Sarah's Reviews > Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
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it was ok
bookshelves: historical-fantasy

I had the oddest reaction to this book - I enjoyed it while reading it, but the moment I'd finished it I couldn't stem a growing swell discontent. Certainly, Ms. Kowal's command of Regency-era literary styling was excellent - it felt of the time, without being unreadable to a modern reader. And her conceit of "glamour" started out as interesting, but unfortunately, like the rest of the book, really came to naught.

What kept me reading at first was the surety that something had to happen eventually. And I suppose at the very end it did, but when every other plot point had been dragged out past all reason, it seemed odd that the excitement would be over in a matter of two or three pages.

I think what Ms. Kowal was attempting was a gentle Regency romance, with magic thrown in. The trouble is, to a committed lover of the Romance genre such as myself, the romance in this book was an utter failure. She sets up two potential suitors for Jane, and we spend the majority of the book with the one she doesn't pick. The one she does is a cipher - why he falls in love with her is befuddling, especially when they've barely spent any time together. Why, in fact, does she love him? We know she admires his art, but surely admiration of a single skill isn't enough to build an entire romance upon!

Further, the magic in this book seems to only serve as a plot contrivance. There's nothing about where it came from, how it was discovered, why it is that glamourists should be itinerant (it's clearly more of a skill than just painting).

The kicker for me was how much I motherfucking HATED the character of Melody. She's Jane's younger, prettier, bitchier, sister - and she gets away with every bit of bad behavior. There are literally no real consequences for this girl, and meanwhile Jane is constantly trying to get back in her good graces. By the end of the book, I would have cheered if a tree had fallen on her.

All in all, not an unpleasant read while in progress, but very unsatisfying once one sits down to think about it at all.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 15, 2012 – Finished Reading
March 16, 2012 – Shelved
March 16, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-fantasy

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Emily Exactly. I completely agree.


Sarah I've gotten so much push-back on my reviews lately (oddly enough, a lot of really old reviews), that I was braced for another fight when I opened this comment! Glad we're of a like mind, instead!


Emily Lol! I get some flack for many of my reviews/ratings too, but I think it is so important to provide honest feedback - otherwise what is the point of the rating system? :)


Katie Totally agree. I kept reading with the assumption something would happen and then it did in the last 20 pages. Also I'm just so confused that she spent like allllll of her time on a suitor she didn't pick. And like the only reason we were supposed to like Vincent was that he was talented? Even though they'd only talked like 4 times?


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