Monday, April 1, 2013

March Reads

Ah March... I've got a severe case of spring fever. 
That means I transition from Dystopian literature to Jane Austen! 


Because It's My Blood by Gabrielle Zavin

This is the sequel to All These Things I've Done, a book I read last month.  In this futuristic book, Anya, the main character becomes more involved in her family's Chocolate mob business.  I'm eagerly awaiting the release of  In the Days of Death and Chocolate that comes out this fall to see how successful Anya will be at running her version of the illicit chocolate business.


Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

This is an ingenious telling of an alternate regency period world where "glamour," or the magical enhancement of the appearance of the visual world, is a skill expected of refined ladies.  This reads like a Jane Austen novel.  It is exactly what I would expect from her if she lived in a world that contained magic.  When I began reading this book I was expecting something along the lines of the book Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, another Regency Period novel set in an alternate "magical" world.  While I really enjoyed Sorcery and Cecelia, and the two subsequent sequels, Shades of Milk and Honey was so much better.  Sorcery and Cecelia has a lot of modern feminist undertones to it, but Shades of Milk and Honey is written in the voice of someone who is living in the era, so much so that the author did her best to exclude words not in existence at the time, and used older spellings of words.  It really added to the feeling that you were reading an Austen Contemporary from this magical world.  I also like that the author didn't overdo the magic.  There arent any fantastical beasts, or over the top magic.  The magic is subtle as it would be if it were a part of someones every day life.  Sure there is frustration at not having the skill for "glamour" but I liken that to jealousy and frustration of not being able do some similar skill like painting or embroidery that was expected of "accomplished women" of the time.  This was one of those books I didn't want to end.  I wanted to keep living in the world the author had created.

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo

This book is by the author of Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr.Darcy Broke My Heart. The three books are loosely part of a series of books where the main character's lives mirror those from one of Jane Austen's Novels, only set in Modern times.  There are also secret lost documents belonging to Jane Austen in each story as well.  This story,( if you are familiar with Austen, you'll know from the title), has the main character's lives similar to Elinore and Marianne from Sense and Sensibility.  The main characters travel to England to spread their deceased mother's ashes, and take a Jane Austen tour as directed by their mother in her will.  Amidst this, they realize that they are in the possession of Cassandra, Jane's sister's private unknown diary.  I loved how the romances developed, even though, being familiar with the story, I knew what was eventually going to happen.  This was a lovely modern retelling of a great classic novel.

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

This was the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey.  I found this book to be far less enjoyable than the first in this series.  What originally drew me to this series was how the first book, "Milk and Honey" was written in a very similar voice to Jane Austen.  This second one, much less so.  I think this was mostly due to the subject matter.  First, Austen novels are romance based, where the main characters are searching for love, with all the twists and turns and misunderstandings that accompany it.  The main characters in this story have already found love and are married.  Second, Austen novels, although many are set during war times, and frequently mention officers and other men of military rank, never mentions war.  Glamour in Glass was all about the war with Napoleon and spying and all that jazz.  Third, Austen novels tend to end happily for the main characters, at least the good ones.  This was not the case either in "Glamour."  The ending was quite melancholy.  Although I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as the first book, I will read the third book in the series(whenever my local library decides to get it) because I want to see where the author is going to go with the main characters at this point.

Jane Bites Back by


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