2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Meanwhile, I was reading the intro to Sweater Quest this weekend, and the author could remember nothing that year she would put on her obituary. Well, I thought, there’s nothing in particular I can think of that would make my obituary interesting, but at least I’ve done stuff this year.

1: I finally got a job—Hooray for passive networking! Because that is one thing not on my skill list.

2: I wrote approximately 1.3 novels. Even if, for November’s National Novel Writing Month, finishing the 50,000 word goal meant typing about a third of that in six hours just before the deadline. Which is an accomplishment alone.

3: I read 132 books, seven more than my goal. Mostly they were not of the enlightening type of books and more entertainment, but that’s what I needed this year. Unfortunately, reviewing fell by the wayside.

4: I completed some knitting?

5: I at least didn’t gain any weight.

Eh, enough about the little things I’ve managed. I wasn’t completely oblivious to the outside world. Then again I’m still only going to talk about what interests me.

For example, while I linked to GoodReads before, I haven’t been using the site since it was purchased by Amazon in…March, I believe it was, and when the first major policy change lead to many user reviews being deleted, I’ve hardly visited. Even so, it is already clear that the site is transitioning from reader oriented to an author/sales focus. And a lot of the active users I followed really did leave, either deleting accounts or only posting links to reviews on other sites.

I made an accounts on BookLikes, and if I ever manage to get it up and running, I will link here.

Haven’t been to the movies much this year, but mid-summer realized that only two of ten trailers had speaking female characters, and of those one says evil and the other was eaten. When I watched Catching Fire, practically the same thing happened, only there was one more trailer with lots of women! And that, Divergence, sounded absurd. Apparently girls only get to watch other girls act out nonsensical plots. Once you’ve noticed, you’ll never be able to ignore it.

What else…the library’s book group is still hanging on, if only just. A few of the remaining members started a writing group as well. Speaking of, if I don’t bring a story to Thursday’s meeting, I’ll have to read my high school fan fiction. I have four stories in-progress because that will. Not. Happen.

And there will never be links to that.

Other book-related news, not too long ago, all the major online ebook retailers removed all “explicit” content books from their stores. Because no one wants to read erotica. All this in response to a vocal group in the UK. That’s not insane or anything. Look, I don’t read it (mostly because it’s not a genre known for high quality literature) but I refuse to accept censorship as the answer.

When you go from that to the NSA*, well. What else can I say? Isn’t that a note on which to end the year.

Let’s declare 2014 the year of intellectual freedom! Positive energy can’t hurt.

*My tablet tried to force me to blame the NBA which I know nothing about. Creepy.

Books for Writers Who Read Books on Writing

NaNoWriMo: Word count for today: 31,578.

Today, I should be at 33,333, though I still have two hours. I have already typed some forty-five hundred words; I’ve discovered my writing music is Irish Pub Rock, as Pandora calls it. When listening, I believe I type faster, and of course the tempo encourages me to keep up the pacing, which I don’t think is my strength at the best of times. But on a roll I can get up to two thousand words an hour, which

Now, the Sims is still on my other computer, because I didn’t actually end my playing session before coming out to watch NCIS and spin-off, but I doubt I’ll want much more time. My current pixel family has four horses with one on the way, and they’re time consuming, even more than the game alone.

Anyway, in honor of NaNo, I thought I’d mention a few writing books I have and have read recently.

  • The Writer’s Book of Matches Just a book of prompts, 1001, plus suggestions to modify them further. Most writer’s writers probably don’t need ideas, or so I hear. Ideas have never been my problem, at any rate. I get plenty. But my trouble is following through to the end. At best I get out slips of paper to jot down inspirations, collect them in any of a number of collector’s boxes. Sometimes I go so far as to write out a couple paragraphs, or even a scene. But finishing a story? The only time I’ve completed any fiction is through the two creative writing classes—and even then I often didn’t finish. But I’ve completed NaNo once, and I have crossed fingers for this year.

    Also, I have ideas for several genre-style fan fictions that I desperately want to complete. Mostly because my original writing tends to be about crazy people with mostly character development. Fan fiction on the other hand, demands more, because the readers already know the characters (except best case scenario, where someone discovers a new show after the fan story). Should be good for me. Goes hand-in-hand with the whole ‘complete’ problem too.

