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Links to the reviews I posted during the recent LJ outage. I am not reposting, but anonymous and open ID commenting are open over there (though I would appreciate some kind of name signed to anonymous comments so as to be able to maintain continuity of conversation).

Day 325: Trilogy, H.D.. Poetry, unfairly overlooked lesbian author.

Day 326: Paying For It, Chester Brown. Graphic novel. Interesting but highly problematic memoir about prostitution from the perspective of a customer.

Day 327: Faerie Winter, Janni Lee Simner. Good YA fantasy by a friend of mine.

Day 328: The Invention of Morel, Adolfo Bioy Casares. Unfairly obscure Argentinian science fiction indirectly responsible for the movie Last Year at Marienbad.

Day 329: Earth X, Alex Ross and Jim Krueger. Graphic novel. Dark Marvel Comics AU with a very interesting take on Captain America.

Day 330: Dragonbreath: No Such Thing As Ghosts, Ursula Vernon. Fifth in Vernon's fun series of illustrated kids' books; not a strong entry.

And the two since made it through crossposting.
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Review of the book I read on Friday, July 22nd. Obligatory disclaimer: author is a friend.

This sequel to Bones of Faerie continues that novel's taut writing, interestingly post-apocalyptic worldbuilding, and complicated character dynamics. The war between Faerie and the human world came very close to destroying both: plants are hostile, spring continued without the season changing for decades, and humans eke out a precarious existence battling their own food sources. Children have started to be born with magic. In Liza's village, for many years, that was grounds for exposure on the hillside, but, partly due to Liza's efforts, things are beginning to change. Liza's own magic involves summoning, calling, and being able to tell things what to do.

Because of Liza, winter has come for the first time in her lifetime. The worrisome thing is that it doesn't seem to want to leave again-- how long is winter supposed to last, anyway? And although some of the Fae have begun to view humans as sentient, including the one who has become Liza's teacher, not all of the great Fae think the war is even over. One in particular sees winter as a sign that both worlds are, inevitably, dying...

I enjoy the characters in this; it makes a fine followup to the first. I found the dynamic between Liza and her shapeshifter boyfriend Matthew somewhat too similar to the dynamic between the protagonist and her shapeshifter boyfriend in Simner's earlier Thief Eyes, but hey, I like shapechangers as much as the next person, and at least Simner is managing to avoid the new tropes of teen paranormal romance nicely. I also find it moderately coincidental that Liza's family is so tied up with the causes and duration of the War, but this is the sort of coincidence people have been using for plot purposes forever, so mostly it just causes me to sigh slightly and go well, I suppose one wants to tell stories about people who are close to important historical events.

And I really love the uneasy blend of trust and distrust that Liza has for her mentor figures: she's just not able to trust anyone fully, and she wouldn't actually be right to do so, even the ones who love her, because people do just keep lying to her. The adults are all morally ambiguous in ways adults don't often get in YA.

So I recommend this. I don't know whether you'd have to read the first book for it to make sense, but I read the first when it came out and haven't reread, meaning I don't have a sharp memory of the details, and this worked anyway. It would therefore probably stand alone reasonably well. I think there's going to be a third? This certainly ends in a way that does not require a sequel while still allowing one, as did the first book.
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A truly excellent YA based, in part, on Njal's Saga.

Haley's mother disappeared in Iceland, a year ago, so Haley gets her father to take her back there. Then things go pear-shaped. There's generational magic, and good Icelandic countryside descriptions, and various Norse elements used intelligently and in ways that are not cliched. And real characterization. And hard choices. And one choice you expect to be hard, but that is (for a change) not handled stupidly, and so, in fact, isn't.

Also, there is one line that caused me to laugh for quite a while, and then go around and quote it to everyone in the house, and they laughed too. (There aren't, in fact, any wolves in Iceland.)

It's very hard to say much about a book which I enjoyed because it is exactly the sort of thing I like, and about which I wouldn't change a thing. I liked the author's previous Bones of Faerie, too, but this feels more self-assured and tighter, I think. If very hard pressed, I could maybe wish it a tiny bit less tight, more time just to wander around in the mythology, but that might hurt the effect we get now of really cool things half-glimpsed from all sides, so possibly not.

If you are looking for good novels with Norse elements, and they are rare, this one is worthy.


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