Hooooly shit do I have some things to say about this. Not the least of which being, I have no idea what shelves to put it on, it subverts all of them....moreHooooly shit do I have some things to say about this. Not the least of which being, I have no idea what shelves to put it on, it subverts all of them. More to come.
This book is really not in my genre. It is shelved at my bookstore as scifi/fantasy, but as I am constantly telling customers, that doesn't always mean anything - usually, when we put an author somewhere, they are stuck there for life. Like Ken Follett is always going to be in contemporary thrillers even though Pillars of the Earth is hardly considered a thriller.
I picked up Generation Loss because of a coworker (who, let's admit, has not always had a stellar track record with his recommendations). If it hadn't been for him, this book would have never found its way into my hands, as there are no obvious dragons or magic.
Nor are there any UNobvious dragons. This book takes place in 2007, in Maine, in reality.
REALITY. What the heck. I never read books that take place there.
The first 40 pages were hard hitting emotional punches for me. It is basically Cassandra's life story in 40 pages, right up to one event (this is only a minor spoiler, in my opinion): (view spoiler)[her rape. (hide spoiler)]
And then on the next page, 20 years have passed. At first I was like, what the fuck. She had so much to deal with and you just brushed that off? But by then I was interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen.
It was so, so worth it.
I've said so many times how much I hate blood and guts and murders and YUCK and it's true, I still hated that part of this book. But anytime I thought it was going to start going somewhere lame/cliched, Hand just simply side stepped and went the direction she wanted to.
The most important thing I took away from this book is that it was the story of a broken person who didn't want to fix herself, but accidentally stumbles into a life that's better for her. God the part where she (view spoiler)[almost turned around to leave but instead was all "No, I spent the last 20 years with people asking 'Why didn't you fight?'" And instead goes into danger and just ugh. It was the story of getting over being raped and it's not like it was ever IN YOUR FACE about it. But that's what I took away from it. (hide spoiler)]
My emotions about this book are complicated and I am having a hard time expressing them, just as I am having a hard time fitting into any of my predefined shelves. I found it to be beautiful and heart breaking.
Picked this up on a recommendation from a coworker and I absolutely adore it so far. I have only made two recipes, but they have been amazing successe...morePicked this up on a recommendation from a coworker and I absolutely adore it so far. I have only made two recipes, but they have been amazing successes. It would be pretty easy to take these vegetarian recipes and substitute an item with meat, if need be. However, I love them how they are, and the beans a lot of them have add lots of protein. I can't wait to try out more recipes!
There's also a dessert and a DRINK section in the back. mmmm mulled wine sooo tasty.(less)
I will think about this every time I pick this book up NO MATTER WHAT I DO:
(Thank you Natalie Dee for being random/awesome)
Loved this book. Didn't tal...moreI will think about this every time I pick this book up NO MATTER WHAT I DO:
(Thank you Natalie Dee for being random/awesome)
Loved this book. Didn't talk down to its audience, the heroine was a redhead (yay!), the peeve was hilarious. The unicorn was one of the best I've seen - majestic, powerful, and terrifying. Like a unicorn should be.
What a crazy book. Really really liked it, though. Strange to see the ideas that were lifted for the movie, and what was left behind. One of the few i...moreWhat a crazy book. Really really liked it, though. Strange to see the ideas that were lifted for the movie, and what was left behind. One of the few instances where both the movie and the book deserve a 5 star rating.
Also the only book I ever plan on reading that made me feel sorry for a spider. :((less)
So, reading the last 25 pages on the subway on the way to work? Really bad idea. Trying to keep from blubbing (so to speak) all over my neighbors was...moreSo, reading the last 25 pages on the subway on the way to work? Really bad idea. Trying to keep from blubbing (so to speak) all over my neighbors was a trial that I mostly failed at.
So much better than a lot of the YA schlock out there, this really transcends the genre. A passing interest in World War Two *or* aircraft is recommended, but on the other hand, this book might help to inspire interest in either of those things.
