Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, April 2013
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste.
- Seanan McGuire, Midnight Blue-Light Special
- Mind candy, continuing the story from Discount Armageddon.
Traitor's Daughter, The Ruined City, The
- Mind candy; but mind candy worthy of comment.
- "Brandon" is, if I can trust Wikipedia, a pseudonym
of Paula Volsky. To
indulge in a bit
of self-plagiarism, Volsky is
herself the poor person's
Jack Vance: she has a similar talent for
creating self-referential social worlds which are very compelling to their
inhabitants yet provide endless possibilities for irony to the reader, and for
placing grandiloquent rhetoric in subtly inappropriate mouths, without
ever quite reaching the same pitch of accomplishment as Vance. Since
Vance is, by common consent, one of the greatest stylists in science fiction
and fantasy, I do not regard this as damning with faint praise at all; to
be almost as good a Vancean as Vance is really remarkable. Volsky's
novels have given me with a great deal of unalloyed pleasure, but no more
appeared after her (very
Grand Ellipse in 2000.
- The Traitor's Daughter is a return to form, with a complex
multi-stranded plot set in a well-realized fantasy world, whose social
intricacies and harsh realities are of primary concern to the viewpoint
characters, even as something much vaster — a novel sort of zombie
apocalypse rooted simultaneously in Lovecraft
End — unfolds around them. The major protagonist, Aureste
Belandor, is, in his combination of determination to not just come first but to
dominate, scheming manipulation of everyone around him, and sheer grasping
self-centeredness, one of the most vivid characters Volsky has ever created.
(He ranks with Vance's Cugel the Clever, though the comparison would pain
Aureste.) His affection for, and anguish over, his kidnapped daughter Jianna
is portrayed quite convincingly --- and it comes across as being driven by his
seeing her as a possession, or, perhaps more charitably, as an extension of
himself. But while Aureste is unquestionably the most vivid character here,
they are all compelling. I recommend this series very strongly, if this makes it sound at all interesting.
- (Inexplicably, or only too explicably, the blurbs for the books makes
it sound like they focus on Jianna's romance sub-plot, which, while well done
in its way, isn't even the focus of Jianna's part of the story.)
Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur
Scientifiction and Fantastica
Posted at April 30, 2013 23:59 | permanent link