Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
I love the premise of this one. It’s essentially every good thing about Jane Austen novels – satire, sisters, social commentary, with the addition of magic.
Sisters Melody and Jane Ellsworth are very different from one another – at 28, Jane is heading for spinsterhood while Melody, who is a good 10 years younger than her sister – is flighty and never thinks past the end of her own pretty nose.
Jane Ellsworth is particularly skilled at ‘glamour’ – the use of magic and Melody is… pretty.
I loved the premise so much, and I enjoyed Shades but I wanted to like it more than I did. I think it would have been more cohesive if Kowal had focused on one Austen novel, rather than trying to force elements of all of them into the book. Still, a fun read and an intriguing premise.
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
A young woman wakes up in the rain. She has no memory of herself at all, and she’s surrounded by latex-glove wearing corpses. There’s a letter in her hand, and she opens it to read “The body you are wearing used to be mine.”
So begins The Rook, a very thinky sci-fi novel by Daniel O’Malley. I have to admit, like the heroine of the story, I spent large parts of it massively confused. But O’Malley’s worldbuilding, and the idea that there’s a tradition-steeped, super-secret organisation like The Checquy watching over us, were fascinating enough to keep me going.
I really liked the main character, Myfanwy, who is literally a brand-new person, and the way she sets about finding out what happened to her predecessor.
Confusing and mind-bendy as it is, I would definitely recommend The Rook.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
I joined up at https://www.worldswithoutend.com/ in order to take part in this: https://www.worldswithoutend.com/authors_wogf.asp and Beauty Queens was the first read for that challenge.
The contestants for Miss Teen Dream have crash-landed on a desert island on their way to the competition. After some Survivor-style in-fighting, the remaining girls figure out how to survive in the hostile environment of the island.
However, not everything is as it seems …
I loved Beauty Queens. Absolutely loved it. The satire – while a bit obvious at times – was incredibly sharp and it’s good to see a book with girls being completely, 100% kick-ass. Even when the sexy pirates show up.
Fun, great stuff. :D