I’m a big fan of the late Sheri S. Tepper — though I do find her heavy Western Union a bit much at times — but I can see why so many people hate THE WATERS RISING. The first chapter with a wanderer and his talking horse is great, but bogs down soon afterwards as the villain spends several pages expositing about her evil history and evil, evil plan. And then we get more discussions of history, geography, taking up several chapters … It didn’t help that this setting, despite Tepper’s weird trappings, is stock post-apocalypse SF. Disappointing.
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY by Genevieve Cogman (cover by Adam Auerbach, all rights remain with current holder) is the first in a series I look forward to reading more of. The protagonist, Irene, works for the title institution which sends librarians between worlds hunting for rare or unique volumes, such as a particular collection of Grimm stories available in one steampunk fantasy world. There Irene and her more-than-he-seems aide Kai meet a Sherlock Holmes type, investigate a vampire’s murder and grappling with the deadly threat of Lichtenstein, one of the world’s most powerful nations. Fun, although the implication the library is mired in internal politics and power plays I could have done without (pretty much any magical organization in a contemporary fantasy is sneaky and sinister and mired in internal politics).
THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE by Patrick Ness is a great concept — what’s life in Sunnydale (or Vampire Diaries‘ Mystic Falls) for the kids who aren’t the monster-slayer or her circle of friends. Unfortunately while the opening of each chapter is hysterical (a parody showing what Buffy and the Scooby Gang, so to speak, are up to), the rest of it turns out to be just a conventional Y/A mainstream novel. Where Kurt Busiek’s Marvels or Astro City always makes it clear the human characters live in a very strange world, this one’s just too mundane for me (even though one of the characters is one-quarter god).