branewurms's Reviews > Little Sister

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey
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's review
Aug 11, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: childrens-and-ya, poc-characters, read-2011, sci-fi-fantasy, library
Read from August 10 to 11, 2011

3 1/2 stars, I guess? Really, imagery and the prose itself is worth more than that, but I felt the story wasn't quite up to 4 stars, so I don't know.

Short, elegant, and entertaining. It was very cinematic, and I could see the whole thing unfolding in my head like animation (I could totally see this as a Miyazaki film - the sweeping visuals and sense of wonder were very similar in style to Miyazaki movies, actually). I loved the bizarre imagery of the underworld. The prose had that poetic, understated elegance thing going on, purposefully imitating the feel of Heian-era poetry - the clever humor of it, too.

I can't speak as to historical accuracy, since I know little about the era beyond surface details.

(An aside that no one else in the world but me will care about: I did find a couple of mentions of incense a bit odd. In one, a person is lighting "sticks" of incense; while I could be mistaken, it was my understanding that Japanese joss sticks are a relatively recent creation, and incense of the time would either be neriko (kneaded, aged balls of incense) or chipped mixtures of woods and spices to be heated over charcoal. At another point, a character complains her kimonos "stinks of incense" - but wouldn't that be normal? Didn't nobles generally deliberately perfume their robes with incense, and have contraptions specifically for the purpose of hanging them over heating incense?)

I felt like the story would have been better without the last little segment added on at the end - it felt off, and left me with a weird sort of feeling. Still, it was very well written, and a fun read.
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Reading Progress

08/10/2011 page 27
08/11/2011 page 155
78.0% "But... a kimono stinking of incense would be a normal thing for a court lady..."

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