Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 10 (General notes)

Been a bit, but now, getting back to it, let’s do Chapter 10 of The Hobbit!

Objectively speaking, not terribly much actually happens in this chapter. We’re basically talking the following chain of events:

Bilbo and dwarves: *float downriver to Laketown*
Bilbo: *gets dwarves out of barrels*
Thorin: “I am Thorin Oakenshield! KNEEL BEFORE ZOD–” (Wait, wrong movie.)
Lake-town Men and Elves: “Wut just happened? WOO HOO PARTY WITH THE DWARVES!”
Thorin: “We’re all going to go beat up on the dragon now!”
Lake-town Men: “Yeah okay, you have fun with that.”
Bilbo: *spends entire chapter with a cold*

Raise your hand if you’re imagining Martin Freeman looking miserable throughout this chapter. It does rather add an extra element of “aww your poor thing!”

General notes:

It’s going to be amusing to see the shots in the next movie of Thorin and Fili and Kili coming out of those barrels. Somehow, I suspect they’re still going to manage to look dreamy even when bedraggled. And I can see Martin Freeman looking sneezy and unimpressed during their entire visit to Lake-town, too.

The narrator tells us that “I have never heard what happened to the chief of the guards and the butler.” Which, even though I understand that this is being said for effect here, still translates to me as “I didn’t feel like bothering to fill that in”. It’s yet another little thing I’m pretty sure a modern writer would never get away with!

Noticed this actually when going through the French, but since Tolkien phrased it this way in English too, it goes up here: Thorin telling the party that “we must thank our stars and Mr. Baggins”. I note the lack of “lucky” in this phrase, but that would seem to be the intent here.

I have to wonder how trusting the folk of Lake-town are! The town Master clearly isn’t buying Thorin’s arrival for an instant, but the town at large goes pretty much batshit with Happy–and all it takes is this band of ragged-looking dwarves walking up, and the one in front going, “I’m King under the Mountain!” And *bam*, they all start singing. Either they’re very trusting, or else they’re looking for an excuse to party.

French notes in the next post!

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 9

Well, Chapter 8 was pretty exciting with all the Bilbo being heroic and OHNOEZ SPIDERS and YAY STING and OHNOEZ THORIN and stuff.

Now, though, we get daring barrel-based escapes from cranky elves! (Because I’m kind of with Thranduil on this; if my house was infested with dwarves I’d be a bit cranky too. Unless the dwarves look like Kili. Then I’m down that. Still, though, those short hairy guys DO put a dent in the beer stash, don’t they?)

Onward to Chapter 9, “Barrels out of Bond”!

Continue reading “Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 9”

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 8

This is the first of the Tri-lingual Hobbit Re-Read posts I’m making from angelahighland.com rather than annathepiper.org; I hope those of you who’ve been following me on the other site will pick them up again here. And for those of you who may be just recently joining me on angelahighland.com (hi, fellow Carina authors!), I hope you’ll enjoy this linguistic geekery!

Those of you who are following me from LJ or Dreamwidth, you shouldn’t see any change in these posts, except for a different site showing up in the ‘Mirrored from’ tag.

And for those of you who may just be joining me, I’m re-reading The Hobbit! But I’m doing it in three languages at once: the original English, but also German and French, since I’m interested in learning both languages and I consider this excellent practice. So join me for hobbits and dwarves and wizards and language geeking, as I dive into Chapter 8, “Flies and Spiders”.

Continue reading “Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 8”

Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 7 (third post)

Nothing quite like two viewings of the brand new Hobbit movie to get me in the mood to keep up with the Tri-lingual Re-read! Though I gotta say, people, it’s going to be difficult swinging back into Tolkien’s descriptions of the various dwarves, now that I’ve seen the movie–twice now–and have completely fallen in love with the parody Thorin Dreamboatshield: An Unexpected Hotness of Dwarves.

Because, seriously, say what you will about Jackson, love him or hate him, laud or decry his filming in 48 frames per second… the achievement for me in the new movie? Making me swoon for dwarves.

And on that merry note, let’s get back into Chapter 7, shall we? We left off with Bilbo and the dwarves taking it easy at the House of Beorn!

Continue reading “Tri-lingual Hobbit re-read: Chapter 7 (third post)”

2012 Book Log #15: Cape Storm, by Rachel Caine

Cape Storm (Weather Warden, #8)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second to last Weather Warden novel was one that it took me a bit to get to, on a couple of grounds. One, that one of the plot threads in it sounded like something we’d already seen happen earlier in the series. And two, that I’d started reaching a point of apocalypse fatigue with these books–we’d already had so many instances of the Wardens and the Djinn facing the Imminent! Destruction! Of! The! World! that reading another round of it just seemed like, well, work.

This is not to say that Caine’s writing has suffered, since as always, her pacing is crisp and tight. And once I got into this story, I did actually find it quite readable. But that said, the issue of this story covering several themes that have already appeared earlier in the series did remain–the antagonism between the Wardens and the Djinn, the rage of Mother Earth against humanity, the angst surrounding Jo marrying David, the angst surrounding the unresolved feelings Lewis has for Jo. And to top it off, we also have angst about Oh No! Jo has a Demon Mark and it might turn her EVIL!

All of these things were certainly engagingly and compellingly handled, but the sheer fact that we’ve seen them before takes a bit of the urgency away. Which is a shame, because if you’ve stuck with the series this far, it is still definitely worth continuing so you make it to the final book and get that resolution. But it would have been cooler to not retread ground we’ve been over before. Three stars.

