I just finished White Night by Jim Butcher. It was good--lots of explosions and cool magic and such--but sometimes when I'm reading a new book in a lengthy series, the nuances of the world get muddled in my head. I remember who all the key characters are, but I forget the inner workings of different groups of people. This series, over the past several books, has had an ongoing war between the vampires and the wizards, and at this point I've forgotten who started the war, how, and why. One of Butcher's strengths, though, is his character development, and this book didn't dissappoint. Harry Dresden is a flawed and deeply conflicted character, and that makes him unpredictable. Love that. One of these days I'll have to go back and re-read them all.
Re-reading books. There seem to be two camps, those that do and those that don't. Last Sunday I caught Stephen King's The Stand on the sci-fi channel. Ken watched a bit and said "I remember the basic premise but not the details" and I said "This follows the book almost perfectly, most of the dialogue is even the same." Ken couldn't believe I remembered the dialogue that well. When I told him I'd read The Stand at least ten times, he was like, "Why? What's the point? You know what will happen. The time is better spent reading a new book." I maintain that that is not always the case. There's something comforting about reading a book you've read before. There are still surprises, because every time I re-read a book I discover something I missed before or I see a character in a different light. The characters are like old friends, maybe, the ones that you don't talk to for three years, then pick up the phone and you talk like no time has passed. I can't wait to re-read the Harry Potter books this summer. However, I've told myself that I can't start them until I have queries for my YA book out to ten agents.
I'm starting Without Remorse by Tom Clancy tonight. My husband and I watched The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck the other night. Liev Schreiber played Jack Clark, the badass uber-assassin. Ken mentioned that Without Remorse is all about Clark, said he really like it, and I should read it. "What the hell," I said. "I'll give it a go." I am a fan of the international-espionage books--Robert Ludlum being my fave--and so it's not inconceivable that I'll enjoy it. It must be said, though, that I've tried Clancy in the past, and I can never make it past the first few chapters. They tend to be massive info-dumps and it's hard for my braid to eat all that technical/weapons/international relations jargon without throwing the book aside in disgust.