Due to the one book I did read being 900 pages, dense and alas, boring.
DREADNOUGHT: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War by Robert K. Massie caught my eye because I love reading about the Victorian era and I’m also fascinated by the strange, lumbering march that Europe took to the killing fields of WW I. Unfortunately I also love books that are focused and not just crammed to the bursting with loosely related facts, and Massie falls flat on that regard. It’s not about the coming of the war as much as the previous 60 years of politicis in England, Germany (England gets more detail) and France, not to mention the colonial disputes and naval rivalries (Britain saw Germany’s building a stronger Navy as a direct threat to its own wall of protective ships) that made it tougher for the two nations to come into accord. Plus biographies of every prime minister and major politician, in far more detail than I needed. And where Battle Cry of Freedom‘s in-depth exploration of 1800s US politics clearly showed how the Civil War eventually became inevitable, I have absolutely no idea how much of this really affected the path Europe took. A useful reference but a tedious, meandering read.
FOILED by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro (cover by Cavallaro, all rights remain with current holder) starts off with a good, though familiar set-up: protagonist Aliera is a high school outcast, gifted fencer, crushing on a boy she doesn’t think knows she’s alive, wondering why she can’t get that obviously fake gem off this cheap foil her mom bought at a sale … and while familiar, it worked fairly well. By the end of the book, though, it turns out Aliera’s a Chosen One and we’re in familiar urban fantasy territory. And even though I should like fantasy more than a straight Y/A romance, I didn’t.