Risky Regencies

Three Books and a Movie

This week is devoted to our favorites of the year — and I’ve decided to add a movie to mine. (I’m not sure if this is breaking the rules, but I have Blogger at my fingertips and I’ve gone mad with power!)

There were lots of great books this year, both by my fellow Riskies (who, as we all know, are fabulous writers) and by other folks…but end-of-year time-crunch panic has set in for me (Todd is sick again and I’m picking up the slack with my hey-wait-I’m-lazy-why-are-we-working hands), so I’m just going to talk about a few of them: one book series, and one movie.

My friend Heather (book pusher extraordinaire) turned me on to Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia books. And — wow.

First off: no spoilers! This is one set of books where spoilers are especially spoiling!

Second off: these are high fantasy, though the kind without huge amounts of magic. The world is sort of Greece, a ways in the past. The hero of the first book is a clever, vain, lazy, charming thief who has more heart than he likes to let on. I’m not going to say who the later books are about, because that would be spoilage!

Anyway, there are three books in the series so far:

1) THE THIEF
2) THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA
3) THE KING OF ATTOLIA

And because this is a romance blog, I’ll just mention that at least one of the books involves a really well-done romance — and one that’s so unusual, I can’t think of anything similar I’ve seen in any book. The characters and relationship have been in my head ever since, and I think about them a lot.

So, in short, I’m saying: read these books — and avoid any spoilers (including back-cover blurbs, jacket synopses, or reviews on Amazon) while doing so!

We’ve previously talked about the movie AMAZING GRACE, with Ioan Gruffud as Wilberforce, so I won’t repeat what’s been said.

But it just a really interesting, very enjoyable, and gorgeous to look at movie. (And all the gorgeous actors in it don’t hurt.)

Well, there you have it…my abbreviated “I have to exchange those books then wrap them then mail them then mail the other things then wrap those others and do my cards and then OOPS I was also going to do this and this and that” list of favorites of 2007…

Cara
who has nothing clever to say in her sig line today

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Susan Wilbanks
14 years ago

The Megan Whalen Turner books sound like just my kind of thing. I’m a big fan of fantasy that’s light on magic and has a setting reminiscent of our world–stuff like Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series or Lois McMaster Bujold’s recent fantasies. And, wow, that’s a gorgeous cover on THE KING OF ATTOLIA!

2007 has been the best reading year I’ve had in a long time, I think because I gave myself permission to read whatever I liked, regardless of whether I had a good genre balance or was keeping up with all the most-buzzed-over 2007 releases in any genre I’m considering writing in. My only restriction was to limit myself to no more than one book by the same author per month, because otherwise I burn out on his/her voice.

I haven’t done my best-of list yet. I’m saving that for the first week in January, because I should have lots of time to read next week when I’m off work!

I know I’m bummed because I’m almost out of Sharpe novels, after reading them once a month or even every other month to make them last longer. I’m going to go on to the rest of Cornwell’s works, at least the historicals. I’ve already read the Starbuck series (which he needs to FINISH, dang it), GALLOWS THIEF, REDCOAT, and STONEHENGE, but that leaves all his medievals. But I don’t expect to enjoy them as much as Sharpe, because it’s Not My Era. I’ll have to step out and try some of the lesser-known Napoleonic series to see if they’ll scratch the same itch…but maybe I’ll start at the beginning and re-read Aubrey/Maturin and Sharpe, too. And, you know, work on my WIP, which is very much in the same vein. The one way to be sure of getting exactly the book you want is to write it yourself, but sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and let someone else do the heavy mental lifting of actually producing the story!

doglady
14 years ago

These books sound wonderful! Cannot wait to read them. I actually bought to DVD Amazing Grace, but I have not watched it yet. I think it will be part of my ME afternoon the Sunday after Christmas, which is also the day after my birthday. Nothing but movies, books and food that is bad for me piled into the bed with the dogs and cats.

