Lightreads's Reviews > Flora Segunda

Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
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's review
Mar 25, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, fiction, young-adult
Read in March, 2010

Check it out, it’s fantasy not Europe! As opposed to fantasy not!Europe, I mean. Young adult story of thirteen-year-old Flora’s magical exploits in alternate, militarized California.

You know how sometimes a young adult book can surprise you with its subtlety, its emotional complexity and maturity springing from a simple story? Yeah, this one went exactly the opposite direction: from a rich, textured, fascinating background world, and a well-drawn familial mess, and a lot of interesting political history springs your basic story of an adolescent doing a series of extremely foolish things, each in attempts to fix the results of the last. A perfectly passable story, though the sidekick was actually pretty annoying and I kept being irritated by the infantilism of Flora’s language – tummy? Potty? This girl is about to be enlisted in the military? Hokay.

But mostly I kept wanting to shove Flora and her endless toing and froing out of the way so I could get a better look at everything else. Because seriously, everything else is great, and I want to know all about it. Presumably it was magic that let the Central American empires survive, so did it also alter other European colonization patterns? Was it something other than gold that brought viable numbers west? What triggered such a radical revision of gender roles such that women serve – and command – without question? Alas, the book did not satisfy, but perhaps the sequel will.
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