shadowfireflame: (Sherlock in Molly's lab)
[personal profile] shadowfireflame
It’s been a great summer of books for me, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

-- The Oliver & Jack series by Christina E. Piltz (starts with Fagin’s Boy)
After I finished C.S. Pacat’s astounding Captive Prince series, I was desperate for something to fill the gap, and this series did it for me. Yes, it’s basically a continuation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist novels but with a very, very slow-building romantic relationship between Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger (Jack Dawkins here). Absolutely incredible, meticulously researched historical m/m that has a lot to say about life in the Dickensian era and class-based hardship. The fifth novel in the series has just been released. The parts in the workhouse reminded me of one of my favorite Sherlock fanfics, Chryse’s brilliant The Frost is All Over.

--The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (who also helped found AO3 and writes great fanfic, which is how I found out about this series!)
I very much liked her novel Uprooted, but I just adored this series and its two adorable main characters to pieces. This is an alternate history set in the early 1800s in which the British are fighting Napoleon…via exciting aerial combat on specially trained dragons! Will Laurence is a stiff and proper navy man, captain of his ship, when they engage in battle with the French and capture a precious dragon egg. When it hatches onboard, Laurence names the dragon Temeraire, and they form a special lifelong bond (the dragon talks!). This series just flew by: the world-building is rich and the action scenes are thrilling, but it’s really the three-dimensional characters that make the world come alive. There is a little het romance (because there are awesomely badass female dragon riders), but the novel focuses more deeply on the bonds of friendship, community, and duty, and the deep relationship between Laurence and Temeraire. Fans of the Horatio Hornblower miniseries will love this! I’ve been told I should tackle Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series after this, so it’s on my to-read list. EDIT November 2016: I'm reading this series now and totally loving it!

--We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
All is not what it seems in this suspenseful family drama featuring four teen friends from a wealthy family and the summer everything went wrong. Cadence (Cady) Sinclair, her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and her boyfriend Gat form the “Liars,” a tight-knit group that meets every summer on a private island off Martha’s Vineyard owned by Cady’s grandfather. While Cady’s narration is often strange and stilted, it’s worth fighting through it for the realistic portrayals of old-money problems (the horrors of racism, secrets, and masks for the preservation of the family’s “image”), the foreboding atmosphere, and the devastating ending (worthy of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief) that brilliantly ties everything together.

Date: 2016-10-01 02:48 pm (UTC)
ancientreader: black and white pet rat (Default)
From: [personal profile] ancientreader
Oooh, thank you for the rec of the Oliver and Jack series! I found the Captive Prince series compelling and enthralling -- all that rage, grief, and forgiveness, and, okay, the smoking-hot UST; the plot; the wit; the fact that Damen and Laurent are both morally complicated characters -- and of course, I love "The Frost Is All Over." Anyway, I've been hoping there was something else to scratch the itch for well-done long-form romance, and I haven't had any luck looking on my own. BUT NOW !!! NOW !!!!!

/yours from the Land of ... um ... Great Expectations,/
snarryfool/ancientreader

Date: 2016-10-01 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shadowfireflame.livejournal.com
Haha, yay! I hope you will like them. Oliver & Jack is definitely different than Captive Prince, but that very slow progression of almost-enemies-to-lovers, the moral complication, and the attention to detail are wonderful. I'd love to hear what you think! :)

Date: 2016-11-04 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smills47.livejournal.com
Many thanks for the Temeraire recommendation! I've now finished the first volume, and Temeraire is just flat-out charming (including when gloating over his jewelry). The second volume has now come in for me at the library.

I strongly second the recommendation for Patrick O'Brian. You will recognize the mise-en-scene, just no dragons. To quote Jack Aubrey, there is not a moment to be lost!

Date: 2016-11-04 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shadowfireflame.livejournal.com
Yay, I'm glad you're liking Temeraire! Isn't he so sweet? :) I'm partial to Laurence and his devotion to his notions of duty as well. And it's great that the series is finished now so it feels more complete.

And absolutely, I'm pleased to report that I'm already on the second of the Aubrey & Maturin series and adoring it--thank you also for the rec! The books are fantastically witty and wonderful! I keep laughing out loud at the things that happen on deck, and O'Brian's amusingly understated writing style. Everyone was totally right that fans of one would like the other. :)

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