Recent books — Cleopatra, Dagmar, Cowboy Angels, Vandermeer

* “Cleopatra: A Life”: amazon by Stacy Schiff. Bio of Cleopatra, with a sympathetic eye. A little long but she lived a fascinating life. 3.5 stars on amazon, 3.56 on Goodreads. I’d say 2.5, just drags on a little too much.

* “Deep State”:amazon by Walter Jon Williams. Terrible. No character or setting depth. Plot choppy. At one point I searched for author’s name on Internet, I assumed he had died and someone finished the book from his notes. The first book with the Dagmar character was good, but this is not. Amazon says 4.5 stars, Goodreads says 3.5, I do not get it.

* “Cowboy Angels”:amazon by Paul McAuley. Many-worlds conspiracy tale, reasonably engaging. Amazon says 3.5 stars, Goodreads says 3.3, OK this book is not going to win prizes, but it was engaging and way better than the book above.

* “City of Saints and Madmen”:amazon by Jeff Vandermeer. Hey I learned the word “farctated” from this book which makes it a 5 star book just on that basis. This is a very odd and compelling fantasy tale set in a very strange city. I love books that play with structure, this was awesome. And the author made his invented taxonomy of freshwater squid a compelling read — that is an achievement. 5 stars. Amazon says 4.5 stars, Goodreads says 4.