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Our giveaway ends very soon and its closure will mark the end of our theme week dedicated to Kate Elliott's super cool science fiction and fantasy novels. Here's a recap of our adventures.

Mieneke reviewed Jaran, the first novel in the Books of the Jaran.
Jaran societal structure is a fascinating construct, which subverts the patriarchy by giving women ultimate freedom and leadership, yet at the same time gives the power to determine marriage to the men, leaving the women without choice in who literally marks them his. It is a strange power dichotomy, as once the marriage is marked, women are then again free to choose their own lovers and whether to allow their husbands to stay in their tents. In other words, consent is key in Jaran custom, with the exception of the act of marriage. [READ MORE]

Renay reviewed A Passage of Stars, the first novel in The Highroad Trilogy.
A Passage of Stars was published in the 1990s, while I was busy breaking into the Mario/Luigi domestic AU scene on notebook paper with one of those giant pencils they give to kids when they have trouble gripping regular pencils. Luckily, A Passage of Stars is much better than my early fanfic. Elliott, even back then, was writing the kind of fiction we all say we want now: diverse casts of characters that are fully realized, women who are three-dimensional people with complicated lives, and hella adventures. [READ MORE]

Susan reviewed Cold Magic, the first novel in the Spiritwalker Trilogy.
The thing that impresses me most about this progression (and apologies to my twitter followers, who got this shrieking in real time), is that every new thing the book brought in revealed more about the world and moved it one step away from the story I thought I was reading. It’s not a pure fantasy story, it’s an alternate history one with changes starting all the way back in the Roman era — but it’s also a fantasy story, a Regency story, a story with so many non-white voices. Like, in the backmatter, Kate Elliott describes Cold Magic as an "Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency novel with airships, Phoenician spies and the intelligent descendants of troodons" and I didn’t even know that was a mash-up people could write, let alone did. [READ MORE]

KJ reviewed Poisoned Blade, the sequel to the excellent Court of Fives.
These stories are about much more than the drama on the Fives court — and you certainly don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy them! As much as anything, Poisoned Blade is a political thriller, chock full of conspiracies, conflicting loyalties, and palace intrigue. [READ MORE]

Ira reviewed Black Wolves, the first book in a brand new trilogy set in the world of The Crossroads Trilogy.
You might have noticed that most of these dialogues with power are gendered. That’s no coincidence: the interplay of power and gender is a major theme of the entire book. It’s evident early on in the form on the teenaged Dannarah, who wants to be king and co-rule with her brother, but is barred by her gender according to her family’s customs. Note, nothing in the worldbuilding of the Hundred indicates that a woman can’t hold that kind of power. That restriction seems to stem from the king and his family alone, as they cleave to the customs that they are importing from the Sirnikian Empire. This is a good point at which to transition to talking about gender in Black Wolves, as it is in this category that I find some of the book’s best moments — and also, its deepest flaws. [READ MORE]


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Ira is an illustrator and gamer who decided that disagreeing with everyone would be a good way to spend their time on the internet. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon AO3 icon

By day Jodie is currently living the dream as a bookseller for a major British chain of book shops. She has no desire to go back to working in the real world. more? » tumblr icon last.fm icon

KJ KJ is an underemployed librarian, lifelong reader, and more recently an avid gamer. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon AO3 icon

Renay writes for Lady Business and co-hosts Fangirl Happy Hour, a pop culture media show that includes a lot yelling about the love lives of fictional characters. Enjoys puns. more? » twitter icon pinboard icon tumblr icon

Susan is a library assistant who uses her insider access to keep her shelves and to-read list permanently over-flowing. more? » twitter icon pinboard icon AO3 icon


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