    Back to Matches. Personally, I found many of the suggestions to be rather tired, to be honest. Mostly genre—which, again, I don’t tend to write. But the appendix is helpful and just looking at someone else’s ideas can inspire your own. The Writer’s Book of Matches is put out by the Boiled Peanuts literary journal staff.

  • Next, I’d like to recommend The Storyteller’s Art by Francis Porretto. It’s available free as an e-book, check on Goodreads. For the sake of full disclosure, I will say it’s taken from a collection of blog posts from a blog devoted to apparently conservative and Christian values. It’s not a blog I read, so if that’s what you do like, go ahead and look it up, though I can’t personally recommend it; but if it is something you don’t like, pick up the book alone, because this is a book strictly about the craft of telling a story: not the workmanship of grammar and spelling, not the selling of the final product. This book gives the reader a different way to think about their own writing, their work-in-progress.

    I admit, however horrified my creative writing teachers would be to hear it, I enjoyed the author’s emphasis that you should not be writing ‘literary fiction.’ It does sound as though he writes genre himself, but his advice—to think about your theme and resonance  to be concerned about character, to complete the story—applies to any kind of fiction, short of deliberately changing every rule in some post-modern goal. But like Picasso, you should know the rules before trying to break them. Some people might be put off by the constant reference to himself as the ‘curmudgeon’, so they might want to read the original blog posts, if they’re still available. Otherwise, I found this readable and motivating.

  • I’ve read a few other free e-books on writing recently, but the only other one I’ll mention is Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson. It’s also a collection of blog posts, but less well-formatted than The Storyteller’s Art. It’s also an anthology by several different authors on all parts of authorship, from the initial idea to publishing. Some are great, some had me looking at them sideways, but you may have the exact opposite reaction. With so many different perspectives, you’ll probably get something out of it. Even if you don’t, it’s free and you won’t even be out anything.

So if you like writing, I hope you’ll check them out. If you’re also in the middle of NaNo, well, you may want to look them up next year…or if you’re not waiting that long, at least until you’re finished whatever story you’re working on. Personally, I keep finding I’m much happier writing than I am when I’m not, but then I stop writing. Maybe this time will be different. I’ll keep writing best I can; maybe it’ll stick this time.

Sick Days

Well, my brother finally finished his blog post on how the ‘nice guy syndrome’ is as bad for men as it is for women, but he’s disappeared again, and we never got him set up to post here.

Oh well. I’m sick, it started last night, although I didn’t recognize until after I’d posted. I knew subbing was dangerous.

And yet, it was a fairly productive day. I walked myself over to Rite Aid and found cold medicine—there are so many—and managed a reasonable budget for lunch. Still got my cookie though. I finished the first wrist warmer, though I haven’t yet started the second; I’ll cast on after finishing this post. And at work, after my boss left, a woman came in fundraising for an international student’s program and I got a very nice necklace and made a donation. My last roommate was an international student, too.That made me happy.

After I got home from work, I went on a nice long walk. Only half an hour, but considering I hadn’t expected to walk much at all, and had barely been able to focus at work, it went pretty well. It was sunset, with gold-edged clouds streaked across the sky, which meant most of the time I wasn’t walking with the sun in my eyes. Also, the sun just hit the mountain pass, leaving the rest of the range in shadow. The odometer has been a worthy investment.

Finished one of my books, too. And it was a library book, so I don’t have to worry about running out of time. It was Blackout, by Connie Willis, and a really interesting time-travel historical novel. Unfortunately it less ends than stops, because it’s part of a two-parter, and the second book isn’t offered by the digital library or the local library and I’m not sure I want to pay $11 for an ebook, and I don’t have any more room on my shelves.

Oh well. Even if I didn’t finish The Invention of Solitude in time for the book group, I enjoyed it, and it was worth buying. And we had some fantastic tangents in the discussion.

Meanwhile, I want to kill the rest of the time until my next allowed dosage by not thinking, as I have to do when writing, so I’m going to watch more White Collar and starting on that mitt. Something nice and simple but will keep my fingers busy. Let’s hope this cold doesn’t hang on.

Fun & Useful Websites

Commonplace book, detail

Commonplace book, detail (Photo credit: vlasta2)

 

Well, they’re websites like, anyway:

 

Wattpad Not new, and I don’t actually use it, so I’m not sure how much I like it. However, for writers, it seems to be a decent place to host your work. Not much of a fan of the navigation.

