A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny is now one of my favorites in the Three Pines series. Along with other followers of this well-loved series, I want to live in Three Pines and interact with Ruth (and Rosa), Gabri, Olivier, Myrna, Clara and other villagers.
The Great Reckoning takes place partly in Three Pines and partly at the Surete Academy of Quebec. After nearly dying in his attempt to clean up the corruption in the Surete, Chief Inspector Gamache takes a new position as Commander of the Surete's Academy with the intention of getting rid of the vicious practices (and individuals) put in place by the previous adminsitration and intended to continue the corruption in the Surete itself. The practices are ingrained and the solutions will be challenging.
As usual, Gamache's approach is unconventional. His decisions about which professors to keep and which to get rid of and which young applicants to accept cause surprise and concern even among those who know and trust Gamache. When some of his decisions result in unanticipated and unwelcome events, Gamache and some of the young cadets are endangered.
I love this series, and A Great Reckoning exceeded my expectations. This may be the best so far in this series...or do I say that too often?
Police Procedural. 2016. 400 pages.
Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson has been on my TBR list since Lark mentioned it. Funny, poignant, and Salingeresque are some of the terms used to describe the novel, and I found all of them to be appropriate.
When the reclusive author M.M. Banning finds herself in financial difficulties, she knows she must write another book, the first in decades. In order to do so, she needs an assistant to manage her household--mostly as a nanny for her nine-year-old son Frank, an eccentric genius with an unusual wardrobe, an encyclopedic store of facts, and a few other quirks that make him uniquely interesting, vulnerable, and often difficult to manage.
Enter Alice Whitley, who at the request of her boss Isaac Vargas, Banning's publisher leaves New York to join the Banning household in Hollywood.
Parts of the novel are funny and joyful, but while we may love and admire a child like this in literature and revel in his eccentricities--life isn't always easy or fun for the child or for those who love him. Julia Claiborne Johnson makes the most of both of these aspects without going overboard with the fact that children like Frank are alienated from their peers.
Be Frank with Me was a pleasure.
Contemporary fiction. 2016. 309 pages.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison was a compelling introduction to her new trilogy. I read The Thousand Kingdoms trilogy (reviewed here) last year and was impressed, but this book blew me away. I was immediately engrossed, found it difficult to put it down, read until late, and finished the next morning.
From the blurb:
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
Told in 3 narrative strands that you know will fit together, even though you don't know when or how, the novel begins with a mother who discovers her young son's body. Essun is an orogene (orogenes can control the environment for good or ill and are feared or used according to the situation), but Essun who has disguised herself as an ordinary member of the community.
Damalya's sections deal with the treatment of orogenes who are discovered in the general population and considered feral (orogenes are bred and trained at the Fulcrum). Any orogenes found within the general population are either killed outright or taken by Guardians to the Fulcrum for training. With this section, we gain a better understanding of Essun's need to hide her abilities.
The third narrative strand follows Syenite, a young woman trained at the Fulcrum, who has earned four rings and aspires to advance in the Fulcrum hierarchy. She is assigned a mission with ten-ringer, and in the course of their association, learns a great deal more than she wanted to know about the Fulcrum.
A novel about the abuse of power, the artificial divisions of society, the subjugation of elements of the population, and the power of the earth. Seems to fit right in with some of my own worries at the moment.
Dystopian/Scifi/Fantasy. 2015. 500 pages.