Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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I see my TBR pile expanding . . .

What with the fall releases that are about to hit the shelves.

I thought of this because of this:

Although the only one on this list I’d add to mine is THE DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Lani Taylor. I haven’t actually read the first book of this series — DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE — yet, so this is not on the very top of my must-have list. But I’ve heard so much about DAUGHTER that I’m pretty sure I’m going to need the second book, too.

Now, mind you, I like Into The Hall Of Books well enough to look up any of her most-anticipated list; maybe I’ll decide to try them, too. Because, hey, when your TBR pile falls below fifty, maybe it’s time to stock up on new titles, right?

Anyway, I then saw a similar list here., at Love Is Not A Triangle, which may be my favorite book-blog title EVER. I am not nearly so into romance — this probably doesn’t surprise you — and definitely appreciate a blog that rates books on “triangleness”, because I am not very keen on Teenage Angst and Love Triangles and all that.

And on this list? Look! THE RAVEN BOYS by Stiefvater! Now THAT is definitely on the very top of my must-have-it list, because THE SCORPIO RACES was one of my favorite books of the year. And I hadn’t known about it till I saw it here.

What else is on my Fall Must-Buy list?

CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson, because I really loved GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

Lois McMaster Bujold’s new one, whatever that’s called.

THE BLINDING KNIFE by Brent Weeks, because I really enjoyed the first one in the series.

The third one in Martha Wells’ THE CLOUD ROADS trilogy.

And I’d love a bunch of titles that have already been released, but that I’ve been putting off buying. But these are the ones that are actually due out shortly that I MUST HAVE.

What’s on your Fall Must Have list?

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12 Comments I see my TBR pile expanding . . .

  1. Mary Beth

    I preordered Raven Boys a month ago–very excited! And I’m looking forward to Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken, which comes out tomorrow. DEFINITELY Bujold, of course–an Ivan book at last! I do need to pick up Martha Wells’ books–you make ’em sound like just my thing. Otherwise, I’m spending most of my book-budget lately on collecting old C.J. Cherryh books, and I just recently ran into Joan D. Vinge’s Catspaw at Powell’s in Portland and immediately ordered the other two in the trilogy on Amazon. It’s one of the very, very rare times I’ve picked up the second book in the series and not even realized it until ten chapters in. She does such a fantastic job of making the book stand on its own, but still make you NEED to read the others.

  2. Rachel

    Oh, yeah, I still need to read the one by Sarah Rees Brennen that I actually have! My TBR pile was down to a mere 40 books before Worldcon, but now it is up to 49 again . . . I am really trying to read all the ones I have before buying more, but sometimes you just have to make exceptions. And then sometimes you read one and suddenly NEED to get everything else by that author. So reaching the bottom of the TBR pile doesn’t seem likely.

    I have all of CJ Cherryh’s, the only ones I’m not crazy about are the Russian ones (Rusalka etc). For me, it’s hard to beat the Chanur books. Which ones are your favorites?

  3. Elaine t

    The Bujold is CAPTAIN VORPATRIL’S ALLIANCE, and in a fit of ‘nothing to read’ I paid for the e-arc after rereading just about everything else she’s written. (Must revisit SPIRIT RING someday.)

    I have a sneaky fondness for CJC’s Russian books, although I can’t really say why. All that tromping around in wet forests…. Got to be the characters. I also think she was fighting with the same issues she dealt with in the FORTRESS set, but handling them less well. FORTRESS has even clarified for me the ending and threat in the Russian ones. … until she came out with the 5th, anyway. Her website says she’s rewriting the Russian ones, and has finished the first two. I downloaded and compared – it’s mostly on the level of line edits, AFAICT, some things clarified, but the essentials remain the same, and not quite as clear as I’d like.

    I’m very fond of Chanur. And for old CJC, it was the FADED SUN that got me reading her, although I haven’t revisited it in years. These days I suspect I’d be wanting to swat the Mri with cluebats about learning from history instead of repeating it. Mary Beth, which ones are you collecting?

  4. Mary Beth

    I realized this year that while C.J. Cherryh is one of my very favorite science fiction authors (she and Bujold are two of the only ones I’ll reliably read) I haven’t actually read more than a scattered handful of her very many books. I adore the Finisterre books–RIDER AT THE GATE and CLOUD’S RIDER–and wish she’d write more of them. PALADIN, a stand-alone set in an alternate China/Japan, is fantastic. I read the FADED SUN trilogy in high school but remember barely more than one scene from the first chapter, and I’ve only read (and don’t remember much of) a few of the Chanur books. Made it through several of the FOREIGNER books, the first FORTRESS book…and still find my favorites in the Alliance/Union universe, specifically the Merchanter books. I reread both DOWNBELOW STATION and FINITY’S END this weekend and loved them. MERCHANTER’S LUCK and RIMRUNNERS are next up on the list.

