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Spirit: or, The Princess of Bois Dormant

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  81 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Bibi (it means princess) is the sole survivor of a massacre. Lady Nef, the General's wife, stops the General taking her as a concubine, winning Bibi's eternal and passionate devotion. Years later, a diplomatic mission to a supposedly friendly planet ends in disaster. Bibi, now a junior officer in Lady Nef's household, is incarcerated with her mistress in the notorious high ...more
472 pages
Published 2008 by Gollancz
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Old Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAltered Carbon by Richard K. MorganPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe Road by Cormac McCarthy
Classic Science Fiction - 2000-2009
188th out of 241 books — 148 voters
The Windup Girl by Paolo BacigalupiThe City & the City by China MiévilleCyberabad Days by Ian McDonaldWWW by Robert J. SawyerFinch by Jeff VanderMeer
2010 Sci-Fi Award Nominees
24th out of 36 books — 7 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 279)
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Carol Kerry-green
This has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time, I would award it six stars if I could!! I can certainly see why it made the short list of the Arthur C Clarke Award, a pity it didn't win, I'll have to read the winner to see if I agree with the decision.

Spirit is full of life, the lives of Honesty and Nightingale, the lives of Ch'ro and Dy'ffd, of Cho, Drez and Aswad, of General Yu, Pepper Lily, Amal and Vale; of Francois and Lady Nef, but most of all of Bibi herself, the Princess
...more
Simon Mcleish
Jul 04, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it it was amazing
Originally published on my blog here.

There are a few writers who seem to be able to create a world which is instantly memorable, colourful and atmospheric, and it is a valuable skill to have in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Michael Moorcock and China Miéville can do it, and now Gwyneth Jones shows herself to be another member of the club.

The story opens as the central character, a girl named Bibi, survives the massacre of the community into which she was born, by accepting the offer ma
...more
Liviu
Spirit: The Princess Du Bois Dormant by Gwyneth Jones is a standalone novel in her Aleutinian universe of the White Queen trilogy and several stories.

I liked this one so much that I ordered the original trilogy and I intend to read those books when I get them.

In the Diaspora universe of Humanoid Bipeds - of which the "Blues" - humans of Earth/Blue Planet are one race, the serial immortals Aleutinians are another, and the vampire bat-like Sigurtians yet another with several more around, the spac
...more
Tim Pendry
Dec 06, 2009 Tim Pendry rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An enjoyable and highly imaginative science fiction romp with many good qualities but, in style, it is structured as if it were three novella strung together.

The first two fifths is about life on an imperial earth of the future, one with strong Chinese characteristics but partly re-feudalised and with some highly ambiguous class relations. This is by far the best part of the book and it is a fine achievement that stands up with the best of modern science fiction. This first section closes and e
...more
Zen Cho
May 27, 2012 Zen Cho rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
Wah, I really loved this! I bought it ages ago at BookXCess (or however it's spelt) and then it hung around in my room for ages until it became a bit of an obligation book -- I had to read it the way one has to eat broccoli. But then I read it and it was not broccoli, it was cheesecake!

MILDLY SPOILERY REVIEW FOLLOWS. Not terribly spoilery if you know the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo.



I've reread Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo several times and still think the original was better than the anim
...more
Mark Jordan
Aug 04, 2016 Mark Jordan rated it really liked it
I thought this book gave the reader a very vivid insight into the lives the aliens in the story were living, trying to handle and cope with intrigue, betrayal, love and friendship. The descriptions of the planets, habitats that were visited in the book by the characters in the book was VERY GOOD INDEED! The descriptions were so good I felt I was on the page with them in the story because in my minds eye I felt as if I was actually there. Everything about the story-line fell into place just at th ...more
Bruce
Jun 29, 2009 Bruce rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
While I enjoyed this book, it was a bit of a letdown after the Bold As Love cycle, which was 5 stars all the way.

At close to 500 pages, I was not really interested until pg 100 or so. It became quite gripping around p150 and held my interest thereafter. Note also reading the back cover will give away the plot of about 2/3 of the book.

Be warned, Jones requires a bit of focus and an open mind from her readers.

