mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Always Winter, Never Boxing Day. (4)

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal.

The Coldmongers Guild,
zealots of Fimbulwinter,
armed with their ice picks.

I keep really enjoying these Mary Robinette Kowal books! Then not giving them a full long spiel It is hard to know what to say; they keep being consistently good in the same way! A Regency romance with a strong magic system. That is a pretty high concept pitch, when you put it like that, but the book veers towards readability rather than puff or punishing detail. The onus for staying "period" is on the author-- from what I understand, she built a special spellcheck for her manuscript that consists only of words appropriate for the time, culled from original sources, & she uses that as a filter to check for anachronism. That sort of thing, geeking out like that? Magnificent. Oh, did I already mention that? Maybe I did, but I don't mean that anecdote to be the sum total of her dedication! Rather, emblematic of her devotion to realism & research. Beyond that, the stories remain implicit critiques of class, race & gender politics. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is spellpunk or anything-- our protagonists are very much of the privileged segment of society-- but their position is one that is inherently condemnatory of beauty standards & sexism. While touching on deeper class issues. Oddly, while the last one included torture at the hands of Napoleon's troops, I found this one much more stressful to read. Maybe because it was Jane, our viewpoint character, being threatened. After a string of poor behavior. Seriously, if you were worried that Jane was becoming a bit too on the nose of cultural critique, worry no more; her flaws really anchor this book, & succeed in bringing her sister Melody into sharp focus.
Tags: books, haiku, kowal

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