Though part of this is about books. I’ve just finished Alma Alexander’s Gift of the Magi, the first of her Worldweavers trilogy (at least I think it’s meant to be a trilogy). I liked it a lot; the combination of school story, the interface of computers in magic and Native American mythology is as interesting as I thought, and is paced carefully enough that it makes sense and doesn’t feel like a bunch of noncongruent stuff tossed randomly together. I’m curious to see what happens next and will definitely buy the next book. (Well, I’ll buy it at some point – depending how easy it is to get English-language books, if I’m in Taiwan when it comes out!)

My one issue with the book is that it has a touch of Harry Potter syndrome, which is not at the sort of insult Alma* will probably take it as, if she reads this. (Really. Not.) I mean that it has engaging plot, engaging characters, but a few logical gaps that occasionally disrupted my immersion in the story. For instance, it’s a little hard to tell, but I read Thea’s father and mother as loving parents, occasionally a little disappointed that she doesn’t meet their expectations but trying to mask it and love her anyway. If that’s true, it’s really hard to believe her mother Ysabel would so easily let her young daughter go off to spend the summer with a stranger in a strange place when she knows almost nothing about person or place. Another example is when Thea and Cheveyo go on a particularly exhausting hike, come home, Thea sleeps for twelve hours and they set off for somewhere else, leaving around noon. The book is very clear about this timing – but then a few lines later, it says something like, “In the days since their hike, Thea had come to realize that…”

It’s not enough to put me off the book and its sequels. In fact, it doesn’t make me doubt Alma’s skill at all. What it makes me doubt are her editors. I’ve always figured that TOm Clancy is such a big dog that no editor would dare cut the bloat from his books, that JK Rowling is such a phenom (and fans are screaming so loudly for her next installment) that the red pencils quake in their hands for fear they should damage something essential. But Alma isn’t a Clancy or a King or a Rowling, at least not at this point in her career, and I don’t think she’s got the sort of ego that would refuse any changes if she were. So where’s the careful editing she deserves?

(*I feel like I should be referring to her as Alexander for a proper review, but we’ve met a few times, she’s a good friend of a relative, and I do call her Alma.)

In other news, I finished the second sock I was working on, and cast on for a new one Friday night. This is of a toothpicks-and-string guage (8 sts/in) but surprisingly, it’s going even faster than the DK-weight socks I just finished. I’m on the heel gusset already. The vacation time had a lot to do with this, between driving to Brugge and back and then riding on the train to Rotterdam. Maybe when I post my report of our travels this weekend, I can get some sock pics up as well.