Cara King
14 years ago

The one way to be sure of getting exactly the book you want is to write it yourself

That’s so true, Susan! And a great incentive to write…

I confess I still have not read either the Sharpe books or the Aubrey/Maturin novels. (But Todd has — does that count?) 🙂

Nothing but movies, books and food that is bad for me piled into the bed with the dogs and cats.

Sounds wonderful….

Cara

Lois
14 years ago

Alas, I haven’t heard of those books, so I never caught them. . . as for my best of 2007. . . um, well, I don’t even remember last week mostly, so I’ll have to work on it a tad. LOL 🙂

Lois

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Thanks so much for the book recs, Cara! I haven’t heard of these, and have been really looking for some great, new-to-me fiction to try. 🙂

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Cara, for that yummy picture of Ioan. And yes, he certainly deserves the word “gorgeous” in two consecutive lines of a two-line paragraph. 🙂 And YES, I have my copy of the DVD of the movie already.

Todd is sick again…

What?! He’s suffering a fever as a result of the wounds he sustained in his defeat with the dueling Howitzers? Tell him to buck up. I’d like to win Round Three of Ehle v. Knightley before I go on vacation. Bertie, O my beau. Go forth thee and fetch and carry for miladay King, so that she may nurse Todd back to health in a presto.

Susan: I loved Cromwell’s Dane medievals!!

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

The books sound wonderful, Cara. I know some friends of mine love the Bujold fantasies. Me, not so much, but that isn’t my favorite stuff to read.

Susan, I listened to the Sharpe series on audiobooks, the version that William Gaminara read. I loved them!

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Oh, and Risky book news, well, from me…

My friend to whom I sent Gentility received her gift, opened it EARLY (dang it), and called to tell me that she was twenty two pages into it and laughing her head off.

I went to Fred Meyer (like the Walmart supercenter around here) today, and guess what I found on the romance shelves? Notorious!!! And shelved with the single titles and also with the categories.

Pam: My copies of Diane’s VV arrived today from eHarlequin. So, yes, that’s definitely the way to go for Diane’s books.

Susan/DC
Susan/DC
14 years ago

When I was reading the Sharpe books, I’d read one and then reward myself with the DVD of that episode of the TV series with Sean Bean. As usual, the books were better as stories, but SB was quite glorious in the role (I love a man who moves well).

Thank you for the book recommendation. I’d heard of neither the books nor the author, so now I’ll have to search. My oldest son is very much into SF/F, and these look like they may be a good gift for him. I love having an excuse to get something I want to read without feeling guilty that I’m adding to my TBR pile. The cover on the one shown is lovely — why can’t romance novels all have such beautiful covers?

Susan Wilbanks
14 years ago

Sean Bean does move well, doesn’t he? And he has such gorgeous hands, and is tied with Avery Brooks on my personal Best Voice in the World list.

Megan Frampton
14 years ago

Those books sound awesome. Thanks for the rec, Cara.

Cara King
14 years ago

Interesting what you say about Todd’s howitzer wound, Keira — he told me he won the duel! Hmm…

I’m sure Bertie would help me, but he’s off to the “maul” again. Of course. 🙂

And, yes, that is a lovely cover. There’ve been at least three covers so far of THE THIEF, her first Attolia book — each one better than the last. (The first was so uninspiring that I owned the book for years before reading it.) I suspect that as her readership grows, her publisher grows more willing to give her good covers!

Cara

doglady
14 years ago

Men had a selective memory when it comes to those sorts of things, Cara! The thought of dear Bertie at the mall frightens me! Is that the way it works? As an author gains readership the covers improve?

Todd
14 years ago

Keira wrote:

What?! He’s suffering a fever as a result of the wounds he sustained in his defeat with the dueling Howitzers?

I suppose that catching a cold due to getting up before dawn could be considered a “wound,” but still, it seems a bit overly dramatic. Next time, I insist, we are dueling at a civilized hour!

