One book this week, but one that I'd actually recommend to fantasy fans looking for some light but decently-written reading.1) Tithe - Holly BlackTithe
is one of the many, many post-HP books with snazzy covers and endless bookstore exposure that I figured for crap (and thus finally picked up as a commute read). You may imagine my surprise upon discovering that it is, for what it is, a pretty darn good book; indeed, one I would probably have loved had I read it fifteen years ago.
The story itself is mostly standard fantasy fare but Black's writing--especially her depiction of Faerie--is surprisingly compelling, and her characters, although not exactly subtly drawn, are surprisingly likeable. Indeed, Black has a better grasp of Faerie's ambiance and the fey's ambivalence than do most authors in her league.
Of course, it's not exactly high literature. There's plenty of angst and melodrama as well as the requisite drug and subculture references to make things "cool" (e.g. the clumsily self-conscious explanation of shonen-ai midway through the narrative). The character of Corny is also problematic: not because of his sexual orientation per se, but because Black sets up an implicit contrast between this gay socially-inept otaku masochist who entertains fantasies of mass murder and finally does kill his emotionally and physically abusive boyfriend, and the heterosexual main character who isn't an otaku (her weirdness just means she's cool, see) who values human life and gets a happy end with her boyfriend who was also abusive and also planned to kill her, but only 'cause he was forced to so it doesn't count)
Although I'm well aware that my enjoyment of this book was all out of proportion to its merits, enjoy it I did--for the story, what's more. In fact, although I was planning on passing it on once I'd finished with it, I have the sneaking suspicion I'll want to read it again sometime.
That will be all.