Friday, January 18, 2013

Short reviews

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 in order to take part in this: 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


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have read a lot of good reviews about Beauty Queens. While I usually don't like reading about that sort of stuff, this sounds like it is much more than about beauty contests!

Aarti said...

I have heard many people have the same issue with Shades of Milk and Honey, but supposedly the sequel is better. Or I may be confusing it with another Regency-era magic story :-)

Maree said...

Rhapsody: Beauty Queens was great, I really enjoyed it.

Aarti: There is a sequel, called Glamour in Glass, though I haven't read it yet. :-)

Holly Mueller said...

I've heard good things about Beauty Queens. I enjoy Libba Bray books. I have The Diviners on my TBR shelf.

Holly Mueller said...

I've heard good things about Beauty Queens. I enjoy Libba Bray books. I have The Diviners on my TBR shelf.

Maree said...

Holly: Beauty Queens was hilarious. I'll definitely be reading more from Libba Bray. :-)

Care said...

Beauty Queens was an absolute riot. I thought it great fun, too.