Todd-who-is-going-back-to-bed-now

Jenny
14 years ago

This was the year I ended up reading mostly from my library’s stacks. What is currently fashionable in publishing is not my taste. So I’ve been looking for great books I’d missed and finding quite a few.

The best book I discovered–one I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in the Regency–is Napoleon and Josephine: An Improbable Marriage by Evangeline Bruce.

Bruce was a famous society hostess whose husband was an ambassador. She actually lived in the echelons of society we Regency lovers read and write about. She was fluent in French and researched this book for decades. It is the only book she ever wrote, which is a tragedy. It is so good!

Did you know that Josephine was carrying out a passionate affair with someone else most of the time she was married to the big N? That all her teeth were blackened by decay at the time he met her and fell hopelessly into what I would not call love–it’s more like sexual obsession? That’s just the beginning of what she has to tell us.

Beyond that, this was the first book that really gave me a deep understanding of what it was like to live through the French Revolution. I tend to doze off when politics intrudes on social history. Not with this book. It’s like you are there, going through it all with Josephine.

Wonderful book! I am still wondering how I could have missed it when it first came out.

Cara King
14 years ago

Thanks for the recommendation, Jenny! I’ll definitely put that on my list.

BTW, Susan (Wilbanks): I’ve never read the Kushiel series, but I keep hearing about it (and now I have again, in your comment!) So that goes on my list, too!

BTW, Doglady — I bet as a kid you were getting those sad squished “it’s for Christmas and your birthday” presents! You have my sympathy, if that was the case! I had the great luck to be born in the summer, which I always found the ideal spacing. (Except for getting kids to come to your party when you’re six, but that’s another story.)

As an author gains readership the covers improve?

It certainly can work that way… I’m sure it isn’t always the way, but it’s more often than not. And fancier covers, too. In single-title romance, after all, when authors get big they start getting embossed step-back covers and the like, which are more expensive to produce…

Cara

Georgie Lee
14 years ago

I have Amazing Grace at home and I am itching to watch it but I haven’t had time. I’m going to try and get to it this weekend because I really want to see it.

Michelle
Michelle
14 years ago

I love seeing other fans of Megan Whalen Turner. Her books are so amazing. The King of Attolia’s cover is amazing-it really captures the book. I know the series is fantasy but it has one of the most romantic story lines I have ever seen. But it really does need to be read in order. The audioversion is excellent also.

Cara King
14 years ago

Ooh, I didn’t know there was an audio version! I may have to check it out…

And I totally agree about the romantic storyline, Michelle… I like fantasy with or without romance, (and romance with or without fantasy) 🙂 , but there is something extra nice about a book (or series) that’s a really good fantasy, and also a really good romance…

Cara

filkferengi
14 years ago

It’s interesting that you’d mention Lois McMaster Bujold in the same post with Megan Whalen Turner, since Lois recommended MWT most enthusiastically over on her mailing-list. Also, Bujold gets extensive love over on Turner’s LJ community sounis, whence I was referred to your excellent post. It’s great to see superb authors enjoying each other. But then, y’all’d know all about that, ne?

Cara King
14 years ago

Thanks for your comment, filkferengi! I hadn’t realized there was such a correlation between Bujold fans and M W Turner fans… very interesting.

I suppose I can think of two reasons not to be surprised at it:

1) both are fantastic at writing fascinating, difficult characters who the reader gets very invested in… (And both authors also do action, adventure, romance, and world-building really well); and

2) my book-pusher friend Heather recommended both to me! 🙂

I will just say now, there are actually a few authors I’ve found on my own, even without Heather’s help…such as Diana Wynne Jones, E. Nesbit, Barbara Metzger, and Jo Beverley. But she introduced me to Georgette Heyer, Joan Smith, Carla Kelly, Jennifer Crusie, LM Bujold, Robin McKinley, MW Turner, and Vivian Vande Velde… (She has a lot to answer for!)

Cara

Follow
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com
21
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x