Full Moon (Blandings Castle, #7)

By P.G. Wodehouse

Rating: 4 stars

The ninth Earl of Emsworth wants a portrait painted. Of his prize pig. His niece Prudence is whisked away from her wedding, to purgatory back at Blandings, because her mother and her aunt don’t approve of her intended, and his other niece Veronica wants to marry an American millionaire who keeps seeing a hideous face every time he takes a drink.

Wodehouse mixes up all this and more with glee, plonks it down in the picturesque setting of Blandings castle. The hon Galahad may not be Jeeves, but he’s still got what it takes to sort things out and ensure that nothing stands in the way of true love. I loved the characters, their Wodehousian antics and the whole shebang. Maybe not classic Wodehouse (I generally prefer the stuff that’s set pre-war) but still gloriously silly.

Book details

ISBN: 9781585678365
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Year of publication: 1947

The Shambling Guide to New York City

By Mur Lafferty

Rating: 4 stars

Zoe Norris has come back to her home town of New York and is in need of a job. She sees something interesting, and despite the attempts of several people to put her off, she applies for and gets it, as managing editor of a small publishing house that’s just starting up. It’s at this point she discovers that it’s a very niche publishing house, whose director is a vampire, and with co-workers including a death goddess, some zombies, a water sprite and an incubus. With a new world of monsters coterie opened up to her, she tries to get a travel guide to New York published while at the same time trying to deal with what she’s learned and getting over her last relationship.

I really enjoyed this novel. I first became aware of Mur Lafferty when she used to read occasionally for the short story podcast, Escape Pod, later becoming its editor. She’s created a great character in Zoe and the people around her, whether human or coterie. Her New York, that most of its inhabitants are completely unaware of, is sparkling and vibrant and the little excerpts from the eponymous Guide deepen the world and make you curious to find out more. I’ll certainly look forward to the sequel.

Book details

ISBN: 9780356501901
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 2013

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)

By Robin Sloan

Rating: 3 stars

I heard the short story of the same name as this novel on the Escape Pod podcast some time ago. It was a quirky and fun story which I enjoyed, so when I heard that the author had expanded it into a full novel, I was intrigued.

The novel retains many elements from the story, but takes them in different directions. The biggest change, perhaps, is the excision of any supernatural elements, which was a bit of a disappointment for me, but the expansion of the relationships, particularly between Mr Penumbra and our protagonist (Clay Jannon in the book, I think unnamed in the story) was nice.

There’s also a feeling of almost hero-worship regarding Google. This feels a bit weird to me, now that “don’t be evil” seems to have been left behind in pursuit of the usual corporate agenda and sucking up every possible datum about its users.

The mystery at the heart of the book is interesting and the resolution is nice. It’s also nice to read a novel in which typography features prominently.

Book details

ISBN: 9781782391197
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Year of publication: 2012

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