TBR Shelf Cleanup #17


Time for another round up of books from my TBR to go through! Each week I’ll be going over a selection from my physical unread books and deciding what to keep and what to purge. There will be a third option–undecided–which I might ask for your input on why you think I should keep or purge that title from my list. You can also check out my full TBR pile here.

Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson

thieftaker_coverBoston, 1765: In D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker, revolution is brewing as the British Crown imposes increasingly onerous taxes on the colonies, and intrigue swirls around firebrands like Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. But for Ethan Kaille, a thieftaker who makes his living by conjuring spells that help him solve crimes, politics is for others…until he is asked to recover a necklace worn by the murdered daughter of a prominent family.

Suddenly, he faces another conjurer of enormous power, someone unknown, who is part of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of power in the turbulent colony. His adversary has already killed–and not for his own gain, but in the service of his powerful masters, people for whom others are mere pawns in a game of politics and power. Ethan is in way over his head, and he knows it. Already a man with a dark past, he can ill afford to fail, lest his livelihood be forfeit. But he can’t stop now, for his magic has marked him, so he must fight the odds, even though he seems hopelessly overmatched, his doom seeming certain at the spectral hands of one he cannot even see.

This is sort of a historical urban fantasy and really I’m all about it (plus, that cover!!!). I kind of started reading this one after I first bought it years ago but only got a few pages in before getting distracted by something else in life. I was enjoying it! I don’t know why I didn’t go back to it. Still want to read this. KEEP

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

the_lions_of_al-rassan_coverThe ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan — poet, diplomat, soldier — until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever.

Meanwhile, in the north, the conquered Jaddites’ most celebrated — and feared — military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, driven into exile, leads his mercenary company south.

In the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan, these two men from different worlds meet and serve — for a time — the same master. Sharing their interwoven fate — and increasingly torn by her feelings — is Jehane, the accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.

So, here’s the thing–Guy Gavriel Kay is a fantastic writer! I just…don’t know if his books are for me? I love the themes he explores and the worlds he creates but I just can’t fall in love with them? I got partway into River of Stars before getting super bored. And I did love Tigana in the end despite not connecting with the characters because the theme was so great but…. it might just be that I’m not his audience. I kind of still want to read more of his work though just to see if some of it is? UNDECIDED

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

the_cloud_roads_coverMoon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself… and his newfound kin.

Picked this one up a few years ago from recommendations from r/fantasy. I….hate myself that I haven’t gotten to it yet! Especially after the conversation on our second r/fantasy modcast episode. Needless to say I’m keeping this one. KEEP

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

ship_of_magic_coverWizardwood, a sentient wood. The most precious commodity in the world. Like many other legendary wares, it comes only from the Rain River Wilds.

But how can one trade with the Rain Wilders, when only a liveship fashioned from wizardwood can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain River? Rare and valuable a liveship will quicken only when three members, from successive generations, have died on board. The liveship Vivacia is about to undergo her quickening as Althea Vestrit’s father is carried on deck in his death-throes. Althea waits for the ship that she loves more than anything else in the world to awaken. Only to discover that the Vivacia has been signed away in her father’s will to her brutal brother-in-law, Kyle Haven…

Others plot to win or steal a liveship. The Paragon, known by many as the Pariah, went mad, turned turtle, and drowned his crew. Now he lies blind, lonely, and broken on a deserted beach. But greedy men have designs to restore him, to sail the waters of the Rain Wild River once more.

I actually plan on reading this later this year. I had a bit of a love hate relationship with Farseer but in the end it was far more love than hate and I want to continue in this universe! I need more! But I also have to take it easy with Hobb books and space them out a bit so it’s going to take me a while to get through all three of these. KEEP

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

written_in_red_coverAs a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

I bought this not too long after it came out and still haven’t gotten around to it argh! I don’t know why because I do love Anne Bishop and the type of fantasy does as well…I just…let books linger on my shelves it seems. Anyway, have to read this one! KEEP

That’s all for now! This brings my total count to:

Keep Purge Undecided
150 32 22

Well, not a great week for purging BUT I do have one undecided. What do you think–have you read this one? Anything you’d do differently here? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!

