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Raksura! James Bond! Other things!

So I extensively read and re-read much of Martha Wells' Books of the Raksura over the past few weeks.

I read the second and third books of the Raksura - The Serpent Seas and the Siren Depths. They were tons of fun and I couldn't put them down though I wish she'd titled them somewhat differently. I can't remember which comes first or both titles!

The Raksura are a species of shape-shifters who can fly. Moon is a Raksura orphaned and trying to integrate into various groundling societies (mostly unsuccessfully). That's a terrible summary but the books are about him discovering the rest of the Raksura and his travels/adventures with them.

The fourth book comes out April 2016 and I'm so impatient. I want it, and I want it now!


I have no idea why but I find the books so engrossing and kind of comforting. For some reason - maybe because we rarely get to hear described how Moon is feeling? - the books feel kind of distanced from the characters, but that works in its favour. Many fantasy books are told from the perspective of non-human races, but they tend to unconsciously retain a lot of assumptions and traits and traditions about humans. The Raksura have a very different view about how society is organized and their winged second forms are very deadly hunters, which also makes them one of the

Moon being an orphan not brought up within a colony gives a good excuse for exploring Raksuran society. I also like and root for Moon, for all that he's all hurt and prickly about it. Basically, I'm dying for the next book.

Then James Bond - several of them now. I read Moonraker and then On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (I have never seen the films, though I regret not buying the nail polish collection OPI put out for Skyfall. I have my priorities!) They have their weaknesses, but as good solid action/adventure novels they deliver, and I am emotionally invested in James Bond the character by this point. I keep going to the library and checking out every Bond book there is - which isn't very many. This library system is big on having duplicates and not on having variety - wrong way round, in my opinion. But anyway!

Moonraker is about the rocket the British government is building, which is being made with the assistance of Hugo Drax, a public war hero and now wealthy businessman. M feels something isn't right when the owner of the club Blades tells him that Drax cheats, and sends Bond to first see if he's cheating (yes - and then Bond dupes Drax into losing an enormous sum of money) and then posts him at the Moonraker to see what's going on. This is leading up to a test-firing of the rocket, so there is a great deal of tension and attention being paid - especially after there is a murder at the site.

Bond enlists the help of Gala Brand, a policewoman in deep cover working as Drax's secretary, into the investigations. She's been calculating the required trajectory of the rocket depending on weather conditions for weeks, but has also noticed that Drax never takes them, recalculating them; Bond is disturbed that all the scientists working on the Moonraker are German. (He's also unnerved they are all shaven bald and have weird mustaches which don't have too much bearing on the plot but are nevertheless also a bit unnerving, at least the way they're described.) Anyway, they find out that it's a cell of Nazi-sympathizers, and instead of firing a test rocket to land harmlessly in the northern sea, it is aimed right at London.

Brand and Bond are taken prisoner and manage to escape. They also escape detection by hiding in the steam vent shafts, and they have to endure having steam sent up through them, as Drax tries to flush them out.

They are successful at making sure the rocket does not destroy London (of course!) And Brand does not sleep with Bond - when she shows up at the end, she's with a fiance.

Then On Her Majesty's Secret Service! Bond is sent on the trail of Blofeld again, one of the major figures behind the creation of SPECTRE and one of Bond's greatest enemies. He is put on the tail of Blofeld when Blofeld puts a request through the College of Arms - he wants legitimacy, and wants it badly enough to leave somewhat of a trail. On the pretext of being one of the College of Arms' researchers, Bond goes off to Switzerland to investigate Blofeld, who appears to be running a very secretive clinic of some kind on top of the mountains, within a ski resort.

It is indeed Blofeld - albeit a Blofeld disguised by plastic surgery, and wearing ski-goggles to conceal his eyes. Bond pulls off the role for a while, but has his cover blown when a fellow agent, dazed and battered, is brought in and identifies Bond in relief. Bond has to escape from the resort via skiing - definitely one of the highlights of the book! - and is rescued by Tracy, who had come looking for him. Back in England, Bond and M discover that Blofeld has been using the clinic as a front to secretly hypnotize girls from farming families, from all over the British Isles, and using them to spread viral/biological diseases to destroy agriculture.

I really liked the ski escape; it was full of action and very engrossing. I was rather surprised that actually, Bond gets married. It wasn't the most convincing romance ever - there just wasn't time in the novel to do it - but it was really quite sweet, and his father-in-law, the head of the Corsican mafia, is also over the moon. (I don't think Bond has any other family; he mentions his parents but only distantly and says himself that he doesn't have a social milieu that Tracy "would or wouldn't fit into", not having one). He doesn't stay married for very long, though; Tracy is gunned down by Blofeld and his associate only hours after the ceremony. :( And then in the subsequent novel, You Only Live Twice, which I'm reading, he's destroyed by it; M is ready to pension him off in the beginning of the novel.

Also I watched Pride and Prejudice (1995), season 1 of Sherlock plus the first two episodes of season 2, AND the first three episodes of Agent Carter season 2. More to follow! (All of them were great, in case you were wondering. In many different ways.)


Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/173457.html.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
gothrockrulz
Jan. 28th, 2016 07:10 am (UTC)
Haven't read Raksura or any James Bond books, but I'm so glad you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and also Sherlock! That 1995 adaption is probably my favorite Jane Austen adaption ever, if not my favorite period piece of all time. :)
silverflight8
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:39 am (UTC)
It's so beautiful in so many ways *__* Just the movie itself, and the scenery and all the gorgeous settings and...

