Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.
That's right, I've gotten yet another book before it's actual release date. This one I bought, though. Hurley had tweeted that a few copies would be available at GenCon, where I was already planning to be.
So, also, it's signed. I hunted her down after a panel in my yummy sushi pajamas.
I'm not sure I have much to add to the Liz Bourke review I read a few hours ago. You should maybe just go read that instead of my ravings.
I haven't enjoyed an epic fantasy novel this much in I-don't-know-how-long. The world building is bananas. She doesn't stop to explain the satellites or carnivorous plants, you just need to roll with the fun (and maybe consult the glossary at the back if you're really struggling). More than a hundred pages in, she describes a bear. Guys, it's not a bear. For fuck's sake. The walls are only worth characters thinking about when they are actually stone. The fucking bears? That they ride as mounts? Are not bears. Bananas.
And, oh, do I like bananas. This is so my kind of weird. I just sat back and let the strange keep rolling until it all made sense. Have you read City? The history of the decline of human civilization as told through the creation myths of dogs? That's not even scratching the surface of weird with Mirror Empire as the standard.
She will explain the concept that leads to the title "Mirror Empire" across several POVs as each character figures it out. While that makes a lot of sense - obviously these characters would give a lot more time over to exploring a new concept than thinking about what they consider normal - this was the thing I least needed explained. It's . . . in the title. It's . . . described in the introductory chapter. But that may just be a reflection of my own reading history. See: City.
In addition to wild worldbuilding, Hurley also throws in a lot of violence. Really, a lot. Both the kind that involves killing masses of faceless enemies on the field of battle and the considerably more personal kind. I really dig that, but I know it's not for everyone. There's a lot of decapitation, sometimes of children. I'm going to drop a minor (tiny) spoiler here that you should only read if you are trying to evaluate whether or not this is too violent for your own personal sensibilities.
And in the midst of a crazy magical world slowly coating itself in the blood of the innocent? Some excellent characters. Lilia easily being my favorite as she constantly out thinks opponents even to her own detriment.
I so wish the second volume was out already.
I'm also going to drop a few notes for myself behind another spoiler tag so they're easier to find when Empire Ascendant comes out. Seriously do not read this one if you haven't already read this book. It will be utter nonsense, but will spoil many things when you do read this book.
So, uh, maybe go read this and come back so we can discuss?