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Still jumping around, but this was yesterday's. I have three more reviews in backlog, plus today, so I think one more tonight and then three tomorrow and two the day after that. It will be good being caught up again; I hate being too ill to write, though I suppose I'm lucky it's only happening now when I've been sick since last October.

Anyway. This is one of those books I don't quite want to call a domestic fantasy because it's not quite on a domestic scale; it focuses entirely on one household, but everyone in the household is nobility or royalty and so their actions resonate out into a larger sphere, although we never really see the greater world. There ought to be a name for this sort of thing, a private drama lent weight by the public aspects of all its players. Mind you, I tend to feel with this kind of book, as I do here, that we don't see enough of the larger world to really make me believe in its existence, and so it plays as a domestic fantasy with the ranks and titles mostly determining the specifics of the code of manners everyone has to follow.

The protagonist, Corie, is a bastard daughter of an important family, and so she spends the summers at the castle and winters with her commoner grandmother studying to be a witch. This gives her a certain detachment from the aforementioned code of manners. Also there are elves, although they're called something else, and the humans have been enslaving them for a while. It is, as one would expect from Sharon Shinn in this mode, a romance in which the good end happily, the bad unhappily, and the heroine gets to set things right in a fairly non-dramatic sort of way.

I don't know how to tell you whether the book is any good, because I don't read this sort of book, and in fact I don't read Sharon Shinn, with any thought as to whether the books are actually good. This is the sort of book I read on airplanes, when I cannot have something too engrossing because I will have to catch a connecting flight and I cannot have something too dull or I will start to notice that I have no legroom. It works very well for that. I think this is better than her recent kind-of-similar YA series, because the world-building is marginally less bog-standard, but I would not go so far as to call it original. If you like this kind of book you could do much worse and probably not much better. My major problem with it was that I got up at six and I got to the airport and opened the book at eight and I was done reading it before ten a.m. and the plane hadn't taken off yet. I assume this is not a generalizable problem, so consider the book provisionally recommended.


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