Summer readings 2021, part 3

Last summary of my summer readings! Fitting, as the summer is over. I did not read a lot of fiction this summer, but hey, I did read some good stuff!

Hearts of Oak

A short novel by Eddie Robson, which features a weird city made of wood in constant expansion. I would be providing spoilers by adding anything else about the plot, so I will just say that it’s pretty original, and I’ve enjoyed it, after a couple false starts (the beginning is somewhat… dull).

Also, I read the MacMillan paperback edition , which for some reason has the most pleasant paper I’ve experienced in a book, feels like silk. OTOH, the cover has a rubbery feel to it, which is kinda annoying.

7/10: I would like to read more of this universe.

The Flying Sorcerers

An anthology of comic fantasy stories by Peter Haining. I acquired this book, together with The Wizards of Odd, simply because it contained some Terry Pratchett. I sort of hoped the rest of the stories would be good.

On average, they’re not. Neither good, nor fun, and they’re not even about flying sorcerers! Yet, a couple of the stories are quite nice.

5/10: there are probably better anthologies in which to spend your time.

The Wind Through the Keyhole

Ah, yes, a Dark Tower novel. You see, I read the first book of the Dark Tower saga, The Gunslinger, about 30 years ago. Most of it in a single afternoon, while going to the dentist. I loved that strange world, mutants, cowboys, and people singing Hey, Jude. When the Man in Black described the Tower, the Beast§ , the Door, my curiosity reached at the stars.

So I proceeded to read the second book immediately after, and I liked it even more.

And… to read the third book I had to wait years! I found it during a summer vacation, in a small library in a mountain town, and when I got it my father wanted to read it too. He loved it, and so every time a new one came out, I would buy it for him, and read it as soon as he finished it. Fun fact, my father had read The Talisman years before, and I had not.

Me, Sai King, and my dad got to the end of the journey many years later, and while I did not love the last book as much as the earlier ones, it was nice to reach it.

Then The Wind Through the Keyhole came out, again many years later. I didn’t read it for ten years, and I only realize as I write, it’s because my dad had died shortly before it came out.

You see, I never got the chance to buy it for him, so I never read it myself.

As Stephen King says

For longtime readers, this book should be shelved between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla, which makes it, I suppose, Dark Tower 

and content wise it’s also half way: I loved Wizard and Glass, but didn’t particularly enjoy Wolves of the Calla§. And yet, this book is a much better book than the (chronological) last book, maybe because the author wasn’t so worried about dying before finishing the tale.

Reading this book was like going back to my home town, visiting familiar places, meeting the faces I grew up with. Oh, hey Ronald and Jake!

And the book is good. The plot is good, the structure is good, and for once, the ending is good. Also, as Ronald would have it, it seems I remember the face of my father.

8/10: I really wish there was more of this.

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