A well-crafted novel to experience and live, and although I didn't find it to be perfect, it deserves each and every one of those 5 stars.(less)
If you want to thank god for the books you read, read this book. The books I read stay where they are, have beginnings, endings, and morals. I get clo...moreIf you want to thank god for the books you read, read this book. The books I read stay where they are, have beginnings, endings, and morals. I get closure and satisfaction. This book was blue balls to the max.
I don't know what to say about it, but it was amazing. Read it.(less)
Don't throw anything when I tell you this was my first Le Guin novel.
I know I know, for someone who has loved fantasy and sci fi literally MY ENTIRE LIFE, I only just this month sat down and read something by Le Guin. How did I even manage that?
Well suffice it to say, I know I really need to read more of her stuff. The Lathe of Heaven was good. Like, really good. As in I couldn't put it down and I talked about it to all my friends and family, including my mom who said "Oh yeah! Le Guin! She's great!" My mom has never mentioned the name Le Guin in my presence before this, how did I never know she had even heard of her, let alone liked her?
It helps immensely that Lathe takes place in Portland. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I read things about my hometown, and here is a giant of the genre deigning to write a book where all the action occurs in its hallowed valley. I had no idea this was the case when I picked up the book, and so it was a thoroughly pleasant surprise. Actually, I didn't know ANYTHING about this book, and that's probably part of what made it so good. In the same way it was best to know absolutely nothing about Inception before going into the theater (I remember convincing my family to go and saying, "it's about dreams...or something?"), the same principle holds true for this. So I'm going to try to not write too much about the story.
Given, the actual writing wasn't all that great. I would almost classify this as an "experimental" novel. She was more interested in getting the ideas and then the subsequent morality down than writing a book with amazing characters. It's just not that much about the characters in the story, as what they do with the powers they have. I LOVE stuff like this. If you're a fan of comic books at all, this should be a must read for you, because it explores the morality of trying to do the "right" thing with superpowers.
I love the idea of the butterfly effect. Movies like Run, Lola, Run get my jollies going because I think about that sort of stuff all the time. And here it is, very eloquently packaged in a short, simple novel. Unfortunately, this one can be seen as incredibly depressing. Woe to the person who thinks they can improve the world; there is too much world to improve, and you're just gonna mess it up. Every time.
P.S. This book was originally published in 1971, but takes place in the year 2000-ish. The setting is Portland, and she talks about seeing "the perfect cone of Mt. St. Helens." That mountain, of course, erupted in 1980, before I was born, and I had never seen a picture of it. I'm going to include a picture here because DAMN, that was a beautiful mountain.
Going through a short story phase today, and I had to reread this one. No short story has ever stayed in my mind for as long as this one, and it is as...moreGoing through a short story phase today, and I had to reread this one. No short story has ever stayed in my mind for as long as this one, and it is as perfect as any reader could want. I mention it to my friends all the time but all of them have yet to spend the 15 minutes required to read it. I sigh unhappily while this story makes me feel bigger than myself, more than the sum of my parts, all humanity together becoming more. This is why science fiction makes the world a better place. It's all over the internet, seriously, go read it.(less)
I honestly don't even know where to begin with this review. I LOVED this book. And if you look through my review history, you'll know that's a rarity. How do I even write 5-star reviews? I don't get much practice!
The story presented is a simple enough concept: Dev is a smuggler of magical goods. He crosses the Whitefire Mountains in order to smuggle these goods into a neighboring kingdom. This time, his cargo isn't merely a few trinkets or amulets, but a young man, Kiran. Hijinks ensue.
Sounds simple, right? I thought it was going to be, too. I thought it was going to be formulaic, but immediately I was caught off guard - the narrator changed to Kiran, the young man paying to be smuggled across the border. Not only does it change to him, but it shifts from Dev's first person narration, to Kiran's third person. That means that while we get to listen in on Dev's thoughts and get to know him intimately, Kiran remains a mystery for much longer. I'm pretty sure Dev only swears in his thoughts, never out loud, but I can't find my notes now. Have some examples! These are each character's opening lines.
