Lightreads's Reviews > Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
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it was ok
Read 2 times. Last read March 1, 2011.

Good God, I resent this book so much for not being awesome. Georgette Heyer put me in the mood for another regency, and combine that with fantasy? Sold.

I want a refund. The Heyer danced along, sparkly with charm; this book plodded, leaving me with an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia and boredom at the shallowness and banality and insipidity of well-to-do country life. The conversation didn’t sparkle wittily, it clunked. And the heroine was frankly too stupid to keep breathing.

Mostly though, I resent the muddle. The magic here is glamour, a womanly art of illusion, used largely for entertainment. It is both dismissed and underestimated, largely by men. Hello metaphor for the entire practice of upper-class female husband-snaring existence. But Kowal seems to have no real control over that, and the overlapping stories of lies and truths are a mess. With a vapid little lesson about how real art requires passion plunked on top.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading (ebook Edition)
February 28, 2011 – Shelved (ebook Edition)
Started Reading
March 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
March 2, 2011 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Lightreads (new) - added it

Lightreads Not an Austin sequel. It's billed as the fantasy book Austin would have written. Which, um, just say no.

It has the same sort of setting, a similarly obnoxious mother, same focus on the rural marriage market, but just no. Not even close.

message 2: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell This just got nominated for some big-time award in its field, too. sigh.

message 3: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Elizabeth wrote: "The type of fantasy Jane Austen would have written?????

'The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had writtenShades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.' from here

message 4: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Ha, it's on her WEBSITE:

Like wandering onto a secret picnic attended by Pride and Prejudice and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Shades of Milk and Honey is precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen…if she had lived in a world with magic.

I bought the hardcover deeply on sale because someone told me "like Jane Austen!" and now I am looking at it with extreme suspicion.

message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Tregillis Elizabeth wrote: "I thought that just meant that that they were using the Jane Austen story lines again. Claiming that Jane Austen might have written it is arrogance beyond belief."

I don't know Mary, I haven't read the book in question, and I wouldn't know a good Austen pastiche from my left foot. But to be fair, that reads like catalog copy to me-- which is written by editorial and marketing, often without any input from the author herself. And which is often completely at odds with what the author might have intended.

I don't know about this particular case, of course.

message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Tregillis Elizabeth wrote: "Okay, Ian, we won't hold it against Mary. May she still be held accountable for the quality of the book?"

I didn't mean to suggest your feelings about the book were wrong. I apologize for coming across that way. I only meant to comment on the specific issue of the perceived arrogance in the description of the book, which might not have been coming from the author herself. That's all.

Since I haven't read this book, and since my knowledge of Austen is nonexistent, I wouldn't presume to comment on others' opinions about the book itself.

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