Catherine's Reviews > Blood and Iron

Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
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Mar 06, 2009

did not like it

I found this to be a remarkably frustrating read. The first third or so is a terrific fantasy novel dealing with the Fae and a post-Arthurian mythos that I found fascinating. The rest of the book seemed as if it was written by a different author. The protagonist, a woman warrior caught up in Fae politics and developing into the next defacto ruler, suddenly becomes wildly unsympathetic. She enslaves one of the Unseelie Fae, breaks him and engages in what can only be viewed as nonconsensual sex (it's hard to consent when your partner literally owns every aspect of your world). And just to make sure the full squick factor is there, the author opts to depict him as black while the warrior is white. The attendent issues around slavery and racism felt unexamined to me, nor did there seem to be any good reason for writing the characters this way.
From there, we shamble on to an ending put on with duct tape, mostly there to scream 'sequel.' A mess of interesting ideas that failed on full execution.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Catherine (last edited Oct 04, 2009 07:48AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Catherine It does seem to be one of those books that one either loves or hates. I've been discussing it with several friends for the last while and decided I'd put up the 'fruits' of our discussions.
I don't do a lot of bad reviews either, since I'd prefer to save it for the times when I think the author can do much, much better.

Alexandra wrote: "Oh, I am *so* glad there is another reviewer out there, Catherine, who thought the same as me about this book. I really hate to give any book negative reviews, but sometimes, you get the impression..."




message 2: by Meg (new) - rated it 2 stars

Meg I must say that I agree heartily with your agree, Catherine. Between the unexamined race issues and no explanation of why all the world is ruled by European mythology and where everyone else's myths went, I felt there were a lot of unexamined issues that could have been deeply developed.

I also found no character particularly sympathetic, and going from one type of narration (third person omni) to first person really made it even less enjoyable for me.


Catherine It seems as if it's a book that's made more frustrating, at least for me, by the parts that work. You end up seeing glimpses of what it could have been, and the fail ends up being worse by comparison. I liked most (the ending fell apart for me) of her "Carnival," though, if you have any interest in reading more of her stuff.

Meg wrote: "I must say that I agree heartily with your agree, Catherine. Between the unexamined race issues and no explanation of why all the world is ruled by European mythology and where everyone else's myth..."




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