 

Plinky It’s not connecting to my blog here, so I haven’t been sharing what writing I was doing there; not that there’s been all that much, but they do have fun prompts (sometimes) and if you don’t like the one for the day, there are plenty of old ones.

 

 

Findings This, at the moment, is my favorite. In Chrome, at least, you can add it as an app, and every time you highlight text, you can add it directly to your profile. I keep adding good quotes from fan fiction, because there are some remarkably great lines out there. And not only do I love quotes, which it’s good for, but sometimes just one line can be inspiring, and being able to get it in-context, because they’re linked, it’s like the commonplace book of the modern age. Unfortunately, since they updated, they aren’t connected to the Kindle anymore, not that I have one, but they aren’t connected to the nook, either, which makes me sad. Why are these companies so possessive in illogical ways?

 

ImpishIdea Described in a web search as “Creative writing site with a flair for criticism and critique mixed with humor, and a penchant for self-improvement.” Which is too accurate for me to try and improve. I’m a member of the forums, where there is lots of good discussion: and where members can intelligently and rationally discuss politics, abortion, and religion. It’s like not even being online! If you aren’t much of a forum goer, the main website’s articles are fantastic, and there are many especially useful for writers. The sporks are funny without being cruel.

 

Goodreads Duh. Reading is good, therefore Goodreads!

 

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Doesn’t it have a lovely cover?

Unfortunately, it’s entirely inappropriate for the tone and style of the novel. I should have paid more attention to another edition’s comparison to Ocean’s Eleven, which is not my genre, and the comparison to Robin Hood at all is pushing it.

They should have stuck with this one:

burning city cover

Problem was, I hated Locke. Didn’t find him the least bit charming, and yet I don’t think I was supposed to see him as a sociopath, though I’m fairly sure he was. Surely Locke’s genius should have provided some consolation? Only it felt like an informed attribute: everyone’s always just so impressed by Locke, and we spend so much time going on about his various gambits (’cause he’s a genius), I just got bored.

You might ask: if you see so much of his planning, how can his intelligence be an informed attribute? Because I don’t remember any scenes of Locke working to figure it out. Have you ever watched Sherlock? Even the consulting detective himself has to stop and put all the clues together, but as I recall, most of Locke’s brilliance was recounted after the fact.

That could be unfair. Still, what with Locke-as-protagonist, and this terrible, terrible world, the novel felt too self-satisfied. It reveled in all the ugliness and gore.

But I didn’t care about anyone! All the side characters were one-dimensional, especially the significant ones—which is just as well, considering they amounted to nothing more than motivation fodder for Locke. Yes, there was a lot of graphic violence, but it didn’t serve the story. Now, I’m not opposed to violence or gore in books, but it was so over the top, I occasionally snorted in amusement before I could stop myself (which makes me feel like a terrible person).

I suppose I liked Doña Vorchenza and Sophia(?). Unfortunately, I can’t remember much about them.

There’s my real trouble right there. Because I didn’t like Locke, I kept putting the book down; every time I put the book down, I forgot what was going on, who was who, and why I should care. Also, related to that, the pacing felt choppy. I read this on my nook, and the segments were all really short, and—this can’t be faulted to the author—after every section break, the first paragraph was formatted in a larger font. It very much seemed to drag anything out.

I can see why others like this book: if you don’t despise Locke, you won’t be as distracted from the plot like I was, and there is a lot of it. I honestly can’t think of how to put the positives, but if this is your thing, please go and read it.

But if, like me, you saw the cover, but not Ocean’s Eleven, just know what you’re getting into, and be prepared for a long, digressing set-up and conventional plot.

View all my reviews

Review: Yesterday’s News

Yesterday's News
Yesterday’s News by Kajsa Ingemarsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Agnes has most things in life: a job at a fancy restaurant, a boyfriend who loves her, and a best friend whom she knows inside out. Or does she? All of a sudden things begin to crumble, one by one, and soon nothing is as it was. Her boyfriend leaves her for a big busted singer, and she is fired by the sexist and abusive owner of the restaurant where she works. She gambles everything she has on the success of a newly opened restaurant, but the road to the glowing review which will open the door to fame and fortune has, to say the least, unexpected twists and turns.

In Yesterday’s News Kajsa Ingemarsson’s comic talent comes into its own. The book is one of the greatest bestsellers of all time in Sweden with more than 800,000 copies sold. Juicy and satisfying, Yesterday’s News is a story about daring and winning and about faith in yourself, a feelgood novel sure to please anyone looking for the antithesis to Stieg Larsson.

