Book 20 – 27 2014

It seems to be November and I barely started recording the books I’ve read.  I am also at least two books behind schedule if I am really going to finish 60 this year, but nevermind that.  Rather than go chronological, let’s see if we can group them:

Books 20 – 22: Some Agatha Christies

Pocket Full of Rye/Murder at the Vicarage/After the Funeral

I am a big fan of Hercule Poirot, so I was very pleased to find a World Book Night Edition of After the Funeral at the Used Book Store this year.  It absolutely was as good as billed, with a couple of genuinely likable characters and the solution was pretty good.

My mother is a big fan of Miss Marple, so when I saw several of the novels available in audio – narrated by Richard Grant – on the library book app – I started with Murder at the Vicarage.  I found the Vicar and his wife much more interesting than Miss Marple herself, but I enjoyed the story.  Pocket Full of Rye was a good mystery – rather sick, actually.  But again, Miss Marple was not my favorite thing about the story.

Books 23 – 24: Flavia de Luce novels

Speaking from Among the Bones/The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

These are the ones with the 10 year old girl in a small English town in the 1950s.  She is a budding chemist with her own laboratory and an obsession with poisons.  Solves local murders.  I remember someone saying that there could not be so many murders in one small town as were on the TV show Murder, She Wrote.  It is sorta like that, and the backstory becomes awfully heavy, but Flavia is fantastic.

The sixth novel tied up a lot of plot threads and, if the series continues, suggests an entirely new direction.

Books 25 – 27:  Some Star Wars novels

Allegiance, by Timothy Zahn

Choices of One, by Timothy Zahn

Razor’s Edge, by Mary Wells

All three of these are set between Episodes IV and V which I love.  Zahn takes these two novels to introduce us to a young Mara Jade.  As the nineteen year old apprentice of the Emperor she is far more skilled than young Luke Skywalker, but rather lonely.  The contrasts drawn between the two – who barely brush paths – are striking.  We are also introduced to a team of five defecting stormtroopers.  They are technically outlaws – and have stolen some pretty impressive supplies from the secret police – but are loyal to the original values of the Empire.  They go vigilante and cross paths with both Mara Jade and the rebels on a couple of missions.

Princess Leia is, I have determined, my favorite character.  While all three stories play around with the origins of Leia/Han, Razor’s Edge in particular uses both perspectives to develop her character as it relates to the destruction of Alderaan.  She is a warrior and a diplomat with no room to mourn her family or her home and she feels so very, very responsible.  How does she cope?  There is a moment when she is making a questionable decision and he pushes back.  Leia said, “I have to help these people.”  I don’t remember if he said it out loud but Han was all, “Yeah.  You have to help all the people.”  But he totally has her back.  There is a continuity problem between these three books in regards to exactly when Han Solo formally joins the Alliance.  It bothered me, but didn’t wreck anything.  Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed these stories.

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