I'm not certain how to feel about this, other than sort of sad and sort of deflated.
The background mythology of the setting is a mashup of every MatteI'm not certain how to feel about this, other than sort of sad and sort of deflated.
The background mythology of the setting is a mashup of every Matter of Britain piece prior to Bede, which makes it both self-contradictory and aware of its contrariness. The timing is unspecific - prior to the main settlement of Britain by Saxons, but only by a generation or so, which conflicts wildly with the main characters' Christianity and, more so, their assumption that all other Britons are Christian and that all Saxons are pagan. All of these could be retconned by the book's driving mechanism of institutional forgetfulness, but that's sloppy, and of all the things Ishiguro's writing can be, sloppy has never been one.
The fourth-wall painting in the first section of the book was the most irritating thing I'd ever run into in a novel, and I'm still uncertain of its purpose. It came across almost like a dig at the early Narnia books, where C.S. Lewis is trying to tell his child-age readers that the same things could happen to them, that these children are just like you, that you, too, could hide in a closet and come to rule a kingdom, but it was more mannered and less promising and just served to distance me further from the characters.
And the characters - their lack of being, aside from two Saxons introduced in the middle of the novel, could be retconned by the historical memory lapse, but I'm not certain it should be. Axl and Beatrice love each other; that's about all that defines them. Beatrice is careful; Axl is observant; they are getting old; they love each other. Perhaps that's enough, when the author is taking on the mess that is British history and mythology and legend all at once.
It almost, almost works as a fantasy novel. It almost works as a piece of historical fiction. It does work as a commentary on the vagaries of history and records and legends-as-history and storytelling as cultural preservation. But it frames itself as a story, very carefully and very self-consciously, and distances itself from the very things that would make it a satisfying one as a consequence. Intentionally? I'm not sure.
I'm not sorry I read it. I think it's worth reading, especially if you like pre-Hastings Britain and the Round Table legends....more
This is absolutely lovely. Or, to paraphrase Rothfuss, it's absolutely pure and right and true on the outside, and on the inside it might be hints ofThis is absolutely lovely. Or, to paraphrase Rothfuss, it's absolutely pure and right and true on the outside, and on the inside it might be hints of broken and scared and not sure of what it's doing, but it is gentle and means to put the world right. And it's secretly extraordinarily powerful.
So, good job, Rothfuss, for perfectly alchemizing Auri, urban-exploration princess of my soul, into a beautifully-illustrated novel that crosses the boundary between Temerant and this world....more
I'm just going to tumblr out here: I cannot even with a single thing about these books and I love them so much I lkasdlkfalkasdklfjksdfdlkaleksldfKFlfI'm just going to tumblr out here: I cannot even with a single thing about these books and I love them so much I lkasdlkfalkasdklfjksdfdlkaleksldfKFlfdsf....more
This entire series just made me so happy, because all of it was about women and their strengths and their friendships (with each other!) and even theThis entire series just made me so happy, because all of it was about women and their strengths and their friendships (with each other!) and even the novel written from a boy's perspective still had superpowered ladies saving the day. This one in particular is very strong - it takes a concept introduced in the first novel as a terrible curse and twists it, examines it from all sides, turns it on its head and spits it back out completely changed. The main villain is a woman, which I also consider to be pretty extraordinary in YA. Very, very pleased with the series.