First, the sequel to Take the Star Road, last week’s review, is out! I haven’t started to read it yet, but I’m sure I will enjoy it just as much as the last book. Peter Grant also reviewed Vulcan’s Kittens, an unexpected pleasure for me, as I hadn’t anticipated he would want to read it, although I’d sold a copy to Dorothy at LibertyCon. Click on cover to go to the new book:
Into my reading last week. I had planned to read and review just one book, but you know how it goes. One thing leads to another. I picked up Kai Starr’s Three Ways From Sunday, and once finished, segued into Celia Hayes’ To Truckee’s Trail. It’s hard to imagine two more different books, although nominally in the same genre. Both are tales of Old West, although at different eras. But they diverge in style of storytelling and practically everything else.
Three Ways from Sunday is an odd book to read. I found it technically well done, fluid dialogue, tightly plotted, and draws you on through the story until the very end. Now that I am sitting here trying to think of what it was like, though… the only thing that comes to mind is the movie Sin City. Where dark, gritty violence is the undercurrent sucking at everything in the story, and the main characters – I can’t call them heroes – have already been sucked under. Even the ending is ambiguous, leaving you staring at the screen wondering what will become of them after this.
To Truckee’s Trail is a very different story. It reads like non-fiction, very good non-fiction, with immaculate research and a strong grasp on what it would have been like to travel the Oregon Trail, with the divergence to California. The characters come alive on the pages through narration, letters, and journal entries, showing a depth of honor, morality, and simple determination that is inspiring to read. i found myself contemplating my own ancestor’s journey to Oregon on that trail as I read. I have read a lot of material on the Trail over the years, both fiction and non-fiction, and I cannot say enough about Hayes’ ability to bring history to poignant life on the page.
I am enjoying this exercise, not only in reading fascinating books, but in the ability it gives me to have an excuse to read. But today I have about three thousand more word to write on Pixie Noir, shooting to have it done by mid-August, at least in rough draft form. And the reviews and feedback on Vulcan’s Kittens are so good to hear, I know I owe my readers a sequel soon, so busy writer fingers will be flying over the keyboard a lot this summer and fall. Taking a break to read is a good thing!