I have read TWO BOOKS already. Granted, one was Ursula’s DRAGONBREATH, which is short and has a lot of pictures, but one takes victories where one can.
The other is Alethea Kontis’s ENCHANTED.
Now, Alethea is this person I met at WFC in Austin several years back. She and Ed Schubert and some others for some reason took pity on me as I was sitting there, pathetic and alone, on the bus to the convention hotel, or maybe at breakfast, or something. I don’t really remember the details, mostly because later that weekend I had just for the first time in real life met my friend Tammy Jones, and moments after I met her another friend of mine, Randomness, bellowed, “KIT!!!!” from across the hotel lobby, which was an arboretum and carried sound *remarkably* well, and once Ness and I had connected someone else came up to say hi, which caused Tammy to exclaim, “EVERYBODY knows Catie!” I was protesting that indeed, I knew almost no one at the convention and this was all just some kind of funny fluke, when Ed Schubert threw himself through a shrubbery* to greet me, then hauled me back through the shrubbery to be welcomed into the arms of Ed, Alethea and the others.
It sort of obliterated any hope I had of convincing Tammy that I was not on intimate terms with everybody at the convention. And it kind of cemented my affections for Ed and Alethea particularly, and we’ve been friends ever since. In fact, Alethea sent me the manuscript for ENCHANTED several years ago, because we’d been talking about the film “Ever After” and she’d said she’d liked it but her own version of a retold Cinderella was so much better. And I said “Ooh I’d love to read it someday!” and she emailed it and then because I did not yet have an e-reader I didn’t read it.
Having just finished the book, man, I wish I’d read it years ago when Alethea sent it to me. :)
It’s really splendid. She takes ALL the fairy tales and remixes them in an absolutely wonderful way. There are moments in the book where I, because I know Alethea, could see her life and influences very clearly, and because I know her and because one of the joys of knowing writers is recognizing those moments, they made me smile.
Mostly, though, the wonderful charming skill with which she deconstructed everything and put them back together again in a way that makes you go “Oh OF COURSE that’s how it all works!” made me smile. Really an absolutely enjoyable book, and I highly recommend it.
Next up I shall be reading DINOCALYPSE NOW, as part of my preparations for writing the as-yet-unnamed Amelia Stone novel for Evil Hat/Spirit of the Century. My life, it is SO HARD!
In the meantime, I wonder if there’s a coffee shop in North Pole where I can go camp out and write for a few hours every day. It seems fairly likely that there is not. (Although the internet suggests there was at least at one time a coffee shop called “Cuppa Chena”, which is a brilliant name for a coffee shop in this area. :))
*This is not a euphanism. Ed literally threw himself through a shrubbery.
(x-posted from the essential kit)