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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Books: Heroes in Training 
17th-Jul-2011 09:28 am
Today to Read
I have been nibbling away at Heroes in Training since I received it last weekend. It is a hefty collection of short stories about various apprentices, heirs, and other changings-of-rank in all settings. While the cover illustration implies fantasy, there is a sprinkling of science fiction in the books, most notably the opaque "A Touch of Bule: A Web Shifters Story" by Czerneda. The first story of the book, "Roomies," was cute and light and full of evil giggling girls. It set my expectations up so that I was feeling fluffier than the book's average contents. "Three Names of the Hidden God" was enjoyable for its mysticism and power, as well as the freedom that the ending granted the main character. "Giantkiller" was a smart but overly edited retelling of the Jack and beanstalk story that makes Jack out to be an undercover agent in the humans vs. giants war. The urban fantasy "The Children's Crusade" was the story with the strongest moral/message about our current state of world war, while the culmination of the book - "Sir Apropos of Nothing and The Adventure of the Receding Heir" - was both depressing and solidly conclusive about treachery and the blindness of both leaders and their led.

Like most multiple-contributor short story books anthologies, this one had both excellent and mediocre contributions. It was far meatier than I expected for its size or theme, and somewhat less satisfying at the same time. I suppose that could be due to the reward of accomplishment at the apprentice level being simply more hard work, rather than the laurels of recognition or retirement. There were only a couple of stories where the lack of knowledge about the world or the characters was made obvious to me as a outsider trying to read into that world. And the last story provided a solid ending.


-- New-to-me books read in 2011 (as opposed to re-reads) --

January
Little Dee vol 2
Little Dee vol 3
Unusual Suspects
Harvest Moon
The Black Stallion (yes, I know, I should have read it with Black Beauty)
Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name, with a pre-finished commentary here
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Fang Bangers: An Erotic Anthology of Fangs, Claws, Sex and Love
Must Love Hellhounds
Truthseeker

February
Dark and Stormy Knights
Tortall and Other Lands
River Marked (2/28 - it arrived a day early)

March
Questionable Content, vol 1
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Lifeblood
Magic Bites
Skinwalker, A Jane Yellowrock Novel
Running with the Pack
Magic Burns
Blood Cross

April
"Skyblaze" Adventures in the Liaden Universe #17
Kings of the North
Goblin Tales
Do Not Sniff the Bees, Two Lumps book 6
Magic Strikes
Magic Bleeds
Mercy Blade
The Initiate Brother

May
Angelology
City of Pearl
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses

June
After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar
Magic Slays
Ghost Ship (e-ARC)
Warbreaker

July
Quarter Share
Half Share
Full Share
"Intelligent Design" (short story in the Liaden Universe, published online at Baen)
Heroes in Training
Serenity: Better Days
Serenity: Those Left Behind
Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale

-- Books abandoned rather than completed in 2011 --

February
Sing the Four Quarters, by Tanya Huff

-- Books Still in Progress --
These are books that I haven't totally given up on, I've just... put them aside... for now. And gee, look at how many of them are non-fiction!
The Brand Within
Gamestorming
If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails
Swords and Dark Magic
Battlestations
Wise Man's Fear
Comments 
17th-Jul-2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
Ooh, an Apropos story. The first two books were hilariously dark / darkly hilarious, and I keep meaning to dig up the rest of them.

multiple-contributor short story books

"Anthologies?"
18th-Jul-2011 01:34 am (UTC)
My sister gave me one of the Apropos novels, and I could never get into it. Now that I've read a short story, I understand why. He's a bitter, cynical, introvert. Not my favorite type of character.

Oh, yeah, "anthology." The English language is amazing, sometimes. Oops.
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