Sluicing the reading backlog
Highfire, Eoin Colfer
The premise is pretty cool, but I never warmed to this book.
I think it's partly because none of the point of view characters are very likeable. The story is told from three different perspectives: the title character's; the antagonists; and a weirdly inert teenager.
The antagonist gets the most pages, and he is a right jerk. That's the point, I suspect, but he's not a likeable jerk. He's a pillock. At no point do I want to spend any time with him.
And yet the pages go by where I perforce must, in order to see how the story ends.
The Angel of The Crows, Katherine Addison
I really liked Goblin Emperor by the same author, and bought this book on the strength of that.
I was disappointed to learn that it's Sherlock Holmes fanfic. Not just Holmes fanfic, but Holmes mediated through the Moffat & Gatiss TV adaptation.
In addition to being set in a steampunk, urban fantasy setting, it changes the story by making Watson actually competent, and thus an equal partner to Holmes. We then get most of the major Holmes stories retold, plot beat for plot beat, but with the occasional not-so-surprising twist.
Speaking of unsurprising twists, there's a big reveal halfway through the book that I guessed in the first chapter.
It obviously took a lot of skill and hard work for Addison to make this story work as well as it does. It's just that I don't think it was at all worth the effort.