I knew right from the moment I opened Bren's back room door this job was going to be trouble. See, here's how it should go: Bren, waiting, alone, with a packet on the table and my advance payment in his hand. Simple and no surprises. So when I saw Bren, waiting, not alone, and no package on the table, I got a little twitchy.
Kiran shifted from foot to foot beside a trellis covered in night-blooming jasmine. For the hundredth time, he stared up at the pattern of stars visible above Lizaveta's courtyard wall. The hour of his rendezvous with Dev was fast approaching. Yet without Lizaveta's promised aid, he dared not leave Ninaval.
You can already tell so much about the characters just from those few lines. Dev is abrupt and a little uncouth, Kiran is educated and cautious.
So just the simple act of reading is an enjoyable experience. You jump back and forth between the two narrators, but it is never jolting, it is always a fluid transition. You never get to see the same scene twice, for example. If something happens during Kiran's chapters, Dev's will pick up right where it left off.
This book was character driven. I fell instantly in love with both characters for completely different reasons, but I HAD to know what was going on.
Like most fantasy novels, we're dropped in the middle of a setting and expected to play catch up. This novel REALLY expects you to play catch up, as the characters drop hints to their back story that we do not get to see until they say it to each other. This might drive you crazy. I thought it fit in perfectly. Why would Dev be thinking about his past in simple black and white terms for us to understand? That's not how thoughts work! We only get to see his past when he starts explaining it to Kiran.
A lot of fuss has been made about making the mountains in this book approachable. I live in the PAC NW (obviously, by the name of my blog!) so I get to see beautiful mountains a lot. Driving over the I-405 bridge on a clear day is an amazing treat, offering a view of both Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. I think they are very pretty mountains.
And that's about where my knowledge of mountains ends!
Trust me, you do not need to know anything about mountains to still find them majestic, gigantic, and deadly in this book. They are the background for the journey part of the novel, but they are just as easy to imagine as any well-written fantasy setting.
Honestly, the first part of the book, being the actual "crossing" part, is a little slow. Everything I said earlier about loving that we don't get the character's pasts right away also means we have to stay interested without much to show for it for a while.
Trust me my friends, it is worth it!
The bottom line:
One of my favorite novels of the year so far. The character voices are unique and memorable, without any unnecessary romance, blood, or evilness mucking it up or forcing the characters into stupid decisions.
I loved it.
Check back in October for an interview with Courtney Schafer, as well as her Non-European Fantasy by Women recommendations!
Also please note that this book is only $3.99 on the Kindle right now. How can you say no to that? YOU CAN'T.(less)
I talk a lot about the journey of the hero, because it is a story format I will love over and over again. It is used ad nau...moreAs seen on Stumptown Books.
I talk a lot about the journey of the hero, because it is a story format I will love over and over again. It is used ad nauseum in the fantasy genre, and lately a lot of authors are trying to subvert the old stereotypes to bring out fresh stories. I admire their tenacity. I also admire the journey of the hero though, especially when it is done right.
Oh! questing reader, constantly searching for a story to love, may I introduce you to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon? Not only does it do the journey right, but it's a heroine! And, my friends, she is awesome. Minli is a great role model for any child - she is tenacious and clever, coming up with quick fixes to otherwise scary situations. And of course makes a number of friends along the way.
Chinese folk lore and fairy tales are woven in seamlessly as characters sit down and talk not just about their past, but also how the love of stories affects and teaches us. I loved this! The stories meant so much coming from each separate character. Eventually, the information we're given through stories comes together with the Minli storyline. I was happy making the discovery as an adult, so I can only imagine a child enjoying this read would take great pleasure it discovering the story lines twisting together.
