Hawk's romantic dynamic is not my favorite (too much pining of the I'm-not-worthy variety; I love a good pine but not of the pedestal-placing sort), aHawk's romantic dynamic is not my favorite (too much pining of the I'm-not-worthy variety; I love a good pine but not of the pedestal-placing sort), and there's a certain...muchness that is lacking in the characterization and world-building, but goddamn but I enjoy the raw ideas she has. I also love the historical-romance-fantasy blur she's got going on.
Basically, I want a million and one fanfic stories that play with the idea of familiar-and-witch mashed up with other canons, sort of like how Sentinel!fic has become A Thing that happens in other universes. ...more
Queer poly second-world fantasy/historicalish romance WITH GIANT CATS YOU CAN RIDE. It's got a very fanfic-like sensibility (a la The Captive Prince,Queer poly second-world fantasy/historicalish romance WITH GIANT CATS YOU CAN RIDE. It's got a very fanfic-like sensibility (a la The Captive Prince, in a lot of ways), particulalry in the way it's long and leisurely in its treatment of both worldbuilding, religion-building, and...emotional-arc-building(?), as it's got a lot of romance novel trappings but doesn't hit the beats in quite the way most romance novels do. It's lovely in how the heroine's neurodivergency is handled by her love interests; there's some excellent secret!pining, and the fantasy worldbuilding is interesting.
(view spoiler)[Is this really a spoiler? I mean, you kinda know from the front cover that they're all three going to end up with each other. Cutting just in case. While I'm all about all three of them finding happily ever after together, I did find the extensive in-universe justification for the second wedding(s) a little, "....really?" Like, get married! Totally! Everyone gets married to each other! Fancy dresses and suits galore! But multiple pages outlining how the marriage contract is legal even though the relationships themselves may be illegal? It kind of sucked the punch out of the characters finally being in a place where they are emotionally ready to pledge their troth to each other all the way around. (hide spoiler)]
BUT REALLY, IT'S ABOUT THE GIANT CATS. I don't know quite know if they're supposed to be like actual big cats (panthers, tigers, etc), but I could not help picturing giant versions of house cats, in particular my own. GIANT CATS WHO TALK SMACK, HIT THE 'NIP, AND GO GALLIVANTING WITH YOU. I am verklempt. And want to go take a nap on my cat's belly. ...more
"Prunella had once thought life in London would be all flirting and balls and dresses, hitting attentive suitors on the shoulder with a fan, and break"Prunella had once thought life in London would be all flirting and balls and dresses, hitting attentive suitors on the shoulder with a fan, and breakfasting late on bowls of chocolate. She sighed now for her naivete. Little had she known that life in London was all hexes and murder and thaumaturgical politics, and she would always be rising early for some reason or other!"
This book is a goddamn delight. It is the love child of Georgette Heyer and one of a better variety of fantasy novels. It's a little slow to get going, almost as if the author is impatient with all the world-building setup she has to do in order to get to the story she wants to tell, so she dumps it all in one place. But, oh, once she gets going, it's *marvelous.*
I love that it takes the domestic concerns of women as seriously as it does the politics of men, not to mention showing how inextricably entwined they are, when they're not one and the same. I love that it gives off some of the same effervescent fluff of Heyer novels while featuring a main cast of almost exclusively characters of color, something Heyer's books could never dream of. I love that those characters of color have wildly varied backgrounds and experiences; too often in books set in this era in England, if you have any characters of color, you get one - pick Asia, Africa, or India, but certainly not all three.
Basically this book gave me all the gossamer delight of a certain brand of fantasy and/or historical romance novel with none of the unpleasant race and gender nonsense that are often part and parcel of those genres. Would read a frillion more books like this. ...more
I settled into this book much better when I realized this was not supposed to be Rainbow Rowell's version of Cath's fanfic from Fangirl, that this wasI settled into this book much better when I realized this was not supposed to be Rainbow Rowell's version of Cath's fanfic from Fangirl, that this was instead Rainbow Rowell's take on a Chosen One magical narrative in the fictional universe she'd created in Fangirl. As that, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It just took me a minute to adjust tracks, because this, while a lovely story with strong fanfic overtones, is not fanfic. You can see fanfic from here; it contains many of the same beats as fanfic, but it puts the emPHAsis on the wrong syLAbble to be fanfic in style.
So, yeah. Ditch the idea that it's an original fiction spin on fanfiction; read it as pure fantasy, and you'll have a good time. I particularly enjoyed what it did with its female characters and characters of color even in a narrative ostensibly focused around two white dudes in luuuuurve. Fanfic could stand to see more of that.
(In comparison, see The Captive Prince for a book that hits fanfic beats with original characters/plot, in my experience.)...more
A vast, vast improvement on earlier books in the series, though that is faint praise, indeed. (And yet, and yet I still read them all.) The pacing isA vast, vast improvement on earlier books in the series, though that is faint praise, indeed. (And yet, and yet I still read them all.) The pacing is still weird, but Lackey went with the bold choice of actually having things happen at multiple points during the story. In fact, I somewhat wonder if this is the start of another sub-arc in the overall Elemental Masters series, as otherwise there are large swathes of the book that seem disconnected from each other. The training montage/lavish house party/wallowy descriptions of luxury and food at the heroine's new home base works much, much better if it's the origin story for this heroine. One of the other strengths of this book over previous - the jettisoning of the strict adherence to romance novel relationship pacing - also makes me suspect future books about Rosa, who is also one of the least irritating heroines in this series in quite some time. Rosa will get her tied-with-a-bow happy ending at some point, just not yet. Which is good. Lackey doesn't compromise Rosa's established character traits to force a romance happy ending, which makes for an overall better book.
So, hey. Hope for the future! Because of course I will still be reading. ...more