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Green (Green Universe #1)
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Green (Green Universe #1)

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,943 Ratings  ·  335 Reviews
She was born in poverty, in a dusty village under the equatorial sun. She does not remember her mother, she does not remember her own name—her earliest clear memory is of the day her father sold her to the tall pale man. In the Court of the Pomegranate Tree, where she was taught the ways of a courtesan…and the skills of an assassin…she was named Emerald, the precious jewel ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Tor Books (first published 2009)
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Rating details
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I was drawn to this book by the dramatic cover, and info on the jacket - the story sounded original, touching, dramatic, and adventurous. While it was an excellent IDEA, the book itself fell short - very short.

Jay West uses literary tools like a boy swinging a 2x4 board at the reader's head. Characters the reader is not supposed to like are described with multitudes of adjectives that imply "bad" i.e. hair like maggots... lips like a duck... and a great many more. When used sparingly, these can
As a peasant girl, Green is sold by her father to become a courtesan in a far-off land. The opening is fantastic--lots of sensory details and thoughful world-building--and Green's courtesan training is earthy and believable. But once she leaves the walls of her training courtyard behind, the story breaks down. The plot meanders and circles, and Green's motivations are confused and often contradictory. (Mere pages after declaring that her mission in life is to prevent child-slavery, she angrily d ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
well....that was a terrible book. I was thoroughly deceived, by both the cover art, the inside cover (which only applies to the first third of the story) and the first few pages I read in the bookstore. It starts out strong, full of detailed description and an interesting viewpoint and then....just don't read it. just don't.

This is not one of those stories where the book was awesome and the plot line depressing, but moving. This is one of those books where you read the last twenty pages and go
May 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Major spoiler alert!
This is a nasty, gross, disgusting, boring excuse for a novel. I read the first 2/3 of it and had to put it down. This is what happens in this sorry waste of paper!(It doesn't deserve to be called a book.)
The protagonist, who later calls herself Green, is a 4 year old girl sold into slavery by her poor father right after both her mother and grandmother die. She is then taken far from her home to a secluded palace from hell called the pomegranate court where she stays for 8 y
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Green is barely a toddler when her father sells her to Federo, a man who travels around looking for young female children on behalf of a faraway Duke. Taken halfway across the world, not even able to speak the local language, Green is imprisoned in the Pomegranate Court, where she endures a ruthless training program designed to mold her from an innocent, illiterate child into a sophisticated courtesan or concubine for the Duke’s court. Various Mistresses teach her the skills a lady needs and pun ...more
Marina Finlayson
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Green is the story of a girl sold into slavery and raised to be the concubine of a tyrant, and how she manages to wrest her destiny back from the control of others.

I had to take a couple of runs at this one. What I expected would be the plot for the whole novel came to a sudden climax about a third of the way through. Then it seemed a whole new story started as the heroine moved to a different continent with completely new characters and story goals. It was oddly unsatisfying, and I stalled here
Richard Derus
Aug 11, 2013 rated it liked it
UPDATE 6/1/2014: My blog about Jay Lake's death.

At Shelf Inflicted, I continue my Jay Lake Pre-Mortem Readathon with the lucky number seven review: GREEN, first in a series of three told by the title character, Green.

Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to my thunderings on the subject knows how I feel about fantasy, majgickq, and teenagers. Yet it gets 3-plus stars!
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I described Green, when I was about halfway through the book, to a friend by saying it was "languid, but not slow." One of the things that amazes me about the book is that it covers, in 368 pages, three distinct phases of Green's life (in fact, several times I found myself thinking that in the hands of another high fantasy author, each section of this book would have been a 400-500 page book of its own). So the pace of the book cannot be said to be "slow." And yet, Green's voice as she narrates ...more
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
The book started off strong, but had some serious plot issues. The beginning was a fairly standard child-training-to-be-awesome plot (pretty much every fantasy book which is set in a school), but with a twist, because Green is actually a slave and being taught against her will. However, instead of going where I thought it would go, the book suddenly takes a turn for the a bad way.

