the truth about who was where, and when, and what they were doing, is not something the witnesses are so keen to divulge. So false lead follows false lead, until the investigation appears to be eating its one tail. At the same time, the distraught parents are eager for news and justice.

This is a brilliantly constructed crime story. The writing is terse, short, descriptive, and full of non stop action and an ever changing focus. Lund is a whirlwind, and her partner Meyer suffers from the fallout. There’s a bitter inevitability about the hunt that the author postpones with surprise after surprise. It’s a great example of a page turner that left me gasping for breath at the end, while simultaneously trying to work out how all the loose ends came together.

In short, it’s great.