Lou Merriwether is a psychopomp ,someone who helps put ghosts to rest before they turn into wrathful spirits.Since her mother is a chinese woman and hLou Merriwether is a psychopomp ,someone who helps put ghosts to rest before they turn into wrathful spirits.Since her mother is a chinese woman and her father was an englisman she is part of both worlds and yet stuck between them.
When she is told her estranged mother Ailien has requested her help she has no choice but to go and visit her.
Her mother tells her that several young chinese men has vanished after being offered work in Wyoming. After a gruesome package is delivered to one of the missing mens mother. There is a lead - a bottle of Dr Panaceas Elixir of life.
Lou decides that since the authorities doesnt particularly care to investigate what happened to some stupid useless "chinks" she will have to go to Dr Panaceas sanatorium herself to find out the truth.
Posing as a chinese man looking for work she takes the train to Cheyenne where she meets a strange young man named Shai who is to take her on to the sanatorium.At times spooked by his at times violent and at other times sad nature,Lou comes to think of him as maybe not precisely a good person but someone who understands and doesnt judge her.
But things are never that easy as she comes to realize when she finally arrives at the Sanatorium... Up to halfway through the book I was finding this book pretty darn great but the exact moment when this stopped being the case was not the whole character dedicated to exposition but that was when it all started to go downhill for me.
It just revealed a bit too much of what Lou was there to find out and the rest of the book was just her running around and trying to convince other people of the truth. Lou is reduced from a plucky heroine to someone who is mooning over an unrequited love interest and let down by friends.
I have to admit I was a bit confused about the ethnicity about Shai as I thought he was also chinese and wondered more than once at peoples reaction to Lou being a "chink" but not until it was explained did I get that he was darkhaired and darkeyed but not chinese.
I kept waiting for Shai to redeem himself after his horrible behavior towards Lou but he never did.He might have been way older than her but instead he turned out to be rather immature and weak.
Quote from before he became useless
“So, what’s your story, Lou? Why the disguise I mean, the trousers, and everything else?”
Lou shrugged; winced. “It’s not a disguise. I don’t keep a spare sock rolled up in my drawers or anything. I mean, I grew up wearing pants, you know— Chinese women often wear them, if not this style. They’re a sight more comfortable when you walk around all the—”
“No,” interrupted Shai. “I understand well enough the many virtues of pants, Chinese or American. I was asking why you wore them— American pants. I wouldn’t be asking if you were dressed like a traditional Chinese woman.”
“Oh,” said Lou, feeling more than a little self-conscious. What business was it of his? “It’s just how I am, I guess. Who I am. I mean, why are you such a dude even out here in the wilderness? It’s just how you are, right?”
“Fair enough,” said Shai, settling his derby over his face to shade his eyes from the sun.
The setting is what I would like to call the weird west and for the most part it was an interesting setting even if I am still am not on the clear with the whole sealions and bears being able to talk and run buisnesses,but I didnt mind that as much as the other things in this book.
The gender bending main character was an interesting touch but the books increasing focus on it started to get annoying when every other character was characterized by their sexual preference. I dont believe that building a character on what gender they like can exchange actual character building.
Furthermore description of the hmmm lets just call it unusual hotel Lou and Shai stays at during their journey to the sanatorium had me vaguely uncomfortable. Unless you are specifically into that sort of sexual roleplay it doesnt really progress the plot its just a weird thing.
This book started out reminiscent of another steampunk book I like Shanghai Sparrow but after that specific chapter It all started to remind me of Glassbooks of the Dreameaters.
How can a book at the same time have such great writing and at the same time have the worst writing. I just dont understand....more
This is the first book by Elizabeth Chater I have read and if this is the standard of her work I dont believe I want to try another one.
Alison and EdmThis is the first book by Elizabeth Chater I have read and if this is the standard of her work I dont believe I want to try another one.
Alison and Edmond Conninge are twins but there their similarities ends,where Edmond is selfish and vain Alison is goodhearted and courageous.
Her brother is addicted to gaming just like their father was and their combined efforts have made the family more or less destitute. So Edmond was sent to London to find a heiress to marry,and he has his sights set on the beautiful Lady Isolda the sister of the rich and autocratic Earl of Havard
One night Edmond and the Earl are playing faro and Edmond loses significiant amount to stay away from his sister or else..
Believing as long as he can convince Isolda to marry him her brother is powerless he goes to a ball and guides her outside and starts kissing her.She doesnt dislike it but suddenly the Earl her brother catches him and she starts accusing Edmond of attacking her.
Hoping to scare away him the Earl challenges him to a duel.It has the intended effect and he rushes straight home to pack his belongings and escape to Bath.Alison tries to convince him not to go because by avoiding the duel he will lose his honor and be labeled a coward and his prospects of marrying will be completely destroyed. She decides to pretend to be her brother and go to the duel and simply make her excuses. But Earl of Horrible wont accept this and soon enough its revealed that she is acting as a substitute for her brother for the honor of her family hoping he will act the gentleman. But he simply tells her he don’t believe her lies.
In fact he believes she is "Edmond",that she is a woman impersonating a man and as punishment for being a fortune hunting crossdressing lesbian she will become his page or in effect his slave.His horrible sister also cheerfully wonders if she can be allowed to abuse him. The "hero" is unlikeable to the extreme. I mean usually they have some excuse for acting in a horrible way.Mean parents,some woman betraying him etc
But the book never gives and the only reason I could deduce was that he was too arrogant and possibly a sociopath.
Its all miserableness and at one point the heroine even tries to commit suicide. Later in the book for no good reason she is kicked In the head by a horse while saving a child. This is while she is hiding from the hero no less so you assume that when he finds her she will be ill from and he will be so filled with remorse. But no shes fine and no mention is ever made of her saving a child.
They do still end up together. He never apologizes for anything. The end.