2012 Book Log #14: Downpour, by Kat Richardson

Downpour: A Greywalker Novel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I do love me some Greywalker. I DO. And I happily devoured Downpour, the sixth in the ongoing Kat Richardson series.

Given that this is an urban fantasy series, by now we’re well and thoroughly into the character progression–and into the inevitable levelling up of Harper’s Greywalker powers. At least a few other series I’ve stuck with this far have almost exhausted me, between a never-ending sense of “shit, does nothing good ever happen to these people?!” and the aforementioned levelling-up often not feeling like it’s justified at all. Happily, Kat Richardson never has this problem for me. Harper’s gaining power, sure. But so far it’s felt real, and logical, for her to do so. It’s changing her as a person, and she knows it, and she’s reacting to this in real and logical ways as well.

It’s awesome as well to see her continue to try to actually solve cases, and continue to try to operate at a level that isn’t necessarily ZOMG THE WORLD IS GOING TO EXPLODE. Such as in this installment, how she’s gone out on the Olympic Peninsula to do some investigating–and oh look! Ghostly car wreck victim! That investigation pulls her off on a side quest, only, of course Investigation A and Investigation B eventually tie together. Like ya do, in any urban fantasy novel.

And oh, I did like this story. Since I’ve been out on the Olympic Peninsula a time or two, it was great to see that area of the state getting some on-camera love. And I liked a LOT that we got elements of the fantastic that were rooted more in the Native American myths of the region than in more heavily used staples of urban fantasy–and I say that as somebody who loves her some elves.

And Quinn! Quinn! I love, love, love that there is an ongoing relationship here, and that we’re continuing to get more bits from his point of view as he’s trying to keep up in his own non-powered way with Harper’s changing status. Just because he loves her and because he’s that damned awesome.

Really, over all, this was great fun and I didn’t have a single quibble with it in the slightest. But for the love of all gods, don’t start here if you want to dive into the Greywalker books. Do know, though, that if you get through the first couple, you’ll have this one to look forward to. Five stars!

2012 Book Log #13: Follow My Lead, by Kate Noble

Follow My Lead

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Follow My Lead didn’t grab me quite as much as previous Kate Noble outings–but that isn’t to say I disliked this book. Because I didn’t! I still found this one an enjoyable read even though it didn’t click with me quite as much as the previous installments of the Blue Raven series.

This time around our principals are Jason Cummings, the Duke of Rayne, and the scholar Winnifred Crane. I’m always a sucker for stories in which the heroine’s a scholar of any kind, and given that this whole plot revolves around her wanting to go to Europe to do actual on-camera research, that’s bonus. But the circumstances that push Jason into being Winn’s escort made it a bit hard for me to suspend my disbelief; there were quite a few convolutions that had to happen before he could be thrown into her company.

On the other hand, though, I’m sure that’s rather par for the course for this kind of a plot, so I was willing to hand-wave that and get on with the main story. Which is to say, Jason and Winnifred having to scamper across Europe without access to much in the way of money–especially vexing for Jason, accustomed as he is to wealth–and with a rival determined to marry Winn hot on their trail. It is amusing to see the two brainstorm their way through getting money, and since Winnifred does actually get to exhibit some scholarly train of thought on camera, it’s fun to see Jason trying to keep up with her.

And of course there’s the obligatory Pretending to Have to Be Married scenario, otherwise they’d scandalize everybody they meet. And of course, since they’re having to pretend to be married, they naturally have to figure out how to react to one another in private as well. Seeing them work their way up through that is charming, and it’s in those stretches of the story that Ms. Noble’s fun touch with character chemistry comes through. All in all, three stars.

2012 Book Log #12: Unraveled, by Courtney Milan

Unraveled (Turner, #3)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third of Courtney Milan’s Turner series, her Regencies following the Turner brothers, turned out to be just as entertaining as the first two. And in some ways, I found it the most satisfying of the three!

Of the three Turner brothers, Smite’s the one who engaged my sympathies the most when it came to the name he’d been saddled with by his Bible-obsessed mother: “‘The Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done.'” Between this, the nightmares he suffers as a result of his childhood, his near-perfect memory, and his absolutely perfect committment to justice in his work as a magistrate, Smite’s a deeply compelling character. And with Miranda Darling, a seamstress raised by actors, who’s pulled into the shadowy dealings of the mysterious figure known as the Patron, Smite’s got an excellent heroine to stand with him in the plot.

Miranda is desperate to keep her young charge Robbie away from the temptations of working for the Patron–even if it means putting herself at risk by working for the Patron herself. And when the opportunity arises, she leaps on the chance to become Smite’s mistress and gain his protection for both herself and Robbie. Their relationship is a stormy one indeed. And one of my very favorite things about this book is how Ms. Milan handled Miranda’s reaction to Smite’s childhood trauma, i.e., with a refreshing lack of angst. I grinned outright at Smite’s line to Miranda about how there’s a limit to how much sentimentality he’ll tolerate in a day, a line that exemplified the delightful lack of mawkish angst between them.

And of course, because this is a historical romance and this is how things must go, Miranda’s troubles with the Patron are not at all easily resolved. Yet again, though, Ms. Milan excels. In many other books I’ve read, much of the plot conflict would have been handled by Miranda having to hide her troubles from Smite. Instead, here, she reveals them up front and they work together to get them dealt with.

Throw in some fun side resolution with the Turner family nemeses the Dalrymples, and some fun scenes involving Smite’s lively dog, and all in all this was an excellent conclusion to the Turner trilogy. Four stars.