What a lovely book. The intense focus of this book on one small spot of forest -- one meter of space -- yields some moving insights. I regularly readWhat a lovely book. The intense focus of this book on one small spot of forest -- one meter of space -- yields some moving insights. I regularly read snippets of this out loud in glee to my boyfriend -- "did you KNOW that snails' tongues are basically tiny bulldozers, and that nematodes are a huge part of the earth's overall mass, and that...." I've learned a ton of fun little snippets about a bunch of wildlife from this book, and seen again the complex threads that hold all of life together.
There's been a fair bit of commentary about the prose in this book, which I wanted to mention briefly. Haskell's prose is not the tight and gorgeous prose of e.g. Richard Fortey, but little is. It's still perfectly acceptable prose. Some of the commentary on the prose seems to be less about critiquing his sentences than about a sort of disappointment that a naturalist would wax lyrical about nature, instead of writing as if this were in an ecology journal -- but Haskell addresses this head on. We do lose something when we act as if science should be (or hell, even can be) wholly dispassionate, and personally, I love seeing a naturalist discuss how awe-inspiring nature is....more
The deck is, of course, beyond lovely. 5 billion stars for the deck, but that's not what I'm rating here.
The guidebook is middle of the road for me. IThe deck is, of course, beyond lovely. 5 billion stars for the deck, but that's not what I'm rating here.
The guidebook is middle of the road for me. It's very stripped down; plenty of room to make your own meanings, for sure, and the cards are so amazing that it's easy to supply those meanings. It doesn't provide a lot of discussion, though, and I'm not a fan of the somewhat advising tone; I find tarot useful for exploration beyond advice, so it's jarring to look at this guidebook with that sort of spread. Generally, though, I like the book....more
This is the same story as The Fifth Season, except in all the ways that it's noThe second book of a trilogy often disappoints.
Not so The Obelisk Gate.
This is the same story as The Fifth Season, except in all the ways that it's not. It has the same characters and it's a development of the same plot -- but this is not the hero setting out in quest. This is the hero in the thick of it. There is more continued world building, and again in ways that just make my skin tingle. There is straight up explanation, yes -- Alabaster is the trusty Hermione of the Stillness -- but the world building is also just settled into the bones of the story in a way that I truly loved.
And then there's the POVs. One of the distinct things about The Fifth Season was the second person POV for Essun, and the multiple POV structure. Well, in this book we still have a multiple POV structure with a second person POV for Essun -- but we also find out who the narrator is, and it is not who you would expect. I found this utterly wonderful, and such a fantastic use of story structure as an integral part of telling the story. (I've always personally enjoyed second person narration, so also genuinely enjoy that about these books.)
Overall, amazing, gorgeous, lush, I'm in love, etc....more
Jo Walton is a master of unreliable narrators and uncertain realities, and this book fits her niche wonderfully. It's an interwoven pair of stories --Jo Walton is a master of unreliable narrators and uncertain realities, and this book fits her niche wonderfully. It's an interwoven pair of stories -- the stories of one woman, a divergence after one choice. There are echoes between the two stories, experiences still held in common, but in odd and muted (and mutated) ways. A truly enjoyable book, and a protagonist who you come to love, no matter which life she's leading....more