It may also be the case that this book will be more interesting after reading the White
...more
Jenina
Apr 26, 2010 Jenina rated it really liked it
This is my introduction to a very imaginative British sci-fi fantasy author. Recommendation of a friend who is into sci-fi and transhumanism, this is a space saga that will have you gripped in not one but several worlds. Divided into several parts with 'intermissions' in between, the book explores time travel, 'Traditionalist' polygamy vs liberal options, virtual reality, immortality and the transference of consciousness, social versus personal realities and other issues each of which might be s ...more
Amanda
Jul 14, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
Taking The Count of Monte Cristo as her inspiration, in Spirit Gwyneth Jones writes a novel of betrayal and revenge. The novel follows the story of Gwibiwr, known as Bibi - daughter of one of the rebel chieftains of White Rocks - as she is offered the choice to either become a concubine or a servant within the household of Lady Nef. The first half of the novel deals with the political machinations and plotting of General Yu and Lady Nef, as they head on a delicate mission to Sigurt's World, and ...more
Coucher de soleil
I must admit to being disappointed with this novel. The setting was extremely original and unusual -this was not a novel that merely aspired to mere 'fluff' status. Rather, the author was aspiring to write true literature, which is something I both respect and admire.

Good points: This was one of the most original novels I've ever read. It truly is utterly unlike anything else out there (IMHO). Also, the notion of reshaping the 'Count of Monte-Cristo' story of betrayal and revenge within a futur
...more
Ken Sodemann
This book was OK, but did not really hit me. Part of the problem is that I think to some degree the book assumes you are already somewhat familiar with the universe in which the book takes place. Being as this is the first Gwyneth Jones book I have read, that certainly was not the case for me.

The book has a slow pace and seems to spend a lot of time setting up the story, which would be great if that setup actually developed the characters in a way that made me care about them, but this book fail
...more
Helen
Free download from the author's website.

Can see the The Count of Monte Cristo vibes in this :)

An interesting premise - and as I've read Monte Cristo, once I'd spotted the comparisons it became quite obvious what was going to happen in places. The writing style was a bit dry and I felt that less in the "build up" and more in the "revenge" senario would have helped a bit. (view spoiler) The world building was pretty cool
...more
Matti Tornio
Feb 09, 2016 Matti Tornio rated it liked it
There's some great unique ideas here and the worldbuilding is excellent. Unfortunately the rest of the book is not up to those same high standards. The writing style is quite dry and not very compelling and the novel suffers from serious pacing issues.
Doug
Jan 07, 2014 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is real quality. It is also unfortunately extremely difficult to describe.

The blurb on the back claims it is a "high octane retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo" which is correct as far as it goes - the basic elements of the story are there. However, the baroque setting, the dreamlike quality of the narrative and the fantastic nature of the characters makes this quite a different proposition.

Highly recommended.


Remigijus Jodelis
Jun 07, 2015 Remigijus Jodelis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite different from the usual SF books i read. Worldbuilding, cultural descriptions and the story itself were excellent, writing style not so much - slow-paced and full of obscure details at times.
Jen
Jul 29, 2011 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, scifi
Goodish sci-fi space opera novel, supposedly like a new version of the Count of Monte Cristo. Bibi is given as a wife to a bat-like alien life form. She has a child but is then incarcerated in prison for years. She escapes and builds a new life for herself, with the help of her 3 henchmen. When she escapes, she sets out to redress some wrongs and ultimately, gets revenge on the powerful political generals who were responsible for her imprisonment.
Andi
Jul 27, 2016 Andi added it
I read this book many years ago and some of the scenes... it has haunted me ever since. I enjoyed it even more the second time.
SBC
This sf retelling of the Count of Monte Cristo was very well done and left me thinking about it for a long time afterwards.
Dennis
Aug 21, 2011 Dennis rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An interesting space opera by an author I haven't read before.
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Gwyneth Ann Jones, born in Manchester, 14th February 1952, writer. She's the author of more than twenty novels for teenagers, mostly using the name Ann Halam, and several highly regarded sf novels for adults. She's won two World Fantasy awards, the Arthur C. Clarke award, the British Science Fiction Association short story award, the Dracula Society's Children of the Night award, the P.K.Dick awar ...more
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