I read this short book in only one sitting, I loved it so much. I then immediately texted my cousin, a fourth grade teacher, telling him I had a book he absolutely needed to read to his class.
"What book?" He asked.
"It's called Where the Mountain Meets the Moon! By Grace Lin! It's this eastern fairy tale woven in with..."
"Oh, yeah." He interrupted. "We read that school wide last year. Grace Lin came by and talked to the kids, it was great."
Well fine! Take the wind out of sails why don't you. He said Ms. Lin was really gracious and all the kids went wild when they realized who she was. He loved it, the kids loved it, I loved it - that means, you might love it too! I highly recommend it as a quick, simple, but great, adventurous read.(less)
This is exactly the sort of book I am so, so happy this blog series is introducing me to. I am breathless at how much I am loving the books I've chosen; Little Sister, by Kara Dalkey, is no exception.
It takes place in medieval Japan, a thoroughly foreign concept to me. I know very little about Japanese mythology and history, although this book was enough to make me keenly interested. We are introduced to Mitsuko, which translates literally to "Little Sister," and for much of the story the name fits her perfectly. She hides behind her sleeves like any good young woman being brought up in court, where modesty prevails above all.
Quickly, the fortunes of her family take a turn for the worse. The spirit of her beloved older sister, who Mitsuko wants to emulate in all things, wanders off after a tragedy, and only a shell of a human remains. Mitsuko takes it upon herself to fix this dreadful problem, leading her on an adventure where she makes unlikely friends through her tenacity and desire to set the world right.
The first thing I loved about this book was that it introduced me to a Japanese mythological creature called a tengu. There are a few different interpretations of what they are, but in this case, the tengu are basically raven men/demons. You can see a representation of one on Mitsuko's sleeve on the cover art. Goranu is one of these creatures, and decides to aid Mitsuko on her quest. He is hilarious and irreverent, and I would often burst into giggles when he pulled out a one-liner.
There is a definite journey of the hero here, and Mitsuko performs admirably. She pulls out extraordinary acts of bravery throughout the story, facing down a lot of adventures that would have left me, quite frankly, running for cover. At one point in the story she does break down - and, no spoilers here - it meant so much when it happened. I thought, "My god, look how far she's come, and I didn't even realize it was happening." The story was masterfully pulled together so the character development happened completely naturally. It's amazing to me how much punch young adult novels are able to put into so few pages.
I cannot tell you how much the ending affected me. Seriously, this is a young adult book! It's only 200 pages long! How attached could I possibly become to these characters? But I was, I was. I started blubbering at the last page, and typed within moments of finishing: "Oh my god. I just finished this about a minute ago. I burst into tears and walked blindly over to my computer to say Yes, yes, take all of the stars."
This was a great adventure novel that transcends the genre and ages. It is out of print and so might be a little hard to get a hold of, but if you do ever get a copy, I hope you love it as much as I did.(less)
Isn't that the nicest summary for a novel you've ever read? Hugh Howey...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Actual rating - 4.5/5
Isn't that the nicest summary for a novel you've ever read? Hugh Howey is basically awesome.
Wool 5? Also awesome! What an emotional ending to a great story. It is quite a bit longer than any of the others, but I still managed to read it in just two sittings. It's impossible to put down!
Once again we're following multiple narrators, and I enjoyed every storyline, but especially everything in Silo 17. I went through the entire range of emotions here. I laughed, I cried, I literally stopped breathing for about a minute and took one great big gulp of air when I realized what I was doing. I've always been pretty leery of deep water (ok, terrified) and here it is very dark, deep, and lonely water and oh MAN was that a rough chapter for me to read. When was the last time a story made me stop breathing from anxiety!? I don't know, but this one was pretty awesome.