4.5 Stars

This popped up in my inbox for B&N’s “Daily Find” which meant I got it for several dollars less, and I am so vulnerable to affordable books. Described as “the antithesis to Stieg Larsson”, whose series I cannot bring myself to read after everything I’ve heard, this description won me over.

For back cover copy, it’s remarkably faithful to the book. It doesn’t overstate the drama or pull the other tricks often used to hook readers. This paragraph for the default description, in fact, names the part that won me over:

The woman in trouble is Agnes. In Yesterday’s News she will rebound from personal tragedy and find courage in the face of the unknown. In the end she stands there as the hero of her own life.

Agnes is the steady, reliable girl, without any overwhelming ambition to be somewhere else, though she had enough to get out of her isolated small town. She’s a romantic, and in that stage of life that society arbitrarily names adulthood but is so hard to define and realize once you’re actually in it. Make sure you’re a reasonably productive member of society, and mark time until you know you’re “there”: like buying a house or winning the Nobel Prize.

this is why I'll never be an adult

But she’s just lost her job and her boyfriend dumped her, and she’s lost.

Actually, that all happens pretty quickly and the rest is Agnes defining her life thereafter. Where do we find direction? and of course, what’s really important?

So if you’ve been reading..well a great many books with romantic plot tumors…and are sick of characters like Bella Swan not recognize they have a jerk for a boyfriend—I think you’ll like Agnes. She’s not really very Bella-like, she does have a backbone, but she also has little self-confidence and doesn’t recognize her own worth. What a difference that makes, when she starts to take initiative in her own life!

I remember saying I fell in love with Agnes by first chapter. She’s basically being groped by her boss, at work, in the wine cellar, and she’s just so taken aback. A “what is happening?” kind of response, which made sense to me. She fends him off, but the victory isn’t unsullied: after all, she’s lost her job, and it’s not so easy to find a new one.

All the side characters are great: her relationships with her parents and sister are easy and natural to read, but they aren’t necessarily easy for Agnes. She doesn’t always understand them, and finds they can take her by surprise.

There’s the moment, about two thirds of the novel that made me cry, for several chapters. I won’t say more, but Ingemarsson writes emotion well; the reader can relate to Agnes.

My favorite part of the book was Agnes learning she didn’t have a handle on everything and didn’t have to. She’s emotionally dependent, at the start, pretty much on everyone around her. Once Tobias leaves her, she leans on her friend. When she finally gets a job, she starts taking control, but still treats it much like a crutch. Eventually, she realizes starts standing on her own, after finally hearing a few hard truths that she never really listened to before.

When I first added the book, the top shelf was “romance” and the entire 287 pages I was looking for it. Now, she does have a romantic arc, but this is not a romance book at all. In fact, even when the love interest showed up (which was fairly obvious to all but Agnes) it still barely counted as part of her character growth: there was no romance until she actually understood what she wanted in a relationship. I squeed.

Yes, I saw most of the plot-points coming, the twist was telegraphed fairly early on. But I’d still say a lot of that’s on Agnes, on her prejudices and assumptions.

Yesterday’s News stands best as a character study than even the ‘chick lit’ genre covers, at least in the US market I know. Calling it a story about “growing up” sounds ridiculous, when Agnes starts already a functioning adult. She’s just unsure of herself, and her boundaries—she hasn’t pushed herself for a time.

I gave Yesterday’s News four stars because I loved it, but it didn’t blow me away. Now I feel like the Grinch.

Don’t be a Grinch: read Yesterday’s News!

View all my reviews

Review: Ship of Magic

Ship of MagicIt’s been awhile since I read this, but since I should be starting the second one soon (crossing my fingers), I’d better get this up!

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Final verdict: a great antidote to A Game of Thrones, with brilliant, complicated characters.

My friend introduced to me to Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1) because I’d been complaining about annoying stupid characters. She recommended Robin Hobb in general, but Ship of Magic especially, primarily for Althea Vestrit, our primary protagonist.

One thing I want to point out is that I would have never picked this up on my own. Not for the title, not the cover (yes, I’m disproportionately attracted to pretty covers—there’s a blog post in there somehow), and not even the cover copy. Although Althea is my middle name. But normally not even that.

