I’m currently1 about 63% through an eARC of Jo Walton’s newest book, The Philosopher Kings. It’s the sequel to The Just City which I read and loved earlier this year, and so far it’s very good. It takes place 20 years after the end of the first book, and mostly it deals with the consequences of events from that book and one particularly heartbreaking scene in the first chapter of this book. It’s difficult to talk about without spoiling both the first and second books, so here’s part of the summary to give you some idea of what it’s about:
The god Apollo, living (by his own choice) a human life as “Pythias” in the City, his true identity known only to a few, is now married and the father of several children. But a tragic loss causes him to become consumed with the desire for revenge. Being Apollo, he goes handling it in a seemingly rational and systematic way, but it’s evident, particularly to his precocious daughter Arete, that he is unhinged with grief.
Along with Arete and several of his sons, plus a boatload of other volunteers–including the now fantastically aged Marsilio Ficino, the great humanist of Renaissance Florence–Pythias/Apollo goes sailing into the mysterious Eastern Mediterranean of pre-antiquity to see what they can find—possibly the man who may have caused his great grief, possibly communities of the earliest people to call themselves “Greek.” What Apollo, his daughter, and the rest of the expedition will discover…will change everything.
I love the characters, especially Arete (Apollo and Simmea’s daughter). Her relationship with her family, particularly her parents and what they’ve passed down to her genetically, is really what drives the whole story. (That and Apollo’s own “learning to be a human” character development.)
The Philosopher Kings is also my 100th (finished) book for this year! I set my reading goal in January to 185 books, five more than what I ended up reading last year. I feel like I can make it, particularly because I’m ahead of schedule at the moment. I expect that when grad school starts in late August my for-fun reading will slow down to a trickle, so I’m reading as much as I can now.
Yes, grad school in the fall! I’ve signed up for three core classes, which I hope isn’t too many. I only have p/t hours at the moment, so I have enough time to dedicate to school, but I haven’t been in school for almost half a decade, and I have no idea how hard a graduate level class actually is. Also, it’s all online! I’ve never taken a completely online class before. All sorts of new things to deal with.
Speaking of work: I’m on summer break right now! It’s so strange being on a school-year schedule again, though I do like having built-in (albeit unpaid) vacations. I’ve applied to some other p/t jobs, however, since I do need an actual income during the summers nowadays. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a lot (see above) and getting back into making art collages, which I haven’t done in over a year. (More on that in another post.)
What’ve you been up to lately?
- when I wrote this; I’ve since finished it. ↩