Went shopping, mostly because Adrian was so bored at home. Bought some jeans for Ingrid – she has none and has asked for them, probably because her friends talk about them. Curtain fabric for the bathroom. A soap dish. A nice jar for my fish oil pills. Socks and leggings and other small stuff.

This book is part two in a series – I previously reviewed part one (The Gardens of the Moon).

In fact I barely need to write a review about this book. Everything I said about the first book, except my attempt at a plot summary, could be copied and pasted here and it would still be valid. Erikson is consistent in his style, to say the least. So read that linked post before you continue with this one.

Just like the previous book, this one has a whole bunch of plot threads that work around and between and across and into each other. There is an army protecting some tens of thousands of civilian refugees while they march across a hostile continent to a safe city. There is a group of people who flee from a slave camp, and end up in weird places on the way. There is another group trying to journey to the capital city to kill the empress. There are more wanderers (no one in this world seems to stay in one place!) trying to find some sort of important place for some sort of important reason, but this thread I didn’t manage to keep hold of, sorry. And then some more.

This time I found the book too much.

Too much complexity – I kept getting lost, this time. How did this bunch of people end up where they are, again? And remind me, what did these guys have to do with that thing?

Too much intensity. It’s like the book starts at fortissimo and then goes crescendo from there. When everything is at maximum volume, your ears start to hurt after a while, so what should be the real peaks pass almost unnoticed in the general noise.

Too much monotonous travelling. At times it feels like everybody is on their way somewhere, most of them across a desert landscape, and all Erikson can do is throw more complications in their way just so they don’t arrive too early and too easily. I found myself skipping pages because there was more dusty travelling along with ominous comments about upcoming troubles.

Too much death and darkness. An awful lot of people die in this book. And, as an Amazon reviewer points out, Erikson “rarely lets an opportunity to stop and fetishize a horror go past”. There’s torture and rape and murder left, right and center. It is a book about war, admittedly, but when people get slaughtered in the tens of thousands, you’ve passed some sort of limit. Was that really necessary? Well, perhaps it will turn out to be, in a later book. Right now it just felt awful. It doesn’t exactly entice me to pick up the next book in the series. However several reviewers say that book 3 is more like the first one so I think at some point I will, anyway.

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Adlibris.

A good review, if you want more.

Sat outside in the warm spring sunshine during Adrian’s morning nap and mended clothes. (A rip in one of Ingrid’s tunics, as well as seams along the bottoms of zippers in one coat and one cardigan and one bath robe.)

Packed away my floor-length fleece skirts, I don’t think I will be needing them again this season. Dug out some thinner trousers more suited for the current weather.

Wrestled my bike and our bicycle trailer out from the garage, over piles of building materials. Installed a baby seat in the trailer. Tried putting Adrian in the seat and realized he wouldn’t fit, even though he’s within the age and size limits, so I had to remove it again.

Cycled, with both kids in the trailer, to Ingrid’s dance-and-play group. The weather was so nice that I really did not want to sit in a stuffy bus. Good workout, with all the hills in this part of the town. This was perhaps overly ambitious for Adrian’s first time – late afternoon, tired baby, first time in weird new contraption – but it worked OK. He was really tired and thus pretty unhappy on the way home but luckily Ingrid was sitting there right next to him and could pop in the dummy whenever he spat it out.

Adrian is sleeping very well during his first two naps but the third, late afternoon one, is a struggle now. He is mostly staying awake for about two and a half hours between naps, so the afternoon nap doesn’t fit into his day any more. He doesn’t get tired until so late that I really don’t want him to nap any more. Then I have to keep him up until it’s time for his night sleep, by which time he is too tired and cannot relax to go to sleep. Kahte vähe, kolme palju – two is too little and three is too much.

Yesterday: grocery shopping to refill the pantry and fridge after several days’ absence. In the evening, two of Ingrid’s friends came to keep us company. Our dinner, of course, was not appreciated. (A thai style curry with sweet potatoes, kidney beans, sweetcorn and cabbage, in a coconut cream and peanut butter sauce, served with noodles.)

Today: playgroup with Adrian. Then a nap for both of us – my sleep in Uppsala suffered due to a narrow bed, and Adrian has been waking a lot for the past two nights. After preschool, a trip to the library with Ingrid; and then to the locksmith to get a new cylinder for the lock on our back door and the new sliding door, so we can use the same key on all three. Installed one of them this evening; it was a surprisingly simple job.

Started planning this summer’s trip to Estonia. I had been thinking of renting a car both for that trip and for the rest of our summer holiday, but it turns out no car rental company will let you drive the car to Eastern Europe. Bummer. We’ll either have to buy a car for the summer (I am still not at all convinced I want to own one in the long run) or rent one in Estonia. Or make do without.

Spending Easter weekend with my mum in Uppsala. Today, an outing to the Fjällnora recreation area, with a tipspromenad walk through the forest. Brilliant sunshine again, lovely warm spring day. Lots of pretty blue and purple hepatica and wood anemones. Ingrid, with her distaste of walking, cycled on the forest path, even down some steep slopes with pine roots and stones. A budding mountain biker?

A lovely warm and sunny day, so the whole family went to Skansen. Ice cream, carousels and fairground rides. All really tired – both kids were asleep almost as soon as they went to bed.

Some fresh bookmarks from delicious.com:

Information-gathering trips to Söderkök & luckor for wardrobe doors and to Tapetrummet here in Spånga for wallpaper. This took most of the day.

I’d post links to the wallpapers I’m considering but the wallpaper companies make that impossible. Their websites really suck. I’ll be borrowing a few albums with samples from the wallpaper shop and will have to take photos then.

In some ways life with children gets easier as they grow up, and in some ways it gets harder. Both Ingrid and Adrian have taken quantum leaps that have made a radical difference to how well our everyday life flows: Ingrid when she got her bike, thereby significantly reducing the endless complaints about tired legs, and Adrian when he learned to sit up on his own, so I can take him with me wherever I go in the house or garden. I am so very grateful for both skills, every single day.

Started painting Ingrid’s fort while Adrian was napping. Almost all of the outside now has a first coat of paint – the inside and the bottom remain to do, plus a second coat. Ingrid picked the colour herself in the hardware store last week – this (fuchsia/magenta?) is her favourite colour.

Playgroup with Adrian. He loved it, as usual. The staff commented on how happy he always is, and I told them, “you should see him at home”. It struck me again what a contrast that is compared to how he is at home with just the two of us. He wants company and action. I on the other hand want peace and quiet at least during some part of the day.

Went to the library with Ingrid after preschool.