Kate O'Hanlon's Reviews > The Chains That You Refuse

The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear
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's review
Oct 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: short-story-collections, signed-by-author, fantasy, science-fiction
Read from October 01 to 02, 2011

Overall a slightly uneven collection, but what I liked, I really liked (and what I didn't like I skipped). Bear's usual hallmarks are all on display, hard choices, trauma survivors, and Historical
Domain Characters.

(Somewhat awesomely, my second hand copy is not only signed by Bear, but inscribed to another author I like and the book shop clearly hadn't noticed, so there was no mark up for this bit of fannish ephemera.)

I threw down my initial thoughts on some of the stories as I went along.

L'Esprit D'Escalier - I really liked this one, although I'm not sure I fully understand it. And what a treat to read Bear write Marlowe and Shakespeare again, albeit under vastly different circumstances.

Gone to Flowers - This really makes me want to read the Jenny Casey books.

The Company of Four - Not much to say about this one. It's a simple story but the writing is very good. The story also reminded me that I want to find out more about the way in which beliefs about fairies in Ireland and England (any also maybe Scotland, Wales and Cornwall) differ.

Ice - Wasn't wild about this one.

High Iron - Cute story. Cute Joyce reference.

The Devil you Don't - This was a great little story of murder and revenge in the west. Was this a sequel to Ice? Maybe I should read that again.

The Dying of the Light - strange, dirty and bewitching. This one is for further though.

And the Deep Blue Sea - A great story about making hard choices. Hello Dystopia.

One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King - Is the novel that this story is extracted from ever coming out? This was great. I would like more please.

The Tragic Glass - There's not much I can say about this without spoiling, other than more Marlowe(!)And that this has given me some big thinky-thoughts about depicting gender.

Botticelli - This is one of those great shorts that in it's brief word count gives you everything you need to sketch out the whole inner lives of the characters and their world. The Russian and the American are in some ways just stock characters for the reader to hang inferences on, but Bear pulls this off without ever making them feel flat.

The Chains that You Refuse - this one gave me chills. That doesn't happen often.

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10/01/2011 page 44
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