A Wind out of Indigo
on Jan. 28, 2012
Wind Out of Indigo has elements of steampunk, of romance, and of epic fantasy, while the world-building suggests old-school science fiction. I was reminded of Barbara Hambly, for the quick pace and the distinctive characters, especially Alice, a sturdy, strong-minded heroine who would get along famously with Hambly's Jenny Waynest. Secondary characters were clearly sketched in, from the eccentric astronomer to the stubborn, wily fen-dwellers.
Primer provides something I always look for - a non-generic world. Indigo, a land perpetually in night, with luminiscent foliage and mazey waterways, is well evoked in vivid details: sometimes eerily beautiful, sometimes creepy and nerve-wracking. And have I mentioned that I love non-medieval settings in fantasy?
I did wish at times that the pace of the story allowed a little more space for the growth of the relationship between Alice and Louis. The breakneck speed of the last part meant that the changes and reversals in their beliefs and feelings about each other came so quickly that I almost missed them in the heat of the action. Fortunately, the ending developed that aspect more thoroughly.
Overall, I'd recommend this to fans of Barbara Hambly, Sherwood Smith, Cherie Priest, and Andre Norton.
Witch Garden and Other Stories
on May 01, 2012
A mixed bag, or should I say a mixed garden plot? The title story is a tidy tale of the unflappable meeting the inexplicable, with nice dry humour. Nobody Has to Know is brief and chilling, told all in dialogue. Now And In the Hour of Our Death is touching (I have to wonder whether it carried the same impact in the original anthology). Why They Call It That is pretty much a shaggy dog story.
The writing throughout is smooth and professional, as one would expect, with touches of lyricism as in Please to See the King. The oddest story is The Little Prune Who Couldn't Talk, a sort of V for Vendatta via Aesop. The strongest (no surprise it grew up into a novel) is Bad Blood, a scary campfire story told in a convincing adolescent voice.
Entertaining brief reads for spare moments.
A Clear Eye
on May 30, 2012
Beautiful writing with a crystal-clear observation of nature and the passing seasons, combined with a gritty, unflinching view of life on an isolated farm and how both shape a sensitive child. I was reminded of a tougher-minded L M Montgomery.
The characteres are true to life and well-realised, with allowance made for Callie's perspective on them, both clear and harsh.