Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013 Reading, Books 76-78

76) A More Unbending Battle, by Peter N. Nelson.

An account of the Harlem Hellfighters (i.e. the 369th Infantry Regiment), an African American regiment who fought as part of a French division in 1917-18. They quickly gained a reputation for valor and were treated well by both their French brothers-in-arms and the civilian population--but weren't as welcome at home afterward.

77) Assassin's Gambit, by Amy Raby.

This is a fantasy romance, wherein a young woman from a conquered land has trained from childhood to assassinate an emperor, only to discover upon getting close to her target that both he and his nation's political situation are more complex than she realized. I liked it a whole lot and was intrigued by the setting--reminiscent of imperial Rome, but with magic and roughly 18th-century military technology. My only issue--and I feel guilty for saying this because I write romance novels myself and love the genre--is that I think I would've enjoyed it more if it had been a romantic fantasy instead of a fantasy romance. (By romantic fantasy I mean something like Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series, which are both sexy and romantic, but where the romance plot comes second to the political intrigue and war.) Because there are few things I love more than a well-constructed fantasy world, and Raby hinted at so much interesting history and magic and intrigue and war that I wished she had more room for that side of the story.

(Incidentally, this book warrants a bit of a content warning. To go into detail would be to spoil a major plot point, but suffice it to say the heroine's past has some sexual trauma we eventually revisit on the page.)

78) The Bookseller's Daughter, by Pam Rosenthal.

For the 2013 TBR Challenge. Detailed post to come.

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