It opens up with a gut wrenching action scene and it doesn't let up from there. We get more trickles of information about the silos, and their history, and Lukas asks some pretty ballsy questions. I liked Lukas a lot more in this volume actually. The love story became a lot more plausible for me. It was so obviously infatuation in the beginning and then once he is able to continue talking to Juliette he's like "Wait...she's not perfect." But of course I rooted for the guy the whole time.
Honestly the only thing I didn't like much was the ending. It just kind of...happened. I was fine with that for the other installations, but this time, I knew there wasn't a sequel just waiting for me to click over to it. Mr. Howey states very clearly however that he is writing more stories for us and I can't wait to get my hands on them! Overall, I would give the Wool omnibus a solid 4/5. It's not perfect but it's damn good.
The Wool series has guaranteed that I will read anything Hugh Howey publishes from here on out. Congratulations on an amazing series!(less)
This was not a perfect book, but it was damn close, especially for a young adult novel. Because we're all special unique sn...moreAs seen on Stumptown Books.
This was not a perfect book, but it was damn close, especially for a young adult novel. Because we're all special unique snowflakes, I'm going to share a little story. It means a great deal to me, even though I know my small loss can never compare to the much greater losses experienced in most people’s lives.
I follow in my older brother's footsteps. Whatever he does, I try to do, and usually not very well. It was never a competition; it was hero worship. I just wanted us to have something in common so I could come home giddy and excited and try to get his attention. There were probably earlier instances of this happening, but as far as I recall, it began with high school sports. He joined cross country his freshman year, which at the time - I was in 5th grade - I had never even heard of. He continued the year with swim team and then track. My freshman year, I, of course, did the exact same thing. Man, I was SO BAD at all of them. My dad told me in the beginning of each season, "Listen Kaila, you don't have to win. It's not about winning. It's about not being last." That was good advice! I never did come in last at a cross country meet. But then we got to swim team. Somehow I was even worse because there were a maximum of 6 to 8 people participating in the race. At least in cross country there was safety in numbers, but now everyone there got to see just how freakin' slow I was.
The year passed, and I did a lot of activities that were the opposite of lettering in a sport. My sophomore year began and so did the new round of teams, coaches changing, and freshmen bringing in new blood. I looked forward to swim team the most because I had really enjoyed it, even if I was terrible. I love the water, and even if I’m not fast, I can swim back and forth (albeit very slowly) forever. The first day of swim team practice arrived, and all the girls formed a mass exodus of the locker room to meet our new coaches. We stood in a circle around the two men, both different coaches than the year before, and we introduced ourselves and named our favorite strokes and what we hoped to accomplish this year on swim team. This is at best an uncomfortable activity for all kids, introducing ourselves to a bunch of relative strangers, but it was made 10 times worse by being clad only in a swim suit.
And that’s when he walked in. The third coach, the unknown coach, the coach that left me in gaped mouthed stupidity.
“Hi everyone,” he grinned. “My name’s John. Sorry I’m late.” He was young, only 19 or 20, and dressed in a track suit, much more comfortable than the teenage boys stripped down to their Speedos. We finished our round of introductions and split off based upon our swim speed. I, of course, went straight for the slow side and smiled at the others joining me, ready to jump in. John walked over with a strange gait and introduced himself again, and through the blood pounding in my adolescent and hormone driven ears, he said he would be coaching our lane this season.
I went home giddy with happiness and kept smiling secretly to myself.
The next few weeks passed in delirious teenage girl bliss, bouncing and eager to go to swim practice every day to flirt naively with John. He was at least four years older than me but I certainly didn’t care. He was gorgeous and athletic and just too perfect not to fall for.
One day at swim practice, John was trying to teach us slow laners how to put an extra swirl in our stroke to get a little extra speed while our hands were in the water. Like anything could seriously help me, but I was enthralled and willing to do whatever he asked anyway, so I tried. And failed spectacularly. It was really a rather difficult maneuver to change a stroke that I’d been doing the same for years. He was patient and knowledgeable and I was trying very hard to please him, to let him know that he was teaching me something. Eventually he rolled his eyes and started shedding the track suit so he could jump in the pool with us, (with me!) and that’s when we all realized a very critical part of John’s life.
