Mini book series reviews

Hunters of Dune: After reading several reviews, and reading a lot of opinions in general, I was expecting this novel to be really awful. But I thought the transition going from Frank Herbert’s (the father’s) Chapterhouse: Dune to Brian Herbert’s (the son’s) and Kevin J. Anderson’s Hunters of Dune went pretty smoothly. I didn’t feel like there was a big shift in tone or style going from one book to the other. I quit about halfway through, though, because I was getting burned-out on the series, having just binged the original six novels in just a few months. (I listened to the audiobooks, which take longer than reading.) The series in general is exhausting to read and kind of unsatisfying, so I don’t know when I’ll pick it up again to finish it.

Malazan Book of the Fallen, The Black Company, The Dagger and the Coin, The First Law, The Age of Madness series: I like the sort of dry and bleak socioeconomic/political landscapes, gray morality, etc. of these series. They are a lot like A Game of Thrones/ASoIaF, if you have seen the show or read the novels. I am looking forward to future titles being released in these series.

The Expanse, The Murderbot Diaries, The Wayfarers, Binti, Imperial Radch, The Vorkosigan Saga series: I really like the characters in these novels. They really give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I like that these are Space Opera, but that the emphasis is not so much on tech, and that the characters are relatable on a more personal level. (When compared to a lot of “hard” science fiction.)

The Scholomance, The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead, Borne series: The first two are YA “Wizard School” novels in the vein of Harry Potter, except weirder and deadlier. All three are reminiscent of China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and The Scar. Except in Borne‘s case it is with bioluminescent fish-fungi hybrids instead of e.g. floating/flying monsters and living trains. I especially like The Scholomance because of how smart and funny it is. I am very much looking forward to the sequels.

The Book of the New Sun series: I’m reading these for the third time, now. I’m not quite as blown away as I was the first two times (they used to be my favorite, along with the Long Sun and Short Sun series) but they are still pretty great!

Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz series: These remind me a lot of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Great fun!

The Fall, Agency: I’m getting kind of… tired of reading about how awesome tech entrepreneurs are, and the immensity of their vision. I am also starting to get tired of listening to/watching TED Talks and the like. Increasingly I would rather read about topics that are (relatively speaking) more mundane and dirty/gritty, and that don’t involve the newest and latest fancy premium digital gadgets. YMMV.

Book series I would like to see continued: I would like to see Robin Hobb’s Farseer/Elderling series continued. Maybe there will be news sometime in the future? I like the new young protagonist.


Goodreads widget

I’m not sure where I can squeeze this onto my site/blog since there’s so little room, but I stumbled across this widget on Goodreads that I really like a lot. It shows a list of the twenty-four most recently published books you’ve read, in reverse order of publication. If I kept reliable records on the order in which I read the books, I could use that data instead; but this is still a pretty good alternative. (And maybe more useful to visitors wanting to go out and buy books.) If you have JavaScript disabled in your browser you will see a static list that is current as of the initial date of this post.

Michael’s books

Leviathan Falls
The Trouble with Peace
Interlibrary Loan
Network Effect
A Little Hatred
To Be Taught, If Fortunate
Tiamat's Wrath
The Raven Tower
The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction
The Winter of the Witch
The Book of Magic
Exit Strategy
The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London
Rogue Protocol
Record of a Spaceborn Few
Spinning Silver
The Flowers of Vashnoi
Artificial Condition

Michael Horvath’s favorite books »

The book covers are centered with respect to one another, and are separated by 2 pixels. I added a black background and a hover effect that changes the cover graphics to appear lighter and grayer when your mouse is on top of them. I couldn’t figure out how to style the extra link Goodreads places at the bottom of the grid, so I hid/disabled it using the associated URL parameter provided by Goodreads. I had to manually add Flexbox styling to the widget since it did not include any by default, and the default styling conflicts with my blog. The grid should be responsive, though I haven’t tested the widget on my phone yet.

Here is the custom CSS code:

div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 {
  background-color: #000000;
  max-width: 600px;
  margin: auto;
div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 h2 {
  display: inline-block;
  padding: 4px;
  margin: 0px;
div#gr_grid_widget_1615614778 h2 a {
  color: #ffffff;
div.gr_grid_container {
  /* customize grid container div here. eg: width: 500px; */
  display: flex;
  flex-wrap: wrap;
  align-items: center;
  justify-content: space-around;
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
div.gr_grid_container a {
div.gr_grid_book_container {
  /* customize book cover container div here */
  width: 98px;
  height: 160px;
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
  overflow: hidden;
div.gr_grid_book_container:hover {
  filter: grayscale(1) brightness(1.5);

The actual widget code can be gotten from the Goodreads website under your personal Account Settings.

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