anthimeria: Mask of feathers (Feather Face)
[personal profile] anthimeria2013-08-02 01:04 am

The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Phenomenal.  Go read it.

The Diviners is the story of Evie, who can read objects, but prefers to be a flapper, escaping to her uncle's place in New York, New York.  It's 1926, and Evie is thoroughly modern.  It's the story of Memphis, a numbers runner in Harlem who dreams of being a poet.  It's the story of Theta, whose name isn't Theta, who lives with her brother who isn't her brother, who is--now, at least--one of the Ziegfeld Girls.  It's the story of Naughty John, who does his work with his apron on . . .

The Diviners is built around Evie, but it is many stories.  Libba Bray does everything I tend not to like in fiction--there are many points of view, though Evie's is primary, she spends some time describing and anthropomorphizing landscapes and elements, she flips around in whoever's point of view is most useful, and she digresses into character back stories that don't all become relevant in this book.  I also don't like big books and this one is long, clocking in at nearly six hundred pages of decently-sized hardback.  With all of that in mind, I loved this book.  Everything, every word, has its purpose, and in a book this long, that's saying something.  Every point of view shift is worth it, every digression interesting, every nuance telling.

Even better is the historical setting.  The Diviners isn't just set in the 20s, it lives and breathes the 20s--down to the slang, the tech, the culture, the language, the scars of one world war and the setting-up of the next.  A lot of historical fiction--especially speculative historical fiction--tends to be merely flavored with its era.  The Diviners is brilliantly 20s, and could not have been set in another era and told such a story.

For all that The Diviners is being marketed as YA, it's a chilling, incredible urban fantasy that I would urge anyone who enjoys the genre to check out.  For all that the construction of the book hits all the things I tend not to like (and yet I loved it, note), the premise is everything I love: YA with a spunky girl protagonist!  Historical spec fic!  Urban fantasy!  Serial killer mystery!  Diverse characters!  Thoughtfulness about society!  All wrapped up in speakeasies and paranormal abilities.

The Diviners is also that rare first book in a series that stands on its own, but is clearly sowing the seeds for a series.  I hope that many of the digressions I spoke of above, which came to little more than character pieces in this book, will bear fruit in the next.  I loved this book and I want more, so if anything I've mentioned here strikes your fancy, hop on the trolly, old girl, and cough up some dough!  Or, y'know, hit the library, if dough is hard to come by.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist2010-03-19 06:26 pm
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Free online speculative fiction

I've been reading more speculative fiction online lately, particularly at Strange Horizons and Fantasy Magazine. Both have some really stunning work.

Recently I read Alaya Dawn Johnson's amazing Aztec-based fantasy story A Song to Greet the Sun (warning: potentially very triggery stuff, abuse and murder) and Alice Sola Kim's Beautiful White Bodies, which made it on the Tiptree honor list for 2009. I also loved Willow Fagan's my mother, the ghost.

Do you have favorite non-subscription online fiction magazines or stories? A favorite SFF author who has links to some of their work online? Please share!

(x-posted to [community profile] science_fiction and my personal journal)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist2010-03-02 08:33 pm
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Assorted book reviews

I've been trying to review every book I read since January 2009 (am still behind on the end of 2009 and this February), so here are reviews of some of the fantasy books I've read so far this year. Links go to ful reviews.

Urban fantasy, Discworld, and fairytales )
valtyr: (Infinity)
[personal profile] valtyr2010-02-17 01:12 pm
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Reviews of Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore

These two novels are the first two by Kristin Cashore. They're young adult fantasy, and while Fire is set in the same world as Graceling, they only have a slight connection - they're set in neighbouring countries that don't really interact, and only share one character. (These reviews do not contain plot spoilers, but have some information about the world-building, so if you like to come to novels completely cold, don't click the cut!)

Reviews within )

Anyway, I really enjoyed both these book, I am eagerly awaiting the third, and I totally recommend them, for adults or young adults. (Fire does have a fair bit of discussion of rape, but there's nothing explicit and no rape is committed within the timeframe of the book.)
lea_hazel: The Little Mermaid (Genre: Fantasy)
[personal profile] lea_hazel2010-02-17 01:54 pm
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What Are You Reading/Looking Forward To?

What are you reading right now?

What upcoming books are you looking forward to, and when do you plan on getting/reading them?

I'll start )

ETA: I forgot to ask: Does anyone know of a community for mystery/detective books on DW? I searched the interests and checked the comm promotions, but couldn't find anything.
sky: (dgm - yay food)
[personal profile] sky2009-10-05 12:09 pm
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Recs, anyone?

Hi, I'm new to the community :)

So I've just finished reading everything that's out so far of [livejournal.com profile] otterdance's amazing Nightrunner series, and having absolutely fallen in love with the characters and world (although I see from previous entries that not everyone agrees with me :D;; but to each their own, right?) I've been hoping to find something with a similar feel to it to tide me over until White Road comes out next year. I particularly enjoy the strong, lovable characters, the running-about-being-ninja-y and the political intrigue/high-society schmoozing aspects of the series; romance, slashy or otherwise, is a nice bonus but not the main attraction for me. Also, I find it hard to get into books where there's a lot of character death.

So does anyone have any good suggestions? Thanks in advance for giving it a moment of thought!