Also, wow, I did not expect Darcy to be so broody! I'd heard a bit about it but omg he is just there smouldering away :P Elizabeth was so lovely - honestly she is so polite, but some of the showdowns like with Lady de Bourgh are amazing in comparison. I also felt a lot more sympathy with Lydia. She is so silly and entirely unconscious of the disgrace and danger she's bringing down on her family; I don't think it really struck me until now just how precarious a position their family is - six women who have no living if Mr Bennet dies, yikes.
gothrockrulz
Feb. 3rd, 2016 06:28 am (UTC)
Also, wow, I did not expect Darcy to be so broody! I'd heard a bit about it but omg he is just there smouldering away :P

Hee, yes, Colin Firth's Darcy definitely broods more than I pictured book!Darcy, but at least in my mind, he set the standard for Dark Brooding Hero.

Elizabeth was so lovely - honestly she is so polite, but some of the showdowns like with Lady de Bourgh are amazing in comparison.

Yesssss. It wasn't until my 2nd or 3rd time watching that I realized just *how* significant it was for Elizabeth, with her temperament and station, to respond to rudeness from a powerful woman with that much sass. :D She's my hero in so many ways.

I don't think it really struck me until now just how precarious a position their family is - six women who have no living if Mr Bennet dies, yikes.

Yeah, we're lucky enough to be able to work for a living in our society. It's really shocking and grim to think about how good, honest work just wasn't socially acceptable for the daughters of gentlemen in that day and age.
silverflight8
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:05 am (UTC)
It was pointed out to me that in teh books, when Darcy's not speaking he's not really described, so he effectively isn't 'seen'. So there's room to put brooding! :D

Yes, exactly. Extra awesome :)

Actually it's interesting you bring this up, I was discussing this on fail-fandomanon (panfandom anon meme, not sure you know it?) Anyway someone pointed out that the Bennets do have a small income, though it's very small and they'd have to split it, so they would have to live in basically genteel poverty. But I imagine if they didn't, Jane and Lizzie would take posts as governesses or paid companions if they could (their accomplishments are maybe not enough for this--I am not sure). Mary, maybe, IDK. I don't think Kitty or Lydia are sensible enough; Lizzie and Jane would probably have to support both of them :(
gothrockrulz
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:15 am (UTC)
It was pointed out to me that in teh books, when Darcy's not speaking he's not really described, so he effectively isn't 'seen'. So there's room to put brooding! :D

Indeed, our imaginations are free to do as they please! :D

Actually it's interesting you bring this up, I was discussing this on fail-fandomanon (panfandom anon meme, not sure you know it?)

Nope, I've never hared of that before. Is it like a message board or chatroom?

But I imagine if they didn't, Jane and Lizzie would take posts as governesses or paid companions if they could (their accomplishments are maybe not enough for this--I am not sure). Mary, maybe, IDK. I don't think Kitty or Lydia are sensible enough; Lizzie and Jane would probably have to support both of them :(

Agreed. It seems governess work is the only thing girls with upbringings like the Bennets could take on, and even then, it would be considered quite a trial and step down on the social ladder. (Don't know if you have read Jane Austen's Emma, but it does touch on the perceived affliction of a gentlewoman having to take up governess work out of necessity.) I hadn't even considered that the Bennet girls probably wouldn't be terribly qualified, but that makes sense. I guess they'd have to be governesses for quiet country families like their own? Hmmm, you've made me wonder. :)

silverflight8
Feb. 18th, 2016 09:23 pm (UTC)
:D

It's like a forum I guess? But it's hosted in a journal basically (well, it's a Dreamwidth community) where people comment anonymously to various posts - there's always one active, and people will make top-level threads about whatever subject they choose, like "this week's episode of X" or "book recs" or "general Star Wars discussion" and then there's discussion below. I mostly mention FFA since it's sort of a fandom hub for me; a lot of fandoms get discussed and people promote their exchanges there and in addition to the big fandoms like SPN and Marvel and DW there's chatter about smaller stuff and Austen sometimes comes up!

No I haven't read Emma, but it's on my list! my erm, very long list. Oh interesting that it's about a lady having to take the post - I didn't know that! I guess there's also a similar case with Sense and Sensibilities - there Mrs Bennet's nightmare has come true and they're kicked out. Hmm. Yeah, it sounds like a post with a quiet country family would probably be best suited. They would definitely know the duties well :)
gothrockrulz
Feb. 20th, 2016 06:34 am (UTC)
Oh, okay, that makes sense. Forums can be so fun, especially when you get lots of people with fun facts to share.

Hee, I feel you there, everybody has a long list of books to read. :)
silverflight8
Feb. 25th, 2016 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly!

Hahaha oh god my kobo is loaded with so many interesting books but it's like...hm, a choice between $interesting book? No! I'll read five romances in a row instead!!
gothrockrulz
Feb. 27th, 2016 06:52 am (UTC)
LOL, exactly!
egelantier
Jan. 28th, 2016 12:13 pm (UTC)
raksura are my go-to comfort books. they're just unusual and cosy, and full of such weird gentleness - i love them.
silverflight8
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:40 am (UTC)
Yes, exactly - for all that they are not human and have quite different organization and values, they're oddly comforting. I cannot wait for the next book. APRILLLLL
hamsterwoman
Feb. 2nd, 2016 03:59 am (UTC)
I read the first Raksura book a year ago and have been meaning to go back and read more of the series, because I really enjoyed it, the worldbuilding, and especially Stone. I guess a new book coming out is a good reason for me to actually seriously do that!
silverflight8
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:43 am (UTC)
They are so great! And Stone is so awesome too - he's so dry and sarcastic; his interactions with Moon are just a joy.

Yes, April, I am so excited! (TBH when I finished the third book and rushed online to see if there was another book, it was more of an, "OH NO it's coming out in APRIL!!" but ahem)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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