    I’ve actually set a goal to read or reread all of her Alliance/Union books, though I suspect there will be some I’ll like more than others–and I still need to read the Russian novels and eventually pick up FOREIGNER and FORTRESS again! But I figure it’ll be a fun goal to work through, and since Jo Walton did a Cherryh reread on Tor.com a while ago it’s always entertaining to go back after reading the book and see what other people thought about it. :)

    I want to swat Cherryh’s characters with cluebats quite often–or take them by the shoulders, shake them, and say, “You’re not in a Mercedes Lackey novel, STOP ANGSTING SO MUCH and go get stuff done!” but somehow I love them anyway. Perhaps because they are so real. Bujold and Cherryh both write about people who happen to live in fantastic worlds with psychic carnivorous horses or spaceships, as opposed to a lot of the male sci-fi writers I’ve tried who write about fancy space-ships that happen to have people piloting them. (This may be an unfair judgment, but I’ve bounced off enough male sci-fi writers that I’ve become a little wary of them, but will pick up a book written by a woman much more readily. They just seem to focus a little more on the things I care about.)

  5. Rachel

    Anybody besides me love COCKOO’S EGG? It’s a great Cherryh story — seriously, try it, and then let me know what you think of the last line. I think it’s a perfect line.

    I’m a Cherryh completest and have all her books, even the obscure ones.

  6. Elaine T

    I absolutely LOVE CUCKOO’S EGG.

    The paperback had a wonderful cover, too, of the alien holding the baby. I think it was Whelan. I nearly mentioned it on your Hugo Art post.

    Alliance/Union is more hit and miss with me. I find DOWNBELOW STATION a slog, all set up and then a mis-timed climax. I prefer the smaller A/U books such as FINITy’s END, MERCHANTER’S LUCK, RIMRUNNERS. CYTEEN is very good, too. I reread it a couple years back for the first time since it came out and it was almost like reading a new book, it had changed so much for the better. Originally I’d thought it impressive, but not engaging. Now it is engaging, too, even though the some of the assumptions the characters labor under are abominable. I cheered at the funeral when the oldster gave the younger generation what for.

    SERPENT’S REACH is very far down the timeline of A/U. HUNTER OF WORLDS seems to be stand alone. WAVE WITHOUT A SHORE, too. I may be alone in liking that one – I blame all the philosophy I had to read in college.

    PALADIN is an excellent book to recommend to people who don’t like genre. And years ago I read someone’s analysis of the opening comparing it to Chinese (IIRC) literature. She pointed out that it echoed forms and ended as if the speaker had sat down and folded his hands. I wish I could find it again – it was on Usenet at least fifteen years ago.

    I too would like more Finisterre stories. I remember her webpage saying something like ‘if CLOUD’S RIDER sells well, I’ll do more, if not, the publisher won’t buy them.” Maybe now with ebooks she’ll write more anyway, and put them out herself.

  7. Mary Beth

    Maybe I should start a letter-writing campaign begging her for a Finisterre ebook. That’s the only Cherryh I’ve ever been tempted to write fanfiction for, although I’d never dare try.

    I liked FINITY’S END and TRIPOINT a lot more than DOWNBELOW STATION, but I still found things to enjoy about DS — I found all the characters fascinating, but especially Signy Mallory and Josh Talley and the complexity of their evolving interactions.

    Though now as I’m reading, Rachel, I keep remembering your post on exposition. Cherryh does it in spades, but it’s so compelling!

    I reread PALADIN every couple of years. It’s one of the few books — like Guy Gavriel Kay’s UNDER HEAVEN — that do such a great job of establishing a place that isn’t China but feels like it. I love how grounded and earthy PALADIN is, even in the midst of heroism. It’s great.

    The only Cherryh books I haven’t been able to make it through are the HEAVY TIME/HELLBURNER duology, and I can’t figure out why. Paul Dekker should hit all my narrative kinks, but last time I tried to reread the duology I couldn’t make it past chapter two. CYTEEN gives me a headache, but even so I can make it through. I guess it’s time to give HEAVY TIME another try.

    CUCKOO’S EGG first, though!