Thank goodness for my friend, because this book seems to have marked a change in the books I’m reading—after a streak of at best mediocre reading, I’m enjoying it again! (That can’t be attributed entirely to this book, but did contribute to the exhilaration of my reading experience.)

Althea Vestrit is the younger daughter of a liveship trader family. In essence, the elite of colonial Bingtown. Liveships are just that: living ships. But you don’t just build a ship that’s alive, or buy one, it has to be built first of wizard wood, and ‘grow’: that is to say, quicken. A liveship, though, will only quicken after three of its family members die on-deck, through which they gain knowledge and awareness. And a liveship will only respond to a member of the family, especially once it is alive.

And I haven’t even gotten to the story yet.

Robin Hobb has built an incredible, complex world, much of which is gradually revealed throughout the story, naturally and through the characters’ perspectives. The world-building is crucial to the story’s success, because in many ways, its core theme is the clash of worlds, old and new. There isn’t one simple conflict between good and evil or even two families. Bingtown is a colony, only now, they’re being settled again by people who don’t understand the land and customs–and worse, Bingtown has started following the customs of the mainland, even those that just a generation ago would have been too horrifying to contemplate. Now, the newcomers may not understand the reasons for Bingtown’s customs, but the locals won’t explain them either (more on that later).

The conflict of cultures is so important. Worldly Jamaillia is decadent, rich, slave-owning. And the slaves can be anyone: the educated call for particularly high prices. Bingtown once had equal relations to men and women: they’ve borrowed the madonna/whore complex from Jamaillia and now are looking to slavery. But Bingtown has a strange relationship with magic and the people up the river who make it.

Back to Althea. Because she’s the natural daughter of the Vestrit’s, who own a liveship just one death away from quickening, Althea fully expects to be the next captain. After all, she’s been sailing with her father for years, and her older sister is married: settled with children. But as the summary states so baldly, Althea doesn’t get Vivacia, her brother-in-law does.

Ways in which Ship of Magic exceeds A Game of Thrones:

  • The characters matter. The majority of characters in A Game of Thrones are AT BEST observers, and often not even good at that; all the characters (especially viewpoint characters) in Ship of Magic have agency: they are making things happen, everything they do affects the plot, the story. In A Game of Thrones, the plot is happening around the characters—when they could make a difference, they don’t, because characters get in the way of the plot. That could work, but only if the reader has a sense that characters caused the plot in the first place. Ship of Magic only takes place because of decisions made generations ago, and how the current people are trying to live around and with those decisions. There is a deep, complicated back story that at no time takes over what’s happening now, but only makes it possible. Can I say how much I’ve missed this?
  • A Game of thrones suffered from odd, arbitrary chapter breaks that always followed only one character (ideally, and when Martin didn’t abruptly drop into omniscient when he forget what he was doing) and didn’t follow the same characters in a row BECAUSE. The chapter breaks and POV changes in Ship of Magic are based on the timeline and pacing. And they don’t just skip the big scenes to sum up later.
  • The characters in Ship of Magic are so much better. In fact they’re so awesome, I’ll have to get back to this.
  • The women are just as complex as the men! and just as active! and compelling! and have equal textual representation in a sexist world! and there’s no creepy, overdone euphemisms for genitalia! and no glorified, underage, fetishized rape scenes! uhhhh….I feel like I shouldn’t have to expect such things, but I am comparing it strictly to GoT here.
  • This is also a vaguely historically based world with only rare magic. Only here it’s embedded from the beginning, and while not understood and distrusted by the inhabitants of the world, it doesn’t follow the pattern of: 100 pages of ambiguity 1 sentence maybe? (x3) 100 pages ambiguity full-on firewalking and suckling dragons!

Like A Game of Thrones, Ship of Magic has several major plot threads (approximately eight, some embedded in the ‘world’ arcs), all given roughly equal treatment, and a great many POV characters (at least eight). I wonder if there’s something to those numbers. and Martin is praised because he’s willing to kill off ‘anyone’, which just makes me suspect a paucity of decent literature in the fantasy section. Ship of Magic made me care about the characters, even without ever having a POV of their own, and then they died.

