If you love Jane Eyre as much as I do, and as much as the author and main character of this book do, then you'll probably like The Thirteenth Tale. ItIf you love Jane Eyre as much as I do, and as much as the author and main character of this book do, then you'll probably like The Thirteenth Tale. It is at once both an interesting story of its own and a love letter to books that book-lovers will see their own feelings reflected in.
It took me a little while to get to the point where I didn't want to put the book down. The first few chapters, while interesting and well written, came before the introduction of any real mystery that I wanted to find the answer to. At some point, however, I did find myself reluctant to stop reading, which is a feeling I wish every book invoked in me.
Frequently, I find I've discovered or understood things well before the characters in a story. Sometimes I don't mind this--sometimes that is clearly what the author intends--and sometimes I find it tedious. (But as much as I enjoy the infrequent occasions when I am surprised, what is by far worse than knowing everything already is when I'm utterly surprised at revelations because the author has not laid out the clues properly!) In The Thirteenth Tale, I usually figured things out only pages before the narrator did. Even when the conclusion we both reached was incorrect, this shows that Diane Setterfield laid her clues very well indeed. They were neither obvious nor unfathomable, they were simply elements that, when put together with other elements, produced a reasonable answer.
Some people might complain that the references to Jane Eyre, along with other much-beloved 19th century novels, are not subtle enough or, because of some quibble with the writing style or quality or characterization, are too presumptuous. The thought of these people makes me happy that instead of nitpicking or being disappointed, I was simply able to deeply enjoy this novel....more
In university, I went to a seminar on the (intentional) similarities between Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Dante's The Divine Comedy. I hadn't at tIn university, I went to a seminar on the (intentional) similarities between Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Dante's The Divine Comedy. I hadn't at the time read Sandman--although I was planning to, hence my going to the seminar--(or Inferno, don't tell my classics profs) so, due to my unfamiliarity with the books and my inability to find my notes, a lot of what the lecturer said didn't really stick with me. One of the things I do remember is that he told us that each of the volumes is either masculine or feminine, and I thought he'd said that they alternated (by my count of the five I've read as of yet, I think there are more masculine than feminine so far, and they're not alternating regularly), but I didn't remember which were which.
I'm pretty sure that A Game of You is a feminine volume. The main character is the girl-woman Barbie, rather than Dream, and she gets support from the other women in her apartment building. The only real males that are kind to her are from her dreamworld. It's a continuation of sorts of the amazing The Doll's House, another volume I'm pretty sure is feminine. Also there is a lot of pink, and in her dreamworld she's a princess. So, feminine. I don't know if that's why I loved it so much more than the presumably masculine previous volume (which, admittedly, was almost as wonderful), but it's possible.
From the reviews of the next volume, it looks like it's a masculine one, and not one of the best (girls rule, I guess?), so I'll check it out from the library when it becomes available--all the copies in San Francisco are either due back or "missing" and paid for. But the one after that sounds amazing. Hopefully it's of the feminine persuasion....more
This is probably Orson Scott Card's best book. It's not necessarily my favorite of his--although it is one of my favorite books--but all the aspects oThis is probably Orson Scott Card's best book. It's not necessarily my favorite of his--although it is one of my favorite books--but all the aspects of his writing, from pacing to plot to prose, are excellent in Enchantment in a way that I very rarely see. Added to this excellence, as if that isn't enough, are some themes and ideas that really speak to me, including mythology and folk tales, philology, fairy-tales re-imagined, literacy, Judaism, academia, and more.
The story is basically a re-imagining of the tale of Sleeping Beauty, but with a Russian flavor. It's part Russian historical fiction, part Slavic folklore, part fairy tale, part modern fantasy, as Ivan, a student of Russian folklore, crosses from the present to the past and back again, falls for a beautiful woman, and makes history (or is that mythology?) as he battles one of the villains of Russian folklore.
The title is probably the worst part of the book, aside from this version's cover, because both of them give an incorrect impression that there's a lack of depth and darkness of the book, and makes it look...sparkly. And flowery. Well, it's not.
This is the story of a pair of sibling masqueraders and adventurers who, upon reaching London and enjoying the society, have a desire to give up theirThis is the story of a pair of sibling masqueraders and adventurers who, upon reaching London and enjoying the society, have a desire to give up their adventuring and enjoy a more settled--and if possible, respectable--life there. Unfortunately, they have come to London in disguise, fleeing from their treasonous association with Bonnie Prince Charlie, and they must await their father, who started them on their life of adventuring and who, they hope, has a plan to get them out of their predicament. While they wait, Prudence, known to the world as young Mr. Peter Merriot, finds further enticement to stay and further complication to success in the large person of Sir Anthony Fanshaw, and Robin longs to get out of the corsets and petticoats of Miss Kate Merriot, and to begin to court the beautiful heiress Miss Letty Grayson.
There is plenty of adventure, from elopements and abductions to duels and highwaymen, in addition to the adventure of each sibling living as a member of the other sex, and there are also balls and parties and even some description of clothing. Plus there is lots of 18th century talk, like "Lud!" and "egad." Basically, it's terrific fun to read, without relying on suspense or being in any way low quality writing. I think anyone would enjoy it.
This was the first Georgette Heyer book I've read, and it honestly surpassed my hopes. Most of her books are set in the regency period, a little later in history than this, and possibly a more mannered and sedate time, but I'm sure she will find a way to make them exciting nonetheless, and so I plan to begin reading all her books as soon as I can get my hands on them.
I actually read it in part while waiting to be called for jury selection process (only during recesses and lunch breaks, of course, as you're not allowed to read while the court is in session), and at one point found myself grinning for about ten minutes as I read and paced up and down the hall to get the stiffness out of my legs. The other potential jurors may have thought I was eccentric, but I felt sorry for them that they weren't getting to read about Sir Anthony figuring out Prue's secret and insisting that she marry him....more