I’m so used to reading YA set in the US that I was actually surprised when I realised, oh hey, this is British! They’re doing their A Levels! So if thI’m so used to reading YA set in the US that I was actually surprised when I realised, oh hey, this is British! They’re doing their A Levels! So if that’s something you might be interested in, that’s another draw alongside the fact that it’s an LGBT story. (Well. Mostly just L.)
I originally had this as an ARC, but neglected it for so long that I ended up picking it up in the bookshop. I’m a little disappointed about that, because it turned out not to be for me. It’s pretty simply written, and while I like the issues it engages with, it was too obvious for me. There’s a mystery/thriller aspect, but I called it. And the characters… as I keep saying, teenagers may well act like that, so overblown and ridiculous, but I’m twenty-six and didn’t act like that even when I was a teenager! Much. I think. I hope. It’s just unpleasant to read about, because I just want to shake the characters — like seriously, you’re getting worked up because of what?
Even the adults seemed a little like that; I’m thinking of Megan’s mother. Granted, she was prone to drinking heavily and such, but still… It all felt a bit like a caricature, if that makes sense.
All the same, I’m going to donate this to the local library. Having LGBT stories there is important, and I don’t think this could possibly offend anyone, and it might be more to someone else’s taste.
This ebook is a collection of three short stories set in the same universe as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It revisits some of the characters and thThis ebook is a collection of three short stories set in the same universe as The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It revisits some of the characters and the consequences of the original trilogy, giving us a little more of Nahadoth, Hado and Glee Shoth, in turn. I’m fairly sure I missed out on some of the details because I haven’t read the books recently enough; I’m very sure I’ll reread this when I have, to fully appreciate it. As it is, though, they’re well-crafted stories, with the beautiful imagery and clarity I expect of Jemisin’s writing.
There are moments of characterisation that you don’t need to have recently read the trilogy to appreciate: Itempas, confronting change, his body treating it like an infection. Nahadoth, grieving and betrayed, betraying himself with the odd moment of affection for Tempa, with moments of regret. Glee Shoth, claiming her birthright, with strength from both her parents.
I think I liked the Nahadoth story the most, because it deals with that early aftermath of betrayal, and also most directly with Nahadoth’s nature. The various ways of describing him, “that which cannot be controlled”, etc, all work to crystallise the character, to get across in as few words as possible what Nahadoth is, and what he stands for.
I imagine most of these stories are collected somewhere else by now, but I was also interested in this book for the introductions to each story, whichI imagine most of these stories are collected somewhere else by now, but I was also interested in this book for the introductions to each story, which may not be collected elsewhere. It’s interesting to see what Le Guin feels the stories are about, what she thinks is important to know. For example, with ‘The Wife’s Tale’, she apparently warns audiences that it is not a werewolf story at the beginning. But I thought that mistake was kind of the point? That flip-flop moment of, oh. I got it wrong. I assumed.
I’d read most of the stories before, but the poems were new. Ursula Le Guin always has a beautiful clarity about her writing, capturing mannerisms and small moments, crystallising it… and sometimes her plots feel too clever for me, but most of these are pretty accessible, and the introductions helped.
100 pages into this, I ended up giving up, at least for now. I enjoyed The Best of All Possible Worlds, and thought IReceived to review via Netgalley
100 pages into this, I ended up giving up, at least for now. I enjoyed The Best of All Possible Worlds, and thought I remembered it quite well, and yet all the interplay of characters and cultures felt confusing here. It features a minor character from The Best of All Possible Worlds as the main character, so you wouldn’t think it, but to be honest I am wondering if it’s best to read this straight after the first, so that all the societal details are at your fingertips. I just felt lost, unable to attach to characters or events, not quite sure why X was leading to Y, missing jumps of logic.
It’s entirely possible it’s also me being stupid, but I do think this lacked the structure and tightness of The Best of All Possible Worlds. The characters didn’t grab me, either; having Grace and her husband just in the background didn’t help, because they’re already strongly formed characters, and Rafi… you don’t know much about him in the first book, and he’s grown up a bit since then.
I might pick this up again if I ever give The Best of All Possible Worlds a reread, but I’m not that eager about it.
Hmm, I think I’ll be pondering on this one for a while now. Like The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, it takes a classic idea — in that case a kinHmm, I think I’ll be pondering on this one for a while now. Like The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, it takes a classic idea — in that case a kind of immortality, in this a body-hopping entity — and explores it almost to destruction. It doesn’t always work 100% for me, here, but it works better for me than Harry August, and the pace is a lot more thrilling. There is something about the narrator that seemed similar, though; I kinda hope I don’t find that same tone when I go back to Mirror Dreams, Claire North’s first book back when she was Catherine Webb. I remember loving the tone of those books, the personality of the narrator; it’d be a little sad to me if that’s more about the author’s style than about the specific character.
Nonetheless, this is fun, and the bit that works the best is the love Kepler has for the bodies he inhabits. The way you come to understand his absolutely genuine love, which at first seems impossible, then perhaps monstrous. It makes you care about him because, okay, going for the pun here — he gets into your skin. And it’d be a little intoxicating to be loved by Kepler, to have him make the best of you and give you a wonderful life because he loves you. That concept is scary and attractive at the same time, and that’s why it works.
It might be a 400 page book, but it didn’t feel like it. The short chapters help (and, don’t worry, are appropriate to the body-jumping nature of the main character — that slightly disjointed sense is perfect).