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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Ack-Ack Macaque
Gareth L. Powell
Progress: 249/792 pages
Introduction to Topology
Bert Mendelson
Progress: 10/224 pages
Isaac Newton
James Gleick
Progress: 32/289 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 468/700 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 242/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
I Am a Cat
Graeme Wilson, Aiko Ito, Sōseki Natsume
Progress: 410/638 pages

The Violet Keystone

The Violet Keystone - Garth Nix

Looking back at this series from some distance (it's months since I read this volume and years since I started the series) it feels very much like an author learning his trade; the contrast in writing quality between first and last volumes is large. Perhaps the best aspect of the series is the imagination on display, which certainly intimates what Nix would prove capable of in later works, particularly the Old Kingdom and Keys to the Kingdom series.


The latter stages are better than some of his stand-alone novels and the first two Trouble-Twisters books. The reason for this is given away in Nix' short story collection. He mentions that he never bothers to work out more detail in his imagined worlds than is necessary for the plot. Hence the more wide-ranging and longer the series, the more fully realised the world becomes - and this shows very clearly indeed. The way to convince people an imagined place is real is to make people think there is plenty more to learn that they have not been told. This can only be done if the world does exist in the writers imagination well beyond the bounds of the story in the book. History, language and culture are all required facets. Unfortunately in fantastical fiction writing of any variety, as in so many other trades, the more effort you put in the better the result you get out.