In my defence

I know I said there would be no more book buying before the end of the year. But I have reasons for this afternoon’s haul of 12, yes 12!, books. I mean, other than the fact that I am terribly weak.

First I visited a bookshop that I have been meaning to visit since I moved to Wellington a little of 3 years ago. Better late than never, right? Unity is a quite decent sized indie book seller. Some things I really liked about it – others, not so much. Like with the SFF section right next to the YA and “middle grade” (with all three having equal numbers of shelves), I was annoyed that YA and middle grade books were mixed into the adult section. There was a decent selection but there was room for it to be better if the others had been weeded out. A few books caught my eye, but I picked Mordew by Alex Pheby, initially for the very different cover, then because the blurb sounded interesting.

GOD IS DEAD, his corpse is hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew.

In the slums of the sea-battered city a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meagre existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew.

The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength – and it is greater than the Master has ever known. Great enough to destroy everything the Master has built. If only Nathan can discover how to use it.

So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him – and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

So that was my impulse purchase. But what I’d actually gone looking for was a book by a NZ author. Over the last couple of years, I have periodically checked Kete which focuses on NZ books, publishing reviews for many. I’ve discovered quite a few great books from here. There’s a newish book out that I thought sounded interesting, but I saw it was the second book of the author, and while both books are stand-alones this second one does have the same main character and happens after the first. So I wanted to see if I could find the first book. Great news, I could, so I picked up The Wild Card by Renée.

Ruby Palmer has been dealt a rough hand. She was left in a kete at the back door of the Porohiwi Home for Children when she was a baby, and then at seven she discovered that Betty – who stopped the bad stuff happening to Ruby at the Home – had drowned.

Now in her thirties, Ruby needs to find out what really happened to her and Betty at the Home – and her only lead is a notebook that uses the symbols in playing cards to tell a story she doesn’t fully understand. But her investigations set off a chain reaction: a man in a balaclava attacks her and there are break-ins at her apartment and the local theatre where she’s acting in The Importance of Being Earnest. As Ruby goes deeper into the mystery at the heart of the Home, she starts to find answers to questions she hadn’t dared ask.

Next, I went to Minerva, a bookshop that is known for it’s craft book collection. That’s what I went for. But there weren’t any books that that I wanted. They did have books I wanted earlier in the year – or is that last year now? – but I ordered them from Australia when I couldn’t find them locally. I was leaving the store when this book caught my eye. And the blurb sounded interesting, if heavy, so I had to buy their last copy of Land of Snow and Ashes by Petra Rautiainen.

Finnish Lapland, 1944: a young soldier is called to work as an interpreter at a Nazi prison camp. Surrounded by cruelty and death, he struggles to hold onto his humanity. When peace comes, the crimes are buried beneath the snow and ice.

A few years later, journalist Inkeri is assigned to investigate the rapid development of remote Western Lapland. Her real motivation is more personal: she is following a lead on her husband, who disappeared during the war. Finding a small community riven with tension and suspicious of outsiders, Inkeri slowly begins to uncover traces of disturbing facts that were never supposed to come to light.

From this starkly beautiful polar landscape emerges a story of silenced histories and ongoing oppression, of human brutality and survival.

This book was originally written in Finnish, and has been translated into English by David Hackston.

And then I went to a second-hand bookshop where a friend had transferred his credit to me when he left NZ in July. I had heard good things about their collection, but also that they were quite pricey. Well, both points were true. There were quite a few books I would have loved to bring home with me, but I limited myself to just 9. Ok, mostly because I was running out of energy by the time I got to the end of “N” in the SFF section 😆.

There were a few C.J. Cherryh books on the shelf. I’ve only read Cyteen and loved it, so decided to try some of her fantasy and picked up The Chronicles of Morgaine.

To read The Chronicles of Morgaine is to find yourself engrossed in a magnificent adventure. CJ Cherryh’s awesome imaginative power creates a whole series of worlds set in different parts of space and time. Linking these worlds are the Gates, set up in the unimaginable past – once safe entries, now the thresholds of chaos. To seal the Gates is the mission of Morgaine – to prevent her is the equally dedicated aim of her ancient enemy Chya Roh.

