justira: A purple, gender-ambiguous unicorn pony in the style of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. (lady business)
[personal profile] justira
A Darker Shade of Magic photo cover_adarkershadeofmagic_zps12923fe2.jpg

Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

Friends! I bet you have figured out by now that I am the local curmudgeonly contrarian, and I don't like anything. Well STRAP IN, because I have POSITIVE REVIEW today! And for once, it's SPOILER FREE!

Yes! A Darker Shade of Magic was delightful, and I have exceedingly few complaints about it (of course it wouldn't be me if there were NO complaints).

 photo sofuckingexcitedomg_zpsjx1yby3u.gif


Like All the Birds in the Sky, this is a book of and about tropes. The setup is trope-tastic; you've heard this all before. You have your world-weary but young magician struggling with his place in the world, your dubiously moral cutpurse scrappy lady, your ruthless evil mage, your overall setting as a portal fantasy. It's all very by-the-numbers, but A Darker Shade of Magic is an exercise in colouring inside the lines and making it sing.

Read more... )
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
cover of Kraken deep blue with the letters K R and K of the title forming long tentacles off their ends


Hold on to your tentacles, this post is jam-packed full of words and revelations, although not of the spiritual kind. There are massive spoilers, including the ending for the entire book. If you care about being spoiled for this book before you read it, don't read this. Onward to FEELINGS.

Oh, China Miéville, why did you do this to me on our first date? I thought we had something special. I read one hundred pages of this book and recommended it to Chris! He probably had to go put on pants to buy this book! I added your entire back list to my reading list in a year when I can only read one book by a dude after I read five books by ladies. I gushed at people about this book. I HAD SO MANY FEELINGS AND THEY STILL HAVEN'T GONE AWAY. I need healing fanfic and none exists.

I both loved and loathed this book. Kraken was recommended to me by Jodie and Maree after I spent several successful years pretending I wasn't avoiding Miéville's work out of abject fear that my brain wouldn't measure up to the telescopic gaze of his prose. I kept a tight grip on my terror that I would be found wanting and then discarded in the margins as the narrative chugged on without me, inaccessible to my puny intellect. Have you read the first chapter of Perdido Street Station? I have! It will be a vodka-fueled adventure quest before I go back into that novel again, or any of the other Bas-Lag stories, for that matter.

Cut for spoilers and feelings. )

Other reviews:
things mean a lot, Jodie & Maree, The Book Smugglers, Ashley Crump (SF Signal), Theresa Delucci (Tor.com), yours?

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