Jun. 22nd, 2016

cahn: (Default)
4/5. Wow, you guys. This was amazing. And I'm speaking from the point of view of someone who really didn't like Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and who suspects that in general Jemisin might not exactly be for me? But this book is amazing. Jemisin has really got a handle on her writing (which IMO she didn't have in 100K); this thing is super ambitious and it manages to pull it off.

So, first of all: all the trigger warnings in the world. I mean, this is a book that begins in the first chapter with a baby killed by its father. Also: apocalypse, all the time.

Relatedly, it's a very angry book, which turned me off at first. And in my opinion 100K Kingdoms got over-the-top with the anger without sufficient character justification — but here it is much better handled. (I did find it a little… something… that apparently mild and disturbing spoilers for both 100K and 5th ) It didn't make my eyes roll here in the same way, though, because here it wasn't "ooh, let's do this at a party because that's what we do for fun because We Are Evil," but rather arose much more naturally out of the power structures of the society.

One of the things I really loved about it is that it's…science fantasy? Like, it's got clear trappings of fantasy (although there are hints that there might be at least a pseudo-scientific basis for it, which by the way is super cool), but if it's fantasy, it's fantasy that's rooted in science, and she seems to have a good grasp on earth science (as I'm not an earth scientist I couldn't tell you for sure, but it's got that feel to it, if you know what I mean, of someone who's comfortable with the science). I was totally unsurprised to read at the end that Jemisin had been part of a consortium where writers and scientists communicated, because it's really got that feel.

There are some parts where I felt like the human reactions were a little off. Mild spoilers. )I feel like it was manipulation by the author to manufacture reader outrage and justify the book's anger. (Manipulation that worked, honestly, because Jemisin's writing is so powerful and raw in this book; it wasn't until after I finished the book that I started thinking about these things.) (And yes, I understand it's all metaphorical too, but it also has to make sense within the story.) This was probably my biggest problem with the book. There's enough to be angry about without piling things on.

Slightly larger spoilers. )

I have another quibble — this one is extremely minor, much more minor than the others, but what is this journal for if not to vent about minor quibbles -- along these lines. Mild spoilers, again. ) I am giving her super kudos for correctly identifying the timescales, and I understand the scientific correctness sort of painted her into a corner here, but… heh.

Anyway! I keep waffling about what to put on the top of my Hugo ballot. I think on the whole Uprooted, because I thought Uprooted had deeper things to say and its flaws didn't bug me as much as in Fifth Season or Ancillary Mercy, but both of those are great as well. I'm pretty happy with this selection of (novel) nominees. (Next up: Novella!)

Profile

cahn: (Default)
cahn

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   12 34
5 67891011
12131415 161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Mar. 26th, 2017 01:26 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios