Wednesday, December 29, 2010

read: Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and HoneyShades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't think I'm in the target demographic for this book. But I enjoyed it, anyway. I just allowed the story to take me where it wanted.

Where it took me was to a genteel world of preaning society, where appearances and reputations are put above personal needs and desires. It's a world where art and culture take precedence over doing real work and the magical art of glamour has been added to the mix. To my naive perceptions and untrained modern eye, the author does a fine job of bringing this world alive, weaving together the fantasy and romantic aspects of the novel in a way that kept me turning pages right through to the end.

I wish a few more mysteries had been introduced sooner. It took a while for the tension to build, other than the romantic frustrations of the main character. And while the actual Jane Austen may have intended to make deeper commentary on her society, I don't think that's how this homage was intended at all. It's really just a light entertainment, and (to quote Mr. Vincent from the novel) "Illusions should be entrancing without someone looking behind the scenes to see how they are made." [More]

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

read: Leviathan

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What works for me is the richly-built world, the well-rounded and differentiated characters, and the rousing adventure story. All these jump out from the very first page and don't quit until the end of the book. The different viewpoints on science, engineering, and politics came alive on every page.

Some things didn't work. The juvenile and repetative PG-rated swearing became tiresome after a while. The premise that a girl could pass for weeks and weeks as a boy in the closed in environment of an airship did not quite ring true. The young main characters tended to act quite a bit younger than their age, which seems the opposite of what would be typical for the time period when children would tend to grow up more quickly than they do now. [More]

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