I don't have any complaints about plot. If anything, I think the plot was the strong part of this novel. Each plot point made sense in moving the storI don't have any complaints about plot. If anything, I think the plot was the strong part of this novel. Each plot point made sense in moving the story forward and fleshing out the characters. The villain was very cardboard in this (I don't think we ever really learned her motivations aside from like, just bein' evil) but Keziah and Esdelot were decent characters.
'Decent' is a word I want to use a lot here. My Lady King is a decent book. It could've been great with some editing and polishing.
I had two main issues: one was that this book is not properly formatted for Kindle. It shows up double-spaced and without paragraph indents, which is a problem for me as far as readability. My second issue was POV-hopping. The narrative jumped in and out of characters' heads without warning, making it unclear as to who was doing and thinking what. Honestly, I think the story would've been a lot stronger if it had stuck with Keziah's point of view, because the omniscience really killed any mystery and tension that could've been.
But for a self-published work from an author I hadn't read before, My Lady King actually impressed me.
This anthology is really hit-or-miss. I'd believe that it's the "best lesbian speculative fiction" 2013 had to offer, because there is so little lesbiThis anthology is really hit-or-miss. I'd believe that it's the "best lesbian speculative fiction" 2013 had to offer, because there is so little lesbian speculative fiction to start off with. Here's my issue: the majority of these stories enforce a message of giving-up and hopelessness. Too much pining after a straight girl. Too much struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape while pining after a straight girl. (You think I'm joking, but that was the exact plot of at least 3 of these stories.)
As queer writers we need to reach higher. We need to extend the limits of the stories we tell about ourselves, try harder to avoid the myth that we lead doomed lives. Straight people are already telling that story about us. Why get bogged down in angst when we can create a better future, or past, or alternate universe? And I don't know about y'all, but I read speculative fiction to escape, to find a tiny flame of hope that I can bring back into my own world. I read speculative fiction for FUN.
A solid half of these stories weren't fun.
What I did like, and why I think this collection is ultimately worth reading (if you're like me and scraping the bottom of the barrel):
One True Love by Malinda Lo. Simple, vaguely-medieval heroic-romance story. Actually has a plot, a plus! I know others didn't like it, but I was pleasantly surprised after being pretty disappointed by Ash.
Elm by Jamie Killen. There are already SO many girl-meets-supernatural-girl stories out there (mostly written by the lovely Diemers) but this one was... interesting.
Harrowing Emily by Megan Arkenberg. Depressing as hell, but the images stuck with me. It's ultimately about letting go, or maybe hanging on... not about giving up.
The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer. This story is the reason I originally got into the Diemers' work. It's fantastical, it has romance, and it has a plot. I know that's setting the bar low, but that's all I want from a story billed "lesbian speculative fiction."
Nightfall in the Scent Garden by Claire Humphrey. This one is about pining after a straight girl probably, but it has a C.S. Lewis sense of wonder/danger to it?
Nine Days and Seven Tears by JL Merrow. Yet another girl-meets-seal-girl story (trust me there are many, including The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer) but after all the death-and-disaster stuff ahead of it, a welcome relief.
Chang'e Dashes from the Moon by Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Beautiful queer retelling of a Chinese myth. I loved it and definitely need to check out more of this author's work!
Astrophilia by Carrie Vaughn. Post-apocalyptic but hopeful. I just wish all the threads (see what I did there) of the story had come together instead of just... having the conflict not show up until the last fifth of the story and then ending at a seemingly arbitrary point.
So Heiresses of Russ 2013 gets a solid 3 stars from me-- I wouldn't NOT read it. But there's a reason I only used one exclamation point in this entire review....more
Saw the movie, liked it a lot, but couldn't get through the book. Partly because I found the writing style annoying, partly because the pacing is so sSaw the movie, liked it a lot, but couldn't get through the book. Partly because I found the writing style annoying, partly because the pacing is so slow, partly because the worldbuilding is illogical and really doesn't hold up against scrutiny. I know this is a Young Adult book and the faction thing is supposed to be a metaphor for the pressure teens feel to choose a concrete and defining identity, but I feel like it was done really clumsily and without much thought.
The one thing I liked more about the book than the movie was that Book Christina is more fully-realized and more capable of holding her own. In the book, Christina begins the story lot more competent than Tris. This doesn't come through in the movie....more
This isn't a bad book, but my criteria for giving a book three stars is that I think it's worth reading. I could've gone without reading another post-This isn't a bad book, but my criteria for giving a book three stars is that I think it's worth reading. I could've gone without reading another post-apocalyptic young adult novel with a heterosexual love triangle.
Is the book readable? Yes. Is it well-put-together? Yes. Was the concept cool? The concept was hella cool.