He only had one leg.
He nonchalantly unbuckled a metal contraption from his thigh and leaned it up against his chair so it wouldn’t get wet, and jumped in. We all immediately tried to look like we hadn’t been staring but he just laughed and said, “Hey guys don’t worry about it, my old leg wasn’t so hot so they made me a new one.” We giggled nervously and he shrugged. “I just hope they let me keep the other one.”
John had cancer. I’m not even sure what type it was now, or if I ever did know. It didn’t matter to me. I was irrevocably smitten. He was also about a hundred times faster swimmer than me, even with only one leg. I remember watching how perfect he was in the water, diving with only one foot, the remains of his thigh wobbling as he sailed through the air. He had a perfect smile, his favorite movie was Mystery Men (which he watched with a girl who wasn’t me), and he sat next to me at the team spaghetti dinner where I made an utter fool of myself but he just grinned and said “You have sauce on your chin.”
My favorite warm fuzzy memory of John was the Winter Formal dance, when I had gotten up the nerve to ask a boy who went to a different school, who I had met through mutual friends. I sat at the Spaghetti Factory prior to the dance and waited in vain - stood up for the first time at only 16! I was embarrassed and angry, but not really heart broken because I had only thought the guy was cute. The following week, we had a swim meet against the asshole's school, and as he was also on swim team, I made sure to point him out to all my friends so we could glare at him. On the bus drive back home, we were discussing it and John overheard us, and he looked at me and said in mock horror, "You should have told me that was him. I would have taken off my leg and beaten him!" We all laughed at the image that created and went back to munching on trail mix.
I’ve always been rather forward because I figure, why waste our chances? So I wrote down my feelings to give to him at the end of season award ceremony. I waited with bated breath through the entire ceremony, fiddling with the envelope, but he never showed. Turns out that the spaghetti dinner was the last time I would see him.
The next year, my junior year, I spent abroad, studying in France. In February, almost exactly a year since the last time I had seen him, a mutual friend sent me word that John had passed. He included a DVD of this video, which reduced me to blubbering tears and left my host family bewildered, thinking a family member had died. France was incredibly difficult for me to deal with, and the news came at the absolute worse time.
I realize now that it was only a high school crush. Had he continued living, I probably would have only thought about him as often as the rest of high school crushes, which is exactly never. Yet in our brief acquaintance, I had wanted him to be more so badly. Not like my story is anywhere close to what some people go through, it was just heart breaking to me as an idealistic teenager.
This book is about loss. Everyone has lost someone, which means everyone can benefit from this book. As the quote on the cover says, it is “filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy.” I would often find myself tearing up only to giggle at something a few pages later. It belies its label of “young adult,” and does not talk down to the reader like so many young adult novels do. Please read it, and maybe, like me, you’ll remember someone who deserves remembering. Thanks for being a great guy while you were here John. I’ll never forget you.(less)
This book will own you! Just buy the omnibus and save yourself a couple bucks, because you will...moreThis review also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
This book will own you! Just buy the omnibus and save yourself a couple bucks, because you will want to read more. I sat down to read this first one, just 60 pages long, and didn't get up until it was finished. At first the story was hard to follow, as you're plopped down in the middle of a world and have to play catch up for the majority of the novella. It all comes together very quickly though and I was hard pressed not to cry at the end. This is a great, quick, (and cheap!) Dystopian read. Highly recommended to anyone. (less)
I discovered this book my senior year of high school, when a couple of my friends in drama c...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
I discovered this book my senior year of high school, when a couple of my friends in drama club were reading it. Having always been a fan of fantasy, I ran to the library and picked it up, although I remember being rather surprised that it had been published in 1995. The Harry Potter craze was in full swing in 2003 and I thought Sabriel was riding on its coattails, like so many books are still doing today. But no, not only is it incredibly original, it is also unique and scary.
