Bit of a book review and author review here. Back last November I came across the book A Brother's Price
by Wen Spencer. I can't remember what directed me to it. Possibly a mention on the Bujold list, possibly it popped up on Amazon recommendations? I don't recall. In any case, I took it out from the library.
I read it and enjoyed it VERY much. Catherine Asaro's review of Wen Spencer is "Don't plan on getting anything else done if you start a Wen Spencer novel; they are exceedingly hard to put down!" She's RIGHT. It grabbed me. I enjoyed it, and I told Karl about it, and shortly after that I was requesting it from the library again for him, and he enjoyed it, too.
That book is a standalone, not part of a series. She's written the Ukiah Oregon series, but from the couple-of-word descriptions I'd seen, that didn't sound as interesting. I finally figured what the heck, and requested the first one, Alien Taste
, from the library. I just finished it yesterday.
It gets hard to explain why I'm liking these books so much. I think the best description is that she writes characters that really grab me, and I really want to know more about them and find out more of what happens to them. I regularly say that good characters and character development are the most important thing to me in good stories. Alien Taste
was published in 2001 (for comparison, A Brother's Price
was published in 2005), and from what I can see on Wen Spencer's wikipedia entry, it looks to be her first published book. And it does have first-book, new-author problems. Partway through a main character believes and accepts things about the main character, too quickly and too easily, IMO. The pacing in the book shifts abruptly - which can be okay, but it felt rushed and I noticed it. There were some continuity issues, I guess that's the best phrase for it. Nonetheless, it was a good read.  Just as the other book, the characters grabbed me and I didn't want to stop reading it. I've set it aside for Karl, and requested the rest of the series from the library.
The other book by her that I have from the library at the moment is Tinker
. It's not part of that series, it seems to be the start of a new series.  The next book comes out in summer 2006.
Here I go again. I'm quite sure that yes, I could put this book down for days if I had to. Well, hours anyway. It's just that I don't *want* to. The fact that after I got gas this afternoon I came down Camp Bowie with all the stoplights, rather than cutting back up Bryant Irving to immediately get back on the freeway was due to a desire for something different, and had nothing to do with reading a few more paragraphs whenever I was stuck at a stoplight. Right?
I started it at lunch. I'm 62 pages in. Check back with me for further opinions when I come up for air. Whenever that is.
Anyway, if you enjoy good character-driven stories, you might want to check out Wen Spencer.
(Hm, Alien Taste
also won the Compton Crook award, which I'd never heard of before, which is for the "best first novel of the year in the field of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror by the members of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc,")
was the winner of 2003 Campbell award (best new writer), and won 1st place (novel) 2004 Sapphire Awards for the Best Science Fiction Romance, according to the wikipedia entry. I can see why.