(x) George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones. 160 pages is how far I got in this before puking (metaphorically) and giving up. I'm generally against making moral judgments about books, but all of these characters are awful humon beings and I don't need to be spending my time on them. I think I got the key insight for my Grimdark cozy mystery, though - in a normal cozy mystery everyone has a perfectly nice facade, and the detective has to figure out which one is secretly reprehensible. In Grimdark the situation is reversed. The thing still doesn't have characters or a pot or anything, so who knows if I'll ever write it anyway.
(1) Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria. Alena recommended this to me on Twitter when I asked for comfort reads by non-white authors. It's not going to be that for me. My first reaction to it was to be thrilled to be reading someone whose sentences are longer than mine, which doesn't happen much, at least outside of Paarfi-related contexts, and of course we all know how Paarfi is well-known, respected, and, yes, I dare say, even revered, put above all others, for his brevity, that most important and indispensible of writerly virtues. But before long it was dragging, mostly because I never really found a reason to care about Jevick, who seems to be discontented with his lot as a political football for not-very-talented football players but unwilling to actually take any action to change things. It's hard enough when a book alternates between perspectives and you only care about one of them, but in this case the perspective I cared about only appeared for most of chaper seventeen. By then I figured I might as well finish, but overall, I didn't find it very satisfying.
(2) Diane Duane, Games Wizards Play. This, on the other hand, went very fast, as tenth books in favorite series ought to. Duane continues to stall on the inevitable progress of the main Nita and the Lone Power plot, but there's a bit in this one which makes me much more confident that she'll go the right direction with it once she actually gets there. This book suffers somewhat from the idea that YAs ought to have large, arbitrary competitions which no one has ever heard of in the universe before, and it's a large book for that. But at least hers has some grounding in the reality of the world. Still, this isn't one of the better installments in the series, as the plot takes 550 pages to show up, and the puzzle aspect of it isn't knowable. And of course, as usual there's not nearly enough Carmela. Pluto is pretty cool, though, and I really enjoy the choice to pitch Jupiter and Saturn as adorable.