For the last few days or so I have been reading Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe. It’s apparently an omnibus edition of the first two books in a series, which makes sense—I’m past the middle and into the Claw.
I put it in Science Fiction on my Kindle but keep forgetting that it’s not Fantasy. It’s got swords and torturers (or a sword and a torturer, in the second book), but the walls of the guild oubliette—which doesn’t particularly resemble the mechanic from Crusader Kings II—are made of metal and characters speak casually of humanity once exploring the stars but are presently relegated to a certain cold world around a dying star.
The book is very dark at times, what with the main character being, again, a torturer. There’s plenty else that I wont spoil, for that matter, but it isn’t all like that.
I am very fond of the writing style, especially after recently giving up on a book largely for that reason. It’s important! Especially when all I can think while I’m reading is “I could do this better,” which believe me is no complement. The digressions, and particularly the digressions accompanied by the narrator insisting that they’re completely irrelevant but you’re going to have to put up with them because it’s his account, are often the best parts. It flows; it’s enjoyable; I’m always reluctant to put it down when the train pulls into the station. My biggest caveat is really that I hope nobody is reading over my shoulder…
The book I would really rather be reading, however, is Ian McDonald’s Luna: Wolf Moon, the unfortunately titled (and also delayed) sequel to Luna: New Moon; “Game of Thrones in Space” according to some but “Hard Science Fiction Dune” to me. I say unfortunately titled because you would expect a completely different genre from what it actually is—at least for the most part! Alas, while it finally appears to be out I cannot afford it right now. Instead I’m stuck with humble bundles and ebook givaways, but the moral of the story is that those aren’t all bad.