26 thoughts on “TBR Shelf Cleanup #17

  1. Susy's Cozy World says:

    You have to read Written in Red! I love this series so much!! ❤️ And I have added a new book to my TBR, because I never heard of The Thieftaker but it just seems too good to pass!

  2. @lynnsbooks says:

    I just had Written in Red on a list of my own that I was thinking of finally calling it quits. This is an author and series that had such good reviews but because I was so far behind I just never got round to Bishop, Pratchett and Aaronovitch are three authors that I’d like to get to grips a little more with.
    If you fancy picking up Written in Red let me know, it might incentivise me to pick it up at the same time.
    Lynn 😀

  3. Bob says:

    I haven’t read Thieftaker, but I thoroughly enjoyed his LonTobyn Chronicles (written as David B Coe) and have his Winds of the Forelands saga sitting on my shelf.

    I love Kay, but you do need to be in a certain mood to enjoy his books. They’re more something to linger over than binge through.

    The Cloud Roads is long-lingering on my shelf as well, so long in fact that I’ve purged them AND repurchased them again. LOL

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I’ve heard great things about some of his other work as well, I think I have one of his other series in my TBR too!

      Yeah, that’s pretty true of Kay from what I’ve read myself.

      My friends are really pushing me to read The Cloud Roads because they keep talking about it. They’re coming out again, new copies!

  4. Tammy says:

    I bought Written in Red too, and haven’t read it either. But I’m loving her spin off Others series so I need to go back and read the original. Also, I’ve heard nothing but good things about The Cloud Roads 😁

  5. imyril says:

    If it helps, The Lions of Al-Rassan is probably my favourite GGK of them all. I love the central characters, the bromance (although a missed opportunity for OT3, shucks) and the cleverly woven alt historical context. It’s feelings all the way down – I found it more urgent than Tigana (I haven’t read River of Stars). If I’m going to pick up a GGK for sheer joy of a reread it will always be Lions or A Song for Arbonne (tortured musicians standing up to patriarchal aggression).

    • imyril says:

      …fancy pinging me when you’re thinking of reading Ship of Magic? It’s been on my TBR forever because I really didn’t love the Farseer trilogy but everyone tells me I’ll like Liveships – so if the timing is right maybe a buddy read?

      • imyril says:

        …yeee-eees. To some extent, it’s a hallmark of his style – he sets up the situation and the tensions and the characters while he lines up his assault on any attachments you’ve formed to them. But it’s risky. Lions gets right off to it with regicide and riots whilst still giving you a sense of the characters. But it’s his prose that usually gets me – he has a turn of phrase that I can’t resist.

      • waytoofantasy says:

        Right, that’s what I’ve noticed from the little I’ve read so far. It’s almost like he’s pulling a long con with his readers? So much being slowly set up along the way…

        I do love his prose! And I also love the themes he explores–Tigana was an interesting take on cultural erasure.

  6. Zezee says:

    Yep, spacing out those Hobb books is advised, especially those Liveship Traders ones. Emily and I took breaks between each, like a week or two, to get a breather before diving back in. I think the characters and situations in the Liveship books are more complex and sometimes carry deeper emotions. The plot is slow as always but the slow build is worth it for the result.

  7. Realms of My Mind says:

    Definitely keep Thieftaker, I’ve enjoyed that series a lot! I think I’m actually one behind….I’ve also had The Cloud Roads on my kindle for…well a couple years now. It’s on my series list to tackle at some point, it sounds intriguing.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I’m definitely keeping Thieftaker, I am really looking forward to getting to it when I’m in the mood, glad to hear the rest of the series is good too!
      I’ve heard nothing but good things about The Cloud Roads. 🙂

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