Another week, another Friday rolls around. You may remember in my last Friday Reads, I was still absorbed in the weird and wonderful world of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (a review of which will be up later today) and having quite the run of longer books.
In wanting to break away from that I decided to pick up what I thought was the most fun and fluffy of the books I felt like reading – Gail Carriger’s Soulless, the first book in The Parasol Protectorate, her steampunk paranormal series in which vampires and werewolves are part of Queen Victoria’s society and, indeed, her government. The heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, is “soulless”, an individual whose touch can reverse supernatural states, so, if say, she touches a werewolf, their fur disappears and their eyes become a little less wolfish. The hero of the piece? Well, he’s an Earl, Lord Connal Maccon, a gentleman (kind of), he occasionally slips into his Scottish burr, and he’s obviously an Alpha of a werewolf pack because this part paranormal romance so of course he is. He’s also gruff and he and Alexia argue a lot so we can all see where that’s headed from the moment of their very first tiff in the book.
But, hey, it’s a fun romp, it’s very diverting and it’s steampunk so I am all over that … the one thing that slightly disrupts my otherwise easy reading pace? You can kind of tell it’s written by someone who isn’t, themselves, English. There are very subtle differences between British English and American English that most people don’t realise until they write with someone from the other nation – by which I mean, I myself have come to terms with this only through writing forum roleplay with an American who found it forever amusing that I would say things like “fortnight” (apparently that’s not used generally as a word in America??) and “half an hour” instead of “a half hour” as others might say. Little nuances like that that are difficult to handle correctly (mostly because you’re not aware of them being nuances) and you’re bound to slip up.
Although, one stonker of a mistake in the first few pages: “jelly” was used to describe what we English call “jam” (you know the stuff you spread on toast and scones?)… I just cringed at how glaringly obvious it stood out. (I bought the book used and the previous owner had angrily circled the word “jelly” in pencil – they clearly took issue with it too!) The more I re-read this book the more I notice them, and that’s what probably means I’m struggling a bit with this book. Lord Maccon, in particular, says things that just… no – even if he’s meant to be Scottish, they’re not Scottish, they’re not even English, couple of case in points:
“How on earth did you finagle that?” (Um excuse me, what’s “finagle”?)
“What in tarnation is that?” (We don’t say tarnation, sorry Lord Maccon)
Of course, really, it’s a book about vampires and werewolves so I mean if I’m already suspending disbelief for them then I can let a few language issues go and just enjoy it. Or, I hope I can let it go anyway because the whole point of re-read the first book was so that I could swiftly continue on with the series ahead and get to Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless in quick succession. I’m also kind of hoping that after the first book someone might have pointed out the more blatant Americanisms and they were corrected. We shall see.
(Wow ok I didn’t realise how long this post is getting… apparently that rant about British English needed to be expressed or I would have burst.)
But, aside from everything that is The Parasol Protectorate, I also have a digital pile of eARCs to get to as soon as possible. Yes, my friends, I finally discovered NetGalley and was astounded to learn that I did have enough online presence to be approved for some titles after all. (Is it weird I find that strangely flattering?) I’ve already took advantage of that and got my grubby little mitts on Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time and bloody loved it – I have such love for Matt Haig’s writing in general, to be fair, so it wasn’t a hard sell – but I think I’ll be re-reading it before writing a review for it, since it doesn’t come out until July. Aside from that I also have these titles to choose from this weekend:
- Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
This just sounds odd and mysterious and I’m all for that. I hear it’s a bit Victorian and a bit Gothic in its tone, and that’s plenty enough to intrigue me. The cover is intriguing and Hilary Mantel has praised it. That’s all I know, that’s all I want to know.
- Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
I’m 17% through this and I’m not really old enough to appreciate the topics it covers, I think, but I’ll still try to finish it for the sake of reviewing it because it’s an easy enough reading experience. There are 4 and 5-star reviews of this on Goodreads so clearly I’m in the minority here.
- Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
‘Magic is a con game’ – that’s quite enough of a PR selling phrase to grab me, hook, line, and sinker. Yes, I am that easy.
Yeah, I have a lot of reading to do, especially since 2 out of 3 of these books have been already released so I’m definitely behind. But I have little to no plans for this upcoming weekend currently so hopefully I can breeze through a couple of the books from this list – fingers crossed anyway! The galleys really ought to be my priority and they will be, provided I don’t get distracted by whatever shenanigans Alexia and Lord Maccon get up to in The Parasol Protectorate books!
That was my Friday Reads for this week but enough of me – what are you currently reading going into this weekend? Are you planning much for the next couple of days? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear it!