  8. Rachel

    I love PALADIN and re-read it now and then — maybe I will again now that I’m thinking of it. WAVE WITHOUT A SHORE — I have it, but it seems to have left very little imprint in my memory, not sure I ever read it twice. But then I was *not* a philosophy major.

    For me, DOWNBELOW STATION is — not a slog, exactly, but not my favorite; I like the shorter Merchanter ones better. But I LOVE CYTEEN, except when I re-read it, I skip the part up to when the young Ari is born. I also enjoyed the sequel to CYTEEN, REGENESIS, but I don’t think it would stand alone at all. I just enjoyed watching all the characters I love have their lives straighten out, they all get happy endings, basically, and I love that.

    I have to admit that the CLOUD’S RIDER duology is also not my favorite — I was SO peeved at how the characters were suckered into taking care of that horrible little girl not just in one book, but in both. But I really enjoyed the telepathic horses. “Give me bacon!”

    I hope you like the HELLBURNER duology better the next time around, Mary Beth, I did enjoy them both very much, though they’re not in my CJ Top Ten.

    Which, hey, there’s an idea! What *is* on my CJ Top Ten?

    Okay, not in order:

    Cockoo’s Egg, the Chanur series (can’t pick one), the Faded Sun trilogy (which I think is just one long book), Paladin, Cyteen, Voyager in Night, the Fortress of Eagles, Explorer (that’s Foreigner #6, where they free the captive alien from the human station), umm . . . how many is that? Okay, maybe Merchanter’s Luck and Goblin Mirror. Not sure about Goblin Mirror, but I did like it a lot.

  9. Elaine T

    Top ten (or so) CJC books? hmm… there’s a certain amount of ‘what I read last.’ But ones that either haunt me or I go back to frequently are: The four Fortress (Rachel, just EAGLES?) which like CHANUR are really one story; CHANUR (all of ’em); FORGE OF HEAVEN (not just due to the fashionistas being heroic, but it helps); GOBLIN MIRROR; WAVE WITHOUT A SHORE; CUCKOO’s EGG; PALADIN; VISIBLE LIGHT (short story collection, especially the story about the wizard that she wrote on a postcard at a convention); FADED SUN; FINISTERRE; GEHENNA. EXPLORER, if that was the Atevi one where we see Bren doing the linguist thing with the new aliens.

  10. Rachel

    I very much enjoyed all the Fortress ones except I wasn’t as impressed by the latest, the one where there’s a good bit from the pov of the boys, Elfwyn and whatever the other one’s name is. But F of Eagles is definitely my favorite. I really enjoyed watching Tristan catch his balance in the modern world and establish his authority and everything.

    Maybe I should re-read WAVE W/OUT A SHORE. Yes, I love the postcard story, that story collection is well worth owning just for that. It’s interesting to me that everyone else seems to be putting the FINISTERRE ones up higher than I do.

    ALSO! !!! I just remembered a novella called “The Scapegoat,” in a three-novella collection called ALIEN STARS that also included stories from Haldeman and Timothy Zahn. Cherryh’s story in there is fabulous and I hereby elevate it to my Top Ten Cherryh list and drop, um, GOBLIN MIRROR off to make room.

  11. Elaine T

    WAVE is an early stab at a character with Ari’s problem of no one to bounce off of. Also the planet was settled by … solipsists, I think. The ones who think they control reality by thinking? The person with the strongest thoughts rules/wins. Throw in a gifted artist and then war coming to the planet. “Characters think they control reality. Reality corrects them.”

    FINISTERRE scratches my mindspace that likes Westerns, and enjoys seeing a writer tackle the practical difficulties of empathic links with animals. I’d like to see more of Danny and Carlo and Guil and Tamra.

    I must have read “Scapegoat” but don’t remember it at all. Must look it up again.

    If I had to pick one FORTRESS it would be the first. I like watching Tristan and Cefwyn and Cefwyn with everyone else. There’s more of that in the first than elsewhere.

  12. Rachel

    Okay, yes, when I think about it, me too with the first FORTRESS book. Except when I re-read it, I tend to gloss over the part before Tristan meets Cefwyn. But I love the complicated relationships between Cefwyn and his brother, and the way Cherryh builds that into a positive relationship when it might have gone the other way; and the early part where Cefwyn and his future wife are working things out — lots of great dialogue in there.

    “Scapegoat” might be tagged in your mind as “Neverneverland”, which I thought was the title until I went and looked. You can see an early attempt to create a species with an alien mindset.

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