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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

Currently reading

The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow
Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey I read a short story set in this universe a while back and was left not at all interested. Carey used language in a way that made me want to punch her in the face. But a couple of people have recommended this to me, and it did sound different. And someone loaned me a copy. I thought that maybe my issue with the short story would just be the voice she used for the character narrating it.

While this is clearly a different narrator, I'm not finding it any more readable. Here's the first sentence:

Lest anyone should suppose that I am a cuckoo's child, got on the wrong side of the blanket by lusty peasant stock and sold into indenture in a shortfallen season, I may say that I am House-born and reared in the Night Court proper, for all the good it did me.

I think I am supposed to be intrigued, but I am instead wondering if she thinks she's being paid by the word. This is a fat book. More than 900 pages. While I didn't make it to page 40, so far this opening has proven representative.

There were several of us younger children; four others, all told, and myself.

I'm sure there is a longer way to have said that. But just in case I wasn't sure that sentence was a complete waste of paper, she goes on to describe each child - I can't decide if she's writing to an audience that can't count to four or if there's going to be some importance placed on numerology later. You know what? Don't tell me. I'll delight in the mystery. Or not, since her form of foreshadowing is to label any such detail as something she didn't know would become so important later.

The only times I don't feel weighed down by the unnecessarily high word counts of each sentence are in dialog. Ah, blessedly sparse prose, why is so little said aloud in this book? (So far most conversations have been one sided. Maybe Carey just puts quotation marks around any sentence with less than ten words?) I think I might be able to get through Kushiel's Dart the play, just dialog and stage directions. This, I can't do. I don't enjoy the pain nearly enough.