Getting into more spoiler-y territory, I loved the conflict between Ronica (Althea’s mother) and Kyle (her brother-in-law).Kyle really seems like just your standard sub-boss evil. In most novels The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1), he’d be petty and cruel, and basically the antagonist until the confrontation with the real bad guy happens. In some ways, Kyle is all of those things. But his main threat is in how he threatens, and represents the threat, to the liveship trader way of life. And Ronica loathes him for it. But he’s been her son-in-law for 15 years, IIRC, and no one in the family has tried to make him understand these traditions and why things are the way they are in Bingtown. There’s a lot of hidden history that’s gradually being revealed, but the locals don’t discuss it amongst themselves, much less outsiders like Kyle. At least once, the truth has been actively hidden from him. These are cultures clashing because their people (on any side) cannot understand comprehend a way of life different from their own.

Wintrow, Althea’s oldest nephew, lived with the priests since infancy, because in Bingtown, it’s an honor. Wintrow can’t wait to be a priest. But since Kyle captains the Vivacia, he needs a family member by blood on board, especially now that Vivacia is conscious. Wintrow’s struggles: to stay safe, to stay sane—my heart BLED for him.

Btw: Hobb has built an incredible, convincing fictional religion.

Kennit is about as villainous as a villain can be. As I said in a forum: “[he] knows he’s not a good guy, goes around plotting like mad, but is just going after what he wants in any way he can. He knows he’s not a good guy, but doesn’t care: he just wants power. He also goes around going good deeds, but evilly…He’s a pirate freeing slaves because then they’ll voluntarily be his army to help him take over the world. And he’s surrounded by people who are unbearably loyal to him: even his sentient charm fashioned in his image hates him and doesn’t think he deserves what he has.”

One thing that Hobb does beautifully that Martin fails entirely, is have a focus to her narrative. Althea’s story is central to the unifying thread. All of these characters have very important stories of their own, but Althea’s is going to be right in the middle of it all.

One note about the characters: sometimes they aren’t all good. Or bad. (Unless it’s Kennit) They can be whiny, infuriating, annoying, ignorant, just-plain-stupid, and often wrong. For instance, Althea’s quest to retake the Vivacia? Well, first she has to learn that she wasn’t qualified to captain a vessel on her own, that when she traveled with her father, she was playing at sailoring. So she goes off on her own to learn—and learn she does. Slowly. Which is possibly the best part.

Now that I’ve been working on this for two hours, I want to touch on a subject I know is important to many of my GR friends—and the reviewers I follow who have no idea who I am: slut shaming.

THERE ISN’T ANY!

First you have Malta, Althea’s niece, all of thirteen years old, *IIRC. O Good Lord, Malta. She takes the place of Martin’s Sansa: obsessed with boys, rather stupid. Only Malta specifically wants sex. Preferably before babies and marriage, because she doesn’t want to end up with an icky husband. Is she too young for this? Hell yes, she’s spoiled rotten, doesn’t understand how her own society works, and despite her interest, completely ignorant of what said sex would actually mean. Sansa, I just hated, but while I wanted to smack Malta upside the head, I also ached for her. She is so completely unaware of how vulnerable she is—and she does have to work at ignoring it too. Unlike Althea, she retreats from what scares her, what’s hard (although Althea has her moments), and Keffria (her mother) and Ronica are only just learning how much they’ve neglected to teach her.

As for Althea—

Spoilers! Please click carefully, because this section is so important to her character development! It wouldn’t ruin the book, but it would color the reading experience.

After Althea goes off to learn sailing while disguised as a boy (explained in text) she sleeps with Brashen (well, okay, it’s clear he’s a love interest from the cover copy) while both are impaired. She’s concussed and they’re both drunk and high, I think. He might be concussed too. It turns out, despite being ‘upper class’ in this society, and their expectations for women, she’s had sex before. The first time when she was fourteen under skeevy circumstances. When she goes home to tell her sister, Keffria makes her get a charm to prevent pregnancy and STDs, assuming her sister is easy. It’s the betray of trust that Althea has a problem with, she doesn’t think of herself that way. In fact, she’s NOT damaged by the experience, and she knows it’s supposed to be pleasurable, so she seeks it out herself, occasionally. But it’s not a flaw of her character that she’s sexually active, and while other characters may not like it, it’s never a view condoned by the text. Thought you guys might like that.

I didn’t get to this point in my GR review (which is is), but Hobb can also write convincing ‘alien’ consciousness. This is most evident with the living ships—which aren’t human, but have to balance how much they owe to the humanity that created them and reconcile their own free will. There’s also the sea serpents, which I don’t understand yet, and are sentient, but not human whatsoever.

I just want to get everyone to read it themselves! It’s just that awesome!

View all my reviews