October 14th, 2013

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Recent Reads: ARROWS OF THE SUN

ARROWS OF THE SUN, Judith Tarr: holy crap.

I began suspecting that this was the second series somewhere early in the book, and I was right, so now I know the bones of the first series, because it was too good to stop reading and besides, I was on an airplane and couldn’t get the first book then anyway. (You, being forewarned, should start here instead of where I started.)

It as also somewhere well before the magnificently ruinous romance really began to unfold that I started to see where it was going to go, and started to suspect that it was going to put my all-time favorite tragic love story, TIGANA, to shame.

It did. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still love me some TIGANA, but ARROWS OF THE SUN’s heartbreaking romance is actually *more* complex and layered than TIGANA’s, and the heart of it is…fiery in a way that Dianora and Brandin aren’t. In fact, given the context of the story, rather literally fiery, but also figuratively: it actually burns hotter and more desperately, and it’s honestly just *magnificent*.

Besides the amazing romance, it’s also terrific epic fantasy. The TIGANA comparisons end with the romance, because the scope of ARROWS feels much grander and greater than TIGANA’s, although it also remains an intensely personal story. But empires rise and fall on these peoples’ decisions, and magic lives or dies in theirr actinos.

Also for the win, for those keeping track at home, ARROWS OF THE SUN is almost entirely populated by people of color, to the point that it actually seems ridiculous to phrase it that way. It’s more like, there’s one white girl and she’s extremely noticeable because of that.

Honestly, I’m kind of embarrassed that I’ve come so late to Judy’s writing, but at the same time, I’m really glad because I’m able to appreciate it on a whole different level than I would have 20 years ago. And because we live in a brave new world of publishing, everybody *else* who might not know her work can find it now, and if you like epic fantasy, you rrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllllly oughta be giving her a try. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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many days at once

I had a rather good dream that had the bones of a MG/YA thing, in which there was a (difficult to access) window that led to another time period, and in which Amanda Palmer was the rather alarming Queen of Faerie. The sort you don’t mess with. I can’t, of course, remember any details, which makes me wonder once again if one could achieve dream recollection through hypnosis…

We arrived safely in America, after the excitement of discovering, the night before we left, that my US passport had expired five days previously. Fortunately, the nice US embassy man at Heathrow arranged to extend it through the 11th, and suggested I wait until I get back to Ireland to get a new one. :)

On the plane from Dublin to Heathrow, the man sitting next to me was reading kateelliott/Kate Elliott’s COLD STEEL, which made me squeal, “Kate is a friend of mine!” in pure giddy delight. :)

Then at WH Smith in Heathrow I saw a familiar face and gave a decisively friendly, “Hey, mate, how are you!” kind of nod before realising the face belonged to Martin Hayes, world famous fiddler, who presumably has absolutely no idea why I nodded at him like we were old friends. :)

I spent quite a while raking leaves yesterrday, and silently apologising to the trees for messing up their patterns, a peculiarity I have had most of my life and for which I blame Diane Duane. Those of you who know why will understand. :)

Let’s see. I’ve got a bunch of Recent Reads I should write up, but just in case I don’t let me like picoreview them here:

KING KHAN, by Harry Connolly: I think this is far and away the best of the Spirit of the Century novels I read. I thought Harry really nailed the outrageous leaps from one pulpy set piece to another, while putting together a story that could *only* work in pulp fiction. Also, the in-jokes and nods to various names and creations were just terrific, so my hat is off to Harry.

And since I’m mentioning him anyway, his Kickstarter has 6 days left and has just hit $35K. I have hopes of seeing it hit $40K, for the delight of seeing Harry’s head explode. Again. :)

THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE, Rachel Caine: I’m more than a little late to the Morganville Vampires books, what with there being like 15 of them out now, but they’re really entertaining YA urban fantasy. The lead is a precocious 16 year old who’s gone to college early, only to find the school she’s been accepted to is in the heart of a vampire-owned town. Things pretty well go to hell, and they’re fun reads.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)