. . .but alas, I found myself a scant hundred or so pages from the end of Scott Lynch's Red Skies Under Red Seas.
And given that the new semester doesn't start until Monday, and seeing as how I had the new New Pornographers album to keep me company, it seems that completion was the better part of valor.
Now, I can't really say much about the novel now in terms of a full-blown review, because Mary hasn't read it yet and the merest suggestion of plot points or spoilers will land me in marital stocks, so to speak, like a Pilgrim who mooned Plymouth Rock. But I can say the following:
A) I laughed aloud (p. 534, 2nd paragraph from the subheading break).
B) I teared up (the paragraph that spans p. 509-510).
C) The Lies of Locke Lamora (the preceding novel in this series) was great fun, but this one does what Lies did and then some. The beats of the former novel were quite inventive, but in the long run somewhat familiar. This one found me - someone used to the usual plot twists in novels like this - wholly adrift and wondering what the heck could happen next at several points, and when it did tread familiar ground, it did so with perhaps a page and a half of warning in a manner that, in retrospect, I realize was set up chapters and chapters before.
D) This is, to pull a wholly lame reviewing trick, the Pulp Fiction to the previous novel's Reservoir Dogs. (I use this particular analogy because the author has a rather Tarantino-esque facility with jumping around temporally inside of a story.)
Sure, I'm gushing. It's late, I put Red Seas down about fifteen minutes ago, and I'll admit that my credibility as a reviewer is thus somewhat suspect. Even worse, I may be guilty of the kind of reviewing that sets up future readers for inevitable disappointment. If the latter is the case, let me say the following about my tastes and critical acumen: I sincerely and unironically love Neil Diamond, the laziest and most phoned-in of Dash Hammett's writing, the Star Trek episode where Kirk and company meet Abraham Lincoln, and certain tracks on the Gin Blossom's second album. I am, as it turns out, a cheap date at times.
Still, in closing: