The State of the Reader: 4/21/21

<–The State of the Reader: 4/7/21         The State of the Reader: 5/5/21–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 6

Total: $31.94

Books Finished: 1

Title: Agents of Dreamland
Series: Tinfoil Dossier
Author: Caitlín R. Kiernan
Date Added: October 31, 2020
Date Started: March 30, 2021
Date Finished: April 19, 2021

Cover of Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Tinfoil Dossier)Media: eBook/Kindle

The close of this came abruptly, which I suppose is how normal people will experience the end of the world.  It was very much in the spirit of Lovecraft with more horrifying questions for each answer.  Each chapter had me wondering when the hell it was taking place, which is pretty meta for one of the characters who mentally travels through time.

I bought the next book immediately (as seen in the Purchased section above).  It has a mien of both Lovecraft and a hardboiled detective story, not a combination I’ve seen before.

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The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4)

The Raven Cycle

<–Blue Lily, Lily Blue (TRC #3)                                                                                  Opal (TRC #4.5)–>

Title: The Raven King
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 4, 2017
Date Started: April 8, 2017
Date Finished: May 24, 2017
Reading Duration: 46 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Romance

Pages: 448
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: The Wizard in the Tree, Welsh Mythology, Final Fantasy X, Inception

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


The finale of Maggie Stiefvater’s illustrious YA series (which I didn’t even realize was YA until I realized it was YA) has both the love and loss that’s expected of the genre without the cliche.  The reason for Noah’s existence and draw to Gansey’s court is made abundantly clear, and more than one relationship therein is resolved.  Ms. Stiefvater not only manages to introduce another member this late in the game, though he was mentioned/seen briefly before so not entirely novel, but she also gave us more unexpected relationships.  So unexpected I had to leave a potential genre out of my list as just the mention of such would be too much of a clue, and it is so uncontrived, perfect, and pure that giving it away would be a sin.  If you’ve read the final book or are curious, I’ll talk about it in the spoiler markers below.  It doesn’t give away the main plot, but it does give away one of the major relationships.

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The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Authors: Anonymous, Evangeline Walton (translator), Betty Ballantine (Introduction)
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016
Date Finished: May 6, 2017
Reading Duration: 281 days
Genre: Mythology/Welsh Mythology/Celtic Mythology/Irish Mythology, Fantasy, Classic

Pages: 720
Publication Date: April 1, 1980
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: The Chronicles of Prydain, The Raven Cycle

The retelling of the epic Welsh myth that is “certainly among the top 5 fantasy series of the twentieth century” (sfsite.com).

The Mabinogion is to Welsh mythology what the tales of Zeus, Hera, and Apollo are to Greek myth. these tales constitute a powerful work of the imagination, ranking with Tokien’s Lord of the Rings novels and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Evangeline Walton’s compelling rendition of these classic, thrilling stories of magic, betrayal, lost love, and bitter retribution include the encounter between Prince Pwyll and Arawn, the God of Death, which Pwyll survives by agreeing to kill the one man that Death cannot fell, and the tale of bran the blessed and his family’s epic struggle for the throne.

The Mabinogion is internationally recognized as the world’s finest arc of Celtic mythology; Walton’s vivid retelling introduces an ancient world of gods and monsters, heroes, kings and quests, making accessible one of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time.


******Warning: Some mentions of rape as it pertains to the narrative.******

I first cut my teeth on Welsh Mythology with The Prydain Chronicles of Lloyd Alexander, books written for children, and rife with the myths of that land.  It was where I first saw the name “Gwydion” and heard the term “Son of Don” and “Math Son of Mathonwy.”  At the time I though Don and Mathonwy were the names of their fathers since lineage now and still flows through the father, but at that point in the history of Wales, the name of the mother was the line of kings.

Prydain did an excellent job of introducing the rich mythological history of Wales, and Mr. Alexander (who is actually from around my area) cited the Mabinogion as one of his sources, but as it was a children’s book, The Chronicles barely scratched the surface of the myths’ depths.  Though I read the series years ago (and haven’t had a chance to reread it again), I remembered the name of the source, and when the opportunity presented, obtained a copy of the volume in question.

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