If he had just written the book that I expected was coming, I think that could have been quite good.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy, 2011
The only reason this book gets two stars instead of one is that I didn't throw my iPod against the wall and I did finish it. Frankly, Green is a complete mess of a novel. It starts off okay, then it makes a jarring turn into lesbian BDSM when the protagonist is about thirteen. She has sex with not only girls her age, but older women who are mother figures as well. I was not expecting the book to go there. I wasn't surprised that Green had sex with other women. After all, she'd been completely is ...more
Raiveran Rabbit
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
This story has an interesting flavour to it. This story isn’t happy, and its beauty is more the stark breathlessness of a plain ravaged by weather than the spiralling grace of a field of cherry blossom trees. There is beauty there, but the protagonist’s life is hard, and that description is unrelenting. Green is stolen of choice, and that theme of trying to make one’s own destiny is the pervasive one. The character is interesting if psychotic. The story is strange, but not boring. Be warned that ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
This book was weird, just...really weird. The first part was really interesting - the part where Green was being trained up in the Pomegranate Court to be a courtesan. I was really surprised when I noticed that the author of the book was a man, since he did an excellent job of understanding and portraying the trials of a young girl coming of age. However, after Green left the Pomegranate Court (which happens about a third of the way through the book) and began wandering the world things get real ...more
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-books
Typical orphan fantasy: girl is sold into slavery, girl is trained in the ways of the courtesan and assassin (for 150 pages with no chapter breaks!) girl willfully breaks free of her captors and turns the deadly skills they have taught her back on them. I've seen this story before, and done better in Lowachee's Warchild. The pacing was slow, the language melodramatic and the sex gratuitous. And I won't even get into the portrayal of the main character, who could articulate herself fluently by ag ...more
Ben Rubinstein
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Green is a girl with problems. Big problems. And it shows. After being sold off by her father at the age of four, she's taken to a distant land with unfamiliar customs and language, Copper Downs. I'd complain too. Seen as a “blank slate,” she’s raised to be an educated and elegant plaything of The Duke, a demigod who has ruled Copper Downs for 400 years. Green isn't exactly thrilled by those plans, and she vows to adjust them.

And as could be expected of any strong protagonist, Green is mad. She
Feb 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads, fantasy
This one’s been floating in and out of the house for a while – ever since the sequel, Endurance, showed up on my doorstep…

drey’s thoughts:

Green is the story of a girl who’s bought, brought to a land across the seas from her home, and trained to be the best courtesan in Copper Downs. She can read and write, cook for kings, sew for queens, dance like an angel. She can also hold a grudge.

When Green decides enough is enough, she does the only thing she knows will get her out of this form of captivit
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the vibrant, beautifully told story of a young girl sold into slavery and how she reacts to the oppression as she grows. It's got a touch of Jacqueline Carey's 'Kushiel' series to it (minus 90% of the sex) - besides the initial story with young Green being raised to be a noblelady, there's a certain sense of elegant sensuality paired with a strong and strong-minded female protagonist.

Green is very well drawn - conflicted, confused in some ways, and despite years and distance, to some de
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

This book started out with SO much promise! I truly was LOVING the first 1/3 or so of the book and had plans to hop immediately onto books 2 and 3.

And then, she leaves Copper Downs to her homeland, and the entire plot derailed. The ending saved this from an abysmal failure, but this is truly an utter disappointment to me. I wanted SO BADLY to love this book, and at the end, I'm like, meh.

There's a hefty part of me that wants to rant about certain relationships in this book.

(view sp
***Mild Spoilers***

Do you like your books with plenty of girl-on-girl action, some bondage, and none of those icky 'feelings' people are always talking about? Do you think the idea of schoolgirls (ages 12-15) getting it on in a dormitory is HOT? Are you sick of books with ordinary love relationships and tired of feeling outcompeted by 'nice guys'? Than I highly recommend Jay Lake's "Green". None of those annoying man-on-woman love scenes, just beatin's and underage same-sex orgies! And how about
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is a very complex book, and my feelings toward it are complex as well.

On one hand, it's beautifully written and reads like poetry for much of it. Jay Lake has conceived an intricate world, and painted a vivid picture of it in this book. It's not a world I would choose to live in, but reading about it was like travelling to a new and distant land.

