tamorapierce: yellow sign showing figure banging head on desk (Default)
Two more interesting reads while I listen to Adele's "Hello" album:

Catherynne Valente's SIX-GUN SNOW WHITE is short, but every sentence is packed with delightful idiom and phrasing, splendid images, and stories of fairytale characters turned on their ears. Cat is always a lyrical writer, but this book is a surprise, couched as it is in authentic Wild-American-West slang and rhythms, so brilliantly so that I am collapsed with envy and love. Snow White tells most of her own story as the badly neglected half-Crow daughter of a robber baron with a gift for striking it rich. The stepmother is no queen, but she is an abused and abusing practitioner of dark magics, in possession of a mirror, able to hire a huntsman, and willing to do anything to get a son. Snow finally runs, and it is her journey through the American West--or a version of it--that pulls the reader irresistibly along, eager to see who she will meet next. This book is a treat you should give yourself, right away!

And now, for something completely different. Django Wexler's first book, THE THOUSAND NAMES, reminded me of very gritty tales of British campaigns in India and Africa, when small numbers of troops faced off with armies of thousands under the Mahdi or a caliph, if both sides had access to magic. Wexler chose three people at different levels of the invading army, the new commander Janus bet Vahlnich, captain Marcus d'Ivoire, and (at various grades of rank) Winter Ihrenglass. These three and their friends deal with varying degrees of secret and the struggles of command, doing their best (and not always succeeding) to keep their troops alive.

In the second book, the three allies have gone home, to find the king on the verge of death, the princess in danger, rebellion brewing in the street, and foreign enemies plotting to control the realm's money and thus its people. Weller admits he was inspired by the French Revolution, and readers expecting more of a magical wars-in-the-time-of-the-Raj may find the plotting, counter-plotting, manipulating, and tracking-down-of-mysteries a bit daunting. Stick with it. Winter is plunged among the city's poor to spy on student radicals; Marcus is put in charge of the city's police, to restrain rebellion and (secretly) to foil the minister who plans to put a puppet princess on the throne, and Janus is made a minister, trying to unravel secret and not-so-secret threads of financial and military treason. I don't think you need to have read the first book to enjoy the second, and you may have an easier time to get into it than I did, since I expected the Raj when I should have been enjoying the building Revolution. Once I started to hear the people sing, though, I got with the program and thoroughly enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one!

And in case you're worried about the female presence in either of Wexler's books, fear not! He has quite a few strong female characters in both!

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tamorapierce: yellow sign showing figure banging head on desk (Default)
tamora pierce

September 2016

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