Posted in Books

Book report: Greatcoats, Admiral, and more!

I don’t have any set quota that I want to hit for reading in 2022, except for “more than the pitiful showing that was 2021.” I usually am working through two titles — one on Kindle, one on Audible — and thought I’d give a report every time I hit five of them. So here are the first five titles I read this year.

Far from the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson

Ostensibly a locked room mystery set on a spaceship, Far from the Light of Heaven suffers from trying to do too many things at once without doing any of them well. Thompson gives us an intriguing setup — a ship full of hibernating passengers that arrives at its destination with dozens dead and no clear suspect — but then muddies things up with too many developments, a weak central story, and a cast that’s all about an inch deep of character development. It was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end, but I knew well before the final chapter that this was a misfire.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

This is my second Kingfisher book after Minor Mage, and now I’m seeing a pattern. Both had a good core concept — here, a teenage girl who has a magical affinity for working with bread and bread alone — both try to be whimsical, and both are kind of very thin and shallow. I liked the concept of a girl learning to use her weird magical talent to save her city more than how it was actually executed, and that’s a shame.

Second-Hand Curses by Drew Hayes

Using the public domain realm of fairy tales, Hayes navigates it with a trio of mercenaries — a guy who climbed a beanstalk, an undead creation, and a werewolf — who are always out for profit. And if the profit happens to help people cursed or plagued by magical scenarios, so much the better. This book is broken up into episodes as the trio go on their journey, and while most are interesting twists on familiar tales, the descriptions sometimes get a little too stilted and awkward for my liking. Still, it was a good read.

Tales of the Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell

I was beyond delighted to return to the Greatcoats world for a fifth book, even though this is a series of short tales instead of a larger narrative. De Castell didn’t give me as many stories as I was hoping (although the “Vol. 1” part is promising), but he made up for it with some great moments, unique characters, “what happened next” answers, and some other perspectives. I really liked one that features a disgraced Greatcoat and a series of other ones that feature a new Greatcoat who’s both fat and an expert in the supernatural. This was a breezy read.

Admiral by Sean Danker

I’d been hearing about this book for a while, so I sprung for an audiobook version a month ago. It’s a scifi survival tale that at least nominally revolves around two mysteries. What’s happened to put four soldiers inside an abandoned spaceship, and who is the main character — the titular Admiral? I was looking forward to some good mystery reveals, but what I found was that the book is mostly about this foursome figuring out how to survive and keep going. It’s fine, just fine. Not quite as amazing as I’d hoped, but it was a decent listen.

One thought on “Book report: Greatcoats, Admiral, and more!

  1. I tend to skip on anthologies and short stories, but I did particularly like the Greatcloaks world and was sad when de Castell ended that series.

    Perhaps I’ll have to take a look at this one. Didn’t even know it existed until your post!

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