I am a big fan of literature that retell or reconfigure old myths and fairy tales especially if the author can bring it into a modern setting and so I...moreI am a big fan of literature that retell or reconfigure old myths and fairy tales especially if the author can bring it into a modern setting and so I really liked the concept of The Stolen Child, a modern adaptation of the changling myth in which the fairies steal away a human child and replace it with one of their own. With all this to its credit, I should have enjoyed this book more than I did.
The Stolen Child is based on the poem by Yeats where the fairies lure a human child away from the care-filled world of the humans to live in the idyllic world of the fairies. But in the book, there is no lure. It is simple abduction and the life of the hobgoblin tribe is feral, hard and misreable, which each member trying desperatly to get back to the human world. But their efforts to do so are constrained by arbitrary rules that are never explained or put into context. These rules start out being followed and enforced as if they were of life and death importance but later get abandoned or ignored with little fanfare or consequences. The tone of the book was more like an alien abduction story than something ancient and fairy tale-ish. It may be a matter of taste but I think that if you are going to draw on Old World mythology, there should be some Old World flavor and foundations to your story.
The mirrored quests by both the changling and the abducted boy to recall and reconcile their identities had its interesting points but overall, I would have preferred a little more attention to the mythology of the world and a little less angst. The mirrored quests by both the changling and the abducted boy to recall and reconcile their identities had its interesting points but overall, I would have preferred a little more attention to the mythology of the world and a little less angst. (less)
**spoiler alert** As much as I enjoyed returning to the world of Terre d'Ange, I have to say that Naamah's Kiss wasn't nearly as good as the original...more**spoiler alert** As much as I enjoyed returning to the world of Terre d'Ange, I have to say that Naamah's Kiss wasn't nearly as good as the original two trilogies in the Kushiel's Legacy series. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book and when the next one in the trilogy comes out, I will definitely pick it up. It says something for Jacqueline Carey's skill as a writer that even the weaker books in the series are definitely worth the time to read. But I had some problems with Moirin story.
The biggest complaint I had was that for the first part of the book, there really didn't seem to be a strong reason or any direction or urgency to her adventuring. It seemed like the reasoning behind her leaving Alba and hanging out in Terre D'ange seemed a bit flimsy. I also didn't understand why so many details of her birth and conception had to be hidden and vague. It just seemed like a bunch of drama with little concrete reasoning behind it. It's not until she decides to go to China with her teacher that there is any real sense of a quest. (It is also at that point the story picks up and I enjoyed it a bit more.)
Another issue I had was that it seemed like half of the significant intimate relationships Moirin has in the book (as opposed to the "hey, you're cute... why not" encounters that she indulges in because... after all, she is half D'Angeline) start are out of nowhere, and with some outside element (a tonic, a dragon) forcing the situation to happen. In the earlier trilogies, relationships began and grew very naturally... It was one of the things I loved most about the series. There was plenty of casual encounters, lustful moments, assignments with patrons but for the deeply personal, intimacy was never forced and as a result, I believed in the pairings more and was more invested in them. The shortcuts that the author took to get Moirin with Bao and Snow Tiger annoyed me.
I will say that I enjoyed hearing echoes of what happened with my favorite characters from the first two trilogies. It felt good to hear that Imri and Sidonie and Alias had the happily ever after that I felt they deserved. It was also cool to see references to Amarante and Ti Phillipe.
All in all, Naamah's Kiss was a decent book. It has some cool moments, a couple of cool characters (even if I suspect that the author is trying to recycle some of the dymanics between characters from the past trilogies to bulk up the new one) and while I still say that it hasn't quite lived up to the other Kushiel books, it definitely has the potential to develop into something pretty decent. So I am going to reserve judgement until I read book #2. (less)
Fitcher's Brides is the latest book I've read from the Terri Windling Fairy Tale series. Some of the books in that series (like Windling's The Wood Wi...moreFitcher's Brides is the latest book I've read from the Terri Windling Fairy Tale series. Some of the books in that series (like Windling's The Wood Wife and Jane Yolen's Briar Rose) are amazing while others like Tanith Lee's White as Snow have tragically gone horribly, horribly wrong. Unfortunately, Fitcher's Brides are in the latter category.
The author seemed to think that a retelling of Bluebeard set in the compound of a 19th century apocalyptic cult wouldn't be spooky or weird enough so he added elements that were just bizarre. While some, like the egg Fitcher gives each of his wives, are present in variations of the Bluebeard story the details he adds onto them are odd to say the least. For example, the egg causes orgasmic stupors in one wife which was rather disturbing. I also found the spirit communicating to the girls / the Angel of Death plotline rather stupid and thought that at least one of the wives was so unpleasant that I was looking forward to her inevitable end.
All in all, this is the second book in this series that I wish I had skipped and if it weren't for the fact that there have been two incredible gems in it, I wouldn't risk a third. (less)
Yet another amazing book in Charles de Lint's Newford series. This was my first introduction to the Crow Girls, Raven and the rest of that crew and I...moreYet another amazing book in Charles de Lint's Newford series. This was my first introduction to the Crow Girls, Raven and the rest of that crew and I have to say I love them.... especially Maggie and the Crow Girls.
Before I read Someplace to be Flying, if you had asked me what I loved about the Newford series, I would have mentioned characters like Jilly and Geordie and Christy but I would have focused on what a great world de Lint has created. Now that I have read Someplace to Be Flying, I have to say that Charles de Lint is a master at creating both an interesting fantasy world and great characters. (less)
First let me say, that I have been enjoying all the books in the Newford series immensely and Spirits in the Wires is no exception. I particularly enj...moreFirst let me say, that I have been enjoying all the books in the Newford series immensely and Spirits in the Wires is no exception. I particularly enjoyed meeting some characters and getting to know others better and there were some good concepts and moments throughout.
Having said that, I think the book lagged a little bit at times and I feel like I was missing some information at times (which very well might be my fault since I am reading the books in the order I can get them rather than in the order that the author intended). I enjoyed it but I had to work harder at enjoying it than I normally do for a Charles de Lint book.
I think when I have finished reading the other books in the series, I should come back to this one and see if it flows better the next time around. In the meanwhile, I am going to leave things with this thought: It's worth your time if you are going through the Newford series but if you aren't already familiar with Newford, I would pick up Someplace to Be Flying or one of the short story anothologies first. (less)