On the other hand, the story has a lot of sadness to it, and is confusing in many places. That might very well be my failing, rather than the autho
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
ever finish a book, put it down, and think, whew, i'm so glad i'm done with that?

you know it's bad when you've read to the last 30 pages and you're feeling like a plowhorse heading to the barn.

it's not a terrible book--not the kind that makes you throw it against a wall--but it has some really nasty sentences. like:

"They went both one way and the other."

sentences like this drive me nuts. why not "They went both ways" or less succinctly "They went one way and another"?

and, admittedly, my attenti
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fail, fodder, ya
I really thought I was in for a simple YA fix. I was deceived and I accuse the cover artist. Honestly I was searching for a light read (usually YA is the best of fluff and stuff after a binge on Dickens and Proust). All I can say is "WTF"!! Really all the sexual action and the S&M was just "WTF", then I realized it's a male writer..."duhh"....
I really wanted to enjoy this book, great premise; girl sold into slavery but really being secretly made into a weapon, all the while it's a competitio
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read this book in an afternoon, put it aside, thought "meh" and completely forgot about it. I only remembered it existed when the library's overdue-book notice arrived.

The premise is promising: a young girl sold by her father, transplanted to a foreign country, shaped to be a noble woman/courtesan and, secretly, a weapon. The story had several elements I usually love -- a strong-willed female main character, several interesting settings, (no bog-standard fantasyland here), clashes of cultures
Despite its problems, it’s easy for me to see why some readers absolutely love Green. Lake’s writing is absolutely stunning and Green herself is a fascinating well-wrought character with incredible depth. These two facts might serve to carry some readers through. However, for others, the unbelievable and endlessly dragging second half filled with events that seemed more filler than anything else will leave readers with a sour impression. In the end, Green left me wishing Lake had focused more on ...more
Jen A.
Apr 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
I was instantly attracted to this cover, and found myself looking for it in paperback everytime I went into a bookstore. Finally, I relented to my curiosity and bought the hardback. I shouldn't have. This book is divided into three parts. The first part isn't so bad, but it goes from okay, to not so good, to awful pretty quickly. The main character has A LOT of rather [insert adjective here:] sexual encounters, all lesbian and all without much investment. Which makes this books' dedication (to h ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Let me save you some time.
In this book, there is the word 'sweetpocket' to describe a vag. Despite the word 'vagina' being perfectly fine literally pages before.

Moving right along. I certainly hope the person who wrote all the bullshit on the cover about this book got a raise, because DAMN it took me for a fool. It promises an exciting story about a girl trained as a courtesan, escaping to freedom to become an assassin!

Was she trained as a courtesan? Other than the sweetpocket conversation, no
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I have morphed into an internet shopper. It’s a symptom of the age of technology. Well, that and the fact that I don’t own a car. I do my commuting by bus and metro, on my own two feet, or by hitching a ride with friends. Ergo, I don’t usually shop in brick-and-mortar bookstores. When I actually do go to a bookstore, I can easily get caught up in the wonder of ‘so many new books in one place!’

Let’s recap: physical bookstores are dangerous. I am liable to pick up any pretty book that catches my e
Jessica Strider
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Pros: vividly real world, mostly sympathetic protagonist

Cons: entirely character driven, unevenly paced

Green was bought from her father at a very young age and raised in another country to be a nobleman's wife. Trained to numerous arts: cooking, sewing, music and more, it's her dance lessons and the illicit classes of stealth, falling and climbing, and the mistress who teaches them, that offer her a taste of the freedom and choice she longs for. When the time comes for her to leave her training
Aug 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: z-2011, fantasy
This is the second book by Lake that I have read, and it will probably be my last. I thought the same thing after reading Mainspring (the first of his that I read), but I saw this one on a library display and it sounded pretty interesting, so I took it home. And it was kind of a waste of time.

From what I have seen of Lake's bio, he has written a lot of short stories. This shines through in his writing: tons of very cool ideas that would have made for excellent short stories, but that he does a
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
The only reason I didn't give it a 1 star is because the beginning was decent, and the backbone (only the backbone) of the plot was ok.

It felt like it was written by a Junior majoring in literature who needs to pay for her college so decides to imitate some elements of what I can only imagine came from the Twilight series (the *shudder* "teen" feel). This book has it all: mass simultaneous menstruation (yup, imagine a full temple of women of all ages, and I believe the word "gushing" is an adver
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Jay Lake lived in Portland, Oregon, where he worked on multiple writing and editing projects. His 2007 book Mainspring received a starred review in Booklist. His short fiction appeared regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Endeavour Award, and was a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.
More about Jay Lake

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