I have been reading books. Here are my thoughts on three of them …
The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson
It’s a crying shame, because I feel as though if I was in my early teens I would have loved every single one of Dickerson’s works. However, I don’t. I enjoyed her Rapunzel retelling, but haven’t been able to really connect to any other books of hers.
It’s awful, but her books just don’t click with me. I can’t get past my outrage that nettles do NOT have needles you can pull out (I’m looking at you, The Merchant’s Daughter) and I couldn’t stop comparing The Beautiful Pretender to The Bachelor.
Only here, the women aren’t judged for their beauty of their face, but the beauty of their soul. I just … no. It feels icky. The idea of young women lining up for one lucky gent to wave a soul scanner over them and be like ‘yup, you is good and kind and all *wiggles eyebrows* wanna be the Bathsheba to my David?’ is just …It just doesn’t feel right, man.
Conclusion: alas, it wasn’t for me
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
It’s high fantasy and oh my goodness gracious there were so. many. names to remember. It took me till about the half way point before I had worked out who was who. And even then there was a PLOT TWIST! and I was all: wait, who?!
But I loved it. Because forget the names (literally. haha.) Maia is a genuinely good person. And how often do you find that in fiction? He’s been horribly beaten up by his uncle for the greater portion of his life, and look what he has to say, when he’s the Emperor and could have the man desiccated like a cocoanut if he wanted to:
‘In our inmost and secret heart, which you ask us to bare to you, we wish to banish them as we were banished, to a cold and lonely house, in the charge of a man who hated us. And we wish them trapped there as we were trapped.’
‘You consider that unjust, Serenity?’
‘We consider it cruel,’ Maia said. ‘And we do not think that cruelty is ever just.’
It’s a book you don’t want to end. (But then you realise it’s 3:37 in the morning and you probably should get some sleep.)
Conclusion: will re-read. And cry. Again
Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
I’ve read three retellings of A Thousand and One Nights and I rather think that this is my favourite. I like the fact that no magic is used and yet it feels magical.
The thing about life is, no matter what happens to you, it goes on. What seems like an ending is really a beginning in disguise.
I still don’t like the King/Sultan/Dude Man on the throne. Why? Because how can you excuse killing a load of innocent women? Saying ‘oh, it’s because I had a broken heart’ IS NOT AN EXCUSE.
One Thousand Nights probably had the best reason (if you can have a ‘best’ reason for slaughtering your wives) and The Wrath and the Dawn is still:
(If you’re going to kill someone because you have ACTUAL PROOF he’s a homicidal maniac – do it. Don’t stop because ‘ohmergosh, his bootiful faciness is sad’ Dude’s probably constipated.)
Conclusion: will remember. And pick up to re-read certain passages.
What books have you read recently? Spill the beans! What did you think to them?
You may or may not be wondering ‘what happened to the podcast, Ness?’ Well, I’ll tell you – life. Life happened. If it’s a choice between writing or making an episode, I’m going to go with writing. I’ve got projects to finish, unicorn cats to describe. Until I feel organised again, alas, the podcast is on hold.