The absolute best thing about working at a library is being surrounded by books. Every day, I go home with a stack of new books to read. And if my library doesn’t have a book I want, well then, they will get it for me! They are very obliging in that way.
Today I have requested all the books by Jo Walton that I haven’t read yet (which is most of them), all of Megan Whalen Turner’s books, the Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card, the five volumes of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s journals, and all the books in Terri Windling’s Borderland series. It will be an orgy of books! I just wish I had a summer vacation so I could have the time to read all of them at leisure.
I was supposed to get The Dalemark Quartet, Volume Two: The Spellcoats and The Crown of Dalemark through PaperBackSwap, but it fell though and I am hugely disappointed. I was looking forward to attempting to read The Spellcoats again and maybe understanding it this time.
I’m currently reading Elizabeth Bear’s Whiskey and Water and it is rather slow going. I think the problem is, I don’t actually like her characters. Whiskey is the only reason I’m plodding through her Promethean series. He gives out strong whiffs of Emma Bull’s Phouka.
I read Jo Walton’s Lifelode two weeks ago, but I simply don’t have the strength to review it thoroughly. It requires serious thought. Ever since I finished it, I’ve been going over it over and over in my head. I loved the domestic parts, Taveth keeping house and Chayra throwing pots and all of them living harmoniously at Applekirk. I kept thinking, “But this should have been written by Pamela Dean!” Except it was not, it was written by Jo Walton and written very very well indeed. It did remind me strongly of The Dubious Hills, which I adore. I suspect I love domestic fantasy quite a lot. I’d like to write one myself, someday. I loved the East and the West and time moving slower or faster the further you travel. That was inspired. I would love to have my own copy of Lifelode, but it is expensive on Amazon.
For the past week, I’ve been reading Blood and Iron, the first novel in Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age series. Her prose is gorgeous and lyrical, and is overflowing with folklore and Celtic mythology and traditional ballads - my favorite things!
Blood and Iron is about Seeker, a half-fairy woman whose has served the Sidhe Queen, the Mebd, for the past thirty years. She tracks down half-fairy humans like herself in the mortal world to replenish Faerie’s dwindling population. In the mortal world, a secret society of Promethean mages want to destroy Faerie and recover all the children that the Faeries have stolen.
Things I loved: Whiskey the kelpie was easily my favorite character. He reminded me a bit of the phouka from War for the Oaks at times. Loved the the Medb bound Faeries to her by tying knots in her hair. I was violently, gleefully happy about the grotesque bits: the Queen’s ivory chair made out of antlers that draws blood from the sitter; Kelly’s feet described as withered chicken claws, ruined from one night of dancing with the Faerie. I do love the darkness of fairy tales.
Didn’t love the constant, constant mention of the ballad Tam Lin. I know it’s my favorite ballad and I love books that mention it, but it was continuously bashed into my head. Didn’t love the way I was left confused by pretty much the entire last half of the book. What happened with the fight against the Prometheans? What exactly was the Mebt’s secret plan? What was the deal with Mist the dragon? I couldn’t tell you, I did not grasp these specifics. There was just…so much plotting going on, I could not keep track. I am not great with politics. Even Faerie politics.
But truthfully it was a great book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the Promethean novels.
My mailbox is going to be overflowing soon with books from PaperBackSwap!
Ellen Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword, Vivian Vande Velde’s