A very enjoyable read, and I whipped through it quickly.
The main character doesn't like to drive and has a parking fairy--in a world where many (not...moreA very enjoyable read, and I whipped through it quickly.
The main character doesn't like to drive and has a parking fairy--in a world where many (not all, but many) people have little knacks or consistent bits of luck that they call fairies. So, she spends a great deal of time and energy attempting to ditch said fairy--not only because she doesn't drive, but because people use and abuse her for having this particular skill.
I bought this book for my stepdaughter for Christmas (or possibly her birthday) on the grounds that I'd met the author, and read her first book, and enjoyed both the meeting and the book. It was a perfect fit: my stepdaughter isn't quite as sports-minded as the kids in the book, but she's way more of a jock than I ever was.
Gender and racial equality are a given in the setting, which is a nice if unrealistic backdrop, but fits a romp of this nature very well. The most interesting thing about the world is its placement in a country that is neither the US nor Australia but sort of both, and not the fairies, surprisingly. (less)
**spoiler alert** It's a strange day when a Robin McKinley book doesn't become an instant favorite for me, and I don't know if I should attribute that...more**spoiler alert** It's a strange day when a Robin McKinley book doesn't become an instant favorite for me, and I don't know if I should attribute that to too much anticipation for this title or something else entirely.
I was deeply dissatisfied at the level the relationships advanced to in this book. One example: "I suppose I ought to marry you, just in case" being the final outcome of the love relationship. Certainly, a strong exclamation of love from either of the romantic participants would have been out of character, but there could have been more, even a sentence or a paragraph more, to detail how the relationship would go. Certainly, there is much to be said for the "imagine how it will go based on what came previously" school of writing; I'm usually a big fan of filling in my own gaps. But there were too many gaps for a truly satisfying ending this time. Perhaps I've changed. I don't know. But it wasn't merely the love story that felt so incomplete--every relationship in the book could have benefited from a few thousand more words of exploration.
I intend to keep this book and give it another re-read in a few years. Perhaps I read this too hastily to appreciate the quiet nuances; that happens. I hope that's the case.(less)
This book knows where I live. The concept alone was enough to inspire jealousy, and I totally felt I had to scr...more**spoiler alert** This book floored me.
This book knows where I live. The concept alone was enough to inspire jealousy, and I totally felt I had to scrap my odd-eyed character in another book after I heard about this (though he wasn't a graceling by any definition). Vaguely reminiscent of Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books crossed with Tamora Pierce, and yet, perfectly its own thing.
I was surprised to find that the semi-obligatory love story had so much emphasis--there are declarations of love less than half-way through the book--but it was incredibly refreshing to discover that there would be no marriage, no kids, in the end, and it wasn't a matter of giving anything up, it was a matter of choice. The relationship is complex and interesting, and when the male lead has a crisis at the end of the book, it is not solved by the love of the female protagonist. She is there, she is supportive, but love is not the panacea, and it's a sad, sad thing that I should have to be astonished that an author managed to make that so.
Early on, I was worrying that the book might fail to pass the Bechdel test, as there was a preponderance of male characters and almost no females, and it actually does mostly fail that test, to whatever extent it can be applied to a book with a female lead; there are only three (or four) female characters of any importance besides Kasja. The first is a good, supportive but traditionally-minded female servant who doesn't make too many appearances or carry on any significant conversations; the second is the male lead's mother, who naturally doesn't talk to Kasja about anyone other than her son in her brief appearances; and there is a child, Princess Bitterblue, who does manage to talk to Kasja about things other than Prince Po and her father. (There is also a female ship captain who shows up late in the game, and mostly passes the test.) Now, granted, the book is about a woman functioning in what is obviously mostly a man's world, and further, about a woman living in a kind of isolation because of her gifts and her reputation, but it's still a tiny bit disappointing.
Nonetheless, the book is astonishingly good. It is a testament to the author that I almost cried in relief after Kasja and Bitterblue came through the mountain pass safely.(less)
**spoiler alert** ...MUCH better ending than the previous Airhead book. Still a cliffhanger, but one that felt like, you know, I'd gotten a complete b...more**spoiler alert** ...MUCH better ending than the previous Airhead book. Still a cliffhanger, but one that felt like, you know, I'd gotten a complete book out of the situation. I actually had a moment of genuine (vicarious) romantic thrillage towards the end. Because I am old and have read too many romances, it's hard to get that thrill anymore. I read romances nowadays for the other reasons one reads romances, but seriously, my own romantic life has been good enough that getting excited over other people's "I love you" is no longer what it's about.
Anyway. The Airhead series is about a girl who gets a brain transplant (shhhh... go with it) and has to pose as the person whose body she gets put into. And keep her true identity a secret. Yes! There's enough tension in this wonderfully absurd scenario that not only did I run out and buy the next book, but that my toes curled at one point! Such a fun series, in a totally awesome-ridiculous way.
BTW, if you think the Airhead series premise is too much, that's only because you don't know about Pregnesia.(less)
**spoiler alert** Looking to recapture some Airhead joy, this didn't work for me as well. It's an epistolary novel--all told in email--if that's of in...more**spoiler alert** Looking to recapture some Airhead joy, this didn't work for me as well. It's an epistolary novel--all told in email--if that's of interest to you.
After reading this one, I find myself wondering about Cabot's heroes--it's rare that someone is working class. Most of her male leads (in the books I've read) have fabulous chateaux or trust funds or similar. Christopher in Airhead may be the most normal guy so far (and a geek to boot), but time will tell if he's really the hero (I suspect it will fall to the famous folky songwriter guy, and Christopher will turn out to have been a red herring, which will at least complete my picture of Cabot's heroes even as it cheeses me off).
I don't know. Escapist literature should have rich guys. Why not? But it's weird that it bothers me in Cabot's work and not, say, Suzanne Enoch's. Hm. (less)