N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Despite all the fuss over this debut fantasy novel, it took me a while to pick it up. I'm not sure what I can usefully add to what has already been said, except to say that the praise is richly deserved. There's a bit of a bobble at the very opening, for me, at least, but that is undoubtedly a matter of taste and it doesn't last long. Very cool stuff about a castle that's a whole city, byzantine schemes and some very unpleasant, ruthless people, a few enslaved and therefore resentful gods, a heroine on the track of her mother's killer, and occasional moments of stunning compassion. Very shortly, I was immersed and am now looking forward to reading more by Jemisin.
Connie Willis. Blackout/All Clear. Time-traveling historians visit the London Blitz, get trapped there, try to find a way home without changing history and thereby creating a future in which their world (and their time machine) does not exist. All done up in inimitable Connie Willis style. This two-part novel is (fortunately or unfortunately, according to your taste) downright chatty, with lots of conversations in which characters alternate between discussing the minutia of surviving in a dangerous historical period and trying to figure out either how to get home, why their failsafe return strategies aren't working, and whether they are inadvertently changing history. If you like dialog, you'll relish them, but if you find this sort of detail tedious, the story will be slow going. Crucial details are planted in the midst, and if your eyes are glazing over, you'll miss them. Another objection I've heard, although it wasn't an issue for me, was the