Mean Streets by Jim Butcher
rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mean Streets is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a while. It only has four different pieces in it, but they’re all novellas, and all by strong, experienced writers. I don’t think any of them are here riding on someone else’s name on the book cover.
Jim Butcher’s “Warrior,” the first piece, is very good. It follows Harry and the Carpenter family after they experienced some major changes in the last Dresden novel. I could have stood a little more Molly, but Harry and Michael were the focus characters and they worked out some things that really needed to be dealt with. I’m glad I read this before the next Dresden novel, because I feel there’s important character development. I seriously recommend this book to all Dresden fans.
I haven’t read any of Simon R. Green’s novels, though I’ve heard of the Nightside series and thought about picking one up. If “The Difference a Day Makes” is typical, though, I may not bother. He is a good writer, so I’m not sure what it is that bothered me so much. I know that something framed as one of the nastiest things people could choose to do in this piece isn’t even in my top 10, but I feel there’s something else that I just can’t quite articulate yet.
I’ve read all three of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker novels and enjoyed them enough that I plan to keep reading. “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” is my favorite piece of her work, hands down. There’s more light, somehow, and that’s important to me.
“Noah’s Orphans” is my first exposure to Thomas E. Sniegoski, as far as I can recall. It was an interesting piece. I found myself wondering about Remy Chandler’s past, about how the character has developed. If there are novels featuring that character, I may give them a read. In any case, it brought up some interesting questions about faith and obedience. I think it would have been more personally relevant to me about 20 years ago, though.
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I didn’t sleep very well last night, although I managed to stay up all day yesterday (unusual lately). Unfortunately, I ended up sleeping most of the day, today, and I’m still sleepy! So I hope I can sleep well again, tonight.
I have a fever, too, so apparently pushing myself to not nap was a bad idea. Doctor’s orders are still to lay down 15 minutes of every hour, which makes it difficult to get much done at a time. Oh well. It’s better than a fever.
The girl got home safely, but didn’t go out with her friends tonight as planned due to a threatening migraine. They didn’t really see much of the meteor shower, because the skies were too cloudy, but they did have fun.
I finished reading the second of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker books today, Poltergeist. Very good stuff, and a nice change from some of the too-common urban fantasy themes. The library is holding Underground for me, which I hope to pick up tomorrow.
My real-life drama tolerance circuits were totally burned out with marriage v.3. I’m cool with that. I was able to handle much more of it in fiction, though I’m not big on whiney characters.
I guess the Stephanie Meyer backlash is still with me, though, because after finishing the fifth of Laura Anne Gilman’s Retriever novels, Falling Free, I tried reading Anne Bishop’s Tangled Webs.
I just started reading Bishop earlier this year, and truly enjoyed the earlier Realms of the Blood books. I did notice that everybody in the books is more than slightly high-strung, and that (as is so often the case), good communication skills would have largely removed most the plot premises.
I mean, yeah, evil people plot, what are you going to do about it? Stick together and talk to the people you care about, dammit! Never believe you’ve been betrayed without doing some fact-checking, at the very least!
But I just got a few chapters into Tangled Webs, and there they go again. I think lithium needs to be added into the water table of this universe.
I’m disappointed, because I do enjoy many things about Bishop’s writing. Maybe I’ll give that one another try someday in the future. For now, it goes back to the library.
Greywalker by Kat Richardson is next on the stack!