Encountering the violent upheaval of declining worlds and cultures in collapse, striving to hold the very fabric of a universe together, Morgaine finds an unlikely ally in a dishonoured warrior. With him, her great horse Siptah, and Changeling, her only (but terrifying) weapon, she is the great protagonist of a compelling legend of the future.

I found a copy of Bridge of Souls by Fiona McIntosh. Now I just need to find book two for this trilogy. Because it’s book 3, I’m not going to post the blurb.

They had all three books of Trinity by Fiona McIntosh. Pity book 1 was from a different edition though. Because it’s a trilogy, I’ll add the blurb for book 1.

Deep in the folklore of Tallinor lies a dark story of betrayal and destruction, the story of a powerful sentient called Orlac who once razed the famed city of Caremboche, and almost destroyed the entire Land…

Now, all sentients are feared and, once discovered, subjected to the barbaric practices of bridling and branding. But in a village far from the royal city, a young man, Torkyn Gynt, blazes with great power and healing abilities. In order to fulfil his destiny, Tor must leave his home – and his love, Alyssa – to become apprentice to the royal physic.

The trouble is, Tor has no idea how important he actually is. His only guides are a man who is no longer a man and a mysterious woman who appears to him in his dreams. Aware of the magnitude of his powers but unsure to what end he is to use them, Tor embarks on a journey that will test his courage and his heart; a journey that can only end in triumph or betrayal.

I read the Trillium books back in the 90s. I can’t remember much, but I do know I enjoyed them. I picked up Black Trillium a few years back at the second-hand bookshop in Rotorua. Today I managed to find two more volumes: Blood Trillium and Sky Trillium, both by Julian May. Now I just need to find Golden Trillium by Andre Norton, which is apparently the hardest one to find.

I can’t remember what else I have read of Julian May. I think more than just the Trillium series. So I decided to pick up one of her books that she had done outside of the above collaboration. Conqueror’s Moon seemed like a good pick.

Prince Conrig of Cathra has a vision to unite all four provinces of the island of High Blenholme under Cathran sovereignty. One of the provinces is stubbornly refusing to bend to his will, but Conrig has a new secret weapon. He has formed an alliance with Ullanoth, princess of the remote northern province of Moss and a fearsome sorceress.

Meanwhile, Ullanoth is tending to her own schemes. Possessing the talent to call on the unearthly powers of the Beaconfolk, mysterious otherworldly beings who appear as lights in the sky, her power is undeniable. But the Lights are fickle, and their interference in human affairs unpredictable. If Ullanoth calls on them to help Conrig, they may extract a perilous price…

And finally, I looked for Andre Norton. I was hoping to get some Witch World books. No luck, but I picked up The Elvenbane, a collaboration between Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey.

The prophecy is about to be fulfilled

“There will come a child. One born of human mother but fathered by the demons, possessed of magic more powerful than the elven lords! The child shall be hunted before its birth, yet shall escape the hunt and will rise up against the masters and cast them into the lowest hell…”

The world is run by the elvenlords. Powerful, proud and secure in their dominion they keep legions of human slaves for work and take their pleasure in elven or human concubines. The breeding of halfbreeds is strictly forbidden. Then Serina Daeth – the favoured human concubine of elven overlord Dryan – finds herself pregnant.

Forced to flee into the desert, Serina dreams – as she dies – of a midwife delivering her baby, Shana; the midwife is in fact the shapechanging dragon-shaman Alara.

But Shana is no ordinary child: raised by the dragons, she is destined to become the Elvenbane.

Yes, you counted correctly, 9 books from the second-hand bookshop. But despite the higher prices, after the credit left by my friend, I only paid $7. Score 🙂.

So, yes I drastically broke my vow of just a few days ago to not buy any more books for 2022. Despite there only being two weeks left in the year – which should have made this pretty easy. But in my defence: the haul at the second-hand bookshop doesn’t count, because I had to use my friend’s credit; Land of Snow & Ashes doesn’t count because it was half the price of any craft book I would have bought and we all know craft books aren’t included when talking about buying books 😉; and The Wild Card was going to be purchased from the publisher in January and now this saves me shipping fees. By that count, I only broke the ruling by one book. Not bad at all 😆.

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