Sabriel kicks some serious butt. She is already powerful when we meet her, so there's not much in the way of starting off powerless and learning in a safe environment (like a school). Although she quickly discovers she has barely scratched the surface of the amount she has to learn, at least she's not bumbling. She's strong, willful, and smart; overall a great heroine. Mogget the sometimes-cat is hilarious, much more so than I remember from high school. Touchstone takes some getting used to but he gets much better as the book goes on.
The magic system is awesome. A lot of the magic is done with music, like whistling, or the seven bells that Sabriel wears, all of which serve a different purpose. The bells were rather confusing; I recommend bookmarking the page in the beginning where she lists each bell and describes its power, because from then on all she ever does is mention the bells name, not what its good for. The benign Charter magic is a vast unknown entity that I would love to know more about. The book never really touches on what it would mean to be a full fledged powerful mage, but I bet it would be awesome.
I'm just gonna say it. I'm kind of a wimp, especially when it comes to stuff that should be dead. I could never in a million years handle Sabriel's job of casually crossing the border into death and dealing with the spirits of the angry dead. I was never scared for myself though, which is why I can still call this young adult. If I read a horror novel, I start thinking hands are going to pop out of the couch or DID I lock the front door? or don't turn your back while you walk upstairs. Ugh. I can't handle that stuff at all. Give me a zombie movie and I am scared for weeks, if not longer. Maybe because Sabriel never features any high pitched violins or bad guys jumping out at you from the darkness, but the zombies here are only terrifying because Sabriel has to deal with them, not because they are scary to us, the readers. So even if you're a wimp like me, you can read this book and totally handle it.
One of the things that has really started to bug me with young adult fantasy is that authors seem to be unable to make drama based on their story alone, so they add in extremely irritating stupid people to be purposefully antagonistic. It annoys me to no end. In Sabriel, however, there are multiple times when I thought "Here is where a lesser author would make some cheap drama," and Garth Nix never falls for the bait. The side characters are supportive and understanding, even if they want to say no to her, they let her go on her way. I really appreciate that. Readers aren't dumb, we don't need dumb drama.
A great quick read, even if you wouldn't normally consider picking up a young adult novel. It transcends that label into good fantasy.(less)
When life is viewed as a game of chess, each action causes a reaction. Each ponderous thought...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books
When life is viewed as a game of chess, each action causes a reaction. Each ponderous thought has far reaching consequences for the players, each decision makes another door close. Unfortunately, it also means a piece can be removed from the board at any time, with little to no ceremony. George R.R. Martin subscribes to this school of thought, and the aches his books caused in my spleen still aren't completely gone. I remember thinking for DAYS afterwards that this or that character wouldn't really be dead. I'd turn the page and the next chapter would be titled with their name and it would be their point of view and everything would be right with the world again.
This is not a school of thought I take great pleasure in. I read fantasy because I enjoy leaving this world behind and wrapping myself up in a different one. When my favorite characters in that new world die...well. I have issues with it. BIG issues. Scott Lynch is a strict adherent to this philosophy. The first time a character died, I was convinced (really, really convinced. I told my boyfriend how she was hiding and what it would mean to the story when she came back) that it was all an elaborate ruse. How wrong I was! And then MORE died, and although my heart broke alongside their bodies, for some reason, with this story...it all worked for me. The story is woven in front of the reader in such a way that in the end it seems the only way it was possible for the events to happen. This is Scott Lynch's first novel, but search me as to how he managed to write it so well. None of it is cheesy, it's laugh out loud hilarious, and I-just-have-something-in-my-eye-those-aren't-tears sad.
One of the best fantasy novels I have read in a long time, yet I am scared to start the next one, for fear it won't hold up as well. That's not REALLY going to stop me, but the fear is there nonetheless. I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks fantasy has been wrung out.(less)