Henry's Reviews > Clementine

Clementine by Cherie Priest
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's review
Dec 12, 2010

liked it
Read in December, 2010

Alternate history civil war, with airships and steampunk touches. Bonus points for having a black man and a woman as main characters. Short, with some good action bits, but in the end everything just felt way too pat. Somehow the characters never seemed real to me. It felt like a role-playing game: in spite of the individual characters' backgrounds or motivations, everyone ends up on the same team because that's what the plot requires. Also, maybe I don't read enough detective fiction, but it seems like Priest's historical female detective (similar to Bear's) is just too perfect. Non-historical counter-example: Veronica Mars was a great detective character because sometimes she fucked up and paid for it. Just because your female character is in the past/fighting sexism doesn't mean she has to be flawless? Let's have some exploration the glossed-over cognitive dissonance of how she is super loyal to the Confederacy, but also not racist?! Eh, now this sounds too negative... I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit while I was reading it.

Addendum: Somehow I missed that apparently this is actually the second book in this setting, and the first one has lot more world-building? I'd go with that.

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message 1: by Ellen (new)

Ellen The first one has zombies! I think I would actually prefer alternate history Civil War, but...

There have been several interesting discussions around the interwebs lately about the inherent racism of steampunk (e.g. it idolizes a time when everyone was a racist sexist bastard). It sounds like this may have tried and failed to subvert that with a non-racist Confederate (?!?).

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