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url 2017-04-13 00:22
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Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente

"Valente brings Russian folklore into the present day. Prepare for Stalinist house elves, a clever peasant girl named Marya, and a collision of magical history with actual history!

 

Download DEATHLESS here, available from April 10 to April 16, 2017

 

Please download your free copy of DEATHLESS by Catherynne M. Valente before 11:59 PM ET, April 16, 201


Keep track of all Tor.com eBook Club offerings and discussions on the Tor.com eBook Club tag page.


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Source: forms.em.penguinrandomhouse.com/ats/msg.aspx?sg1=34a162909d7589a64dc9cb13208692a7&aid=randohouseinc42151-20&ref=PRH6A17DC959AC5&linkid=PRH6A17DC959AC5&cdi=4C1CA876A4730665E0534FD66B0A3090&template_id=5895
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review 2017-04-08 03:35
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Fairyland, #5) by Catherynne M. Valente
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home - Ana Juan,Catherynne M. Valente

This is it. The final installment to this incredibly innovative, whimsical series. I've been following September and her crew for a couple of years now and it makes me have so many feelings. Happy, sad, excited, wonderful feelings! I hate that it's coming to an end (and I know she recently wrote a short story afterwards which I will be reading) because I love this series so much, but just as the narrator said, we can always come visit and spend some time together again.

 

I don't even know where to start with this review. It's always been difficult for me to review books I feel so much love and attachment to. Valente is a fantastic story-teller. She has the ability to weave a bizarre tale of magic and wonder around the reader. She gets you, as the reader, involved in her books with writing that leaves you breathless. She never talks down to you. No. She includes you. And I love her for that. I love that she wants you to be a part of the story. Not necessarily as stepping into September's shoes, or lack thereof, but to bring your own shoes and tag along with the characters. This book is no exception. I felt like I went on a very long adventure for years that I was happy to be on. I adored getting to see the characters grow and learn from when they were children to when they became teenagers to becoming young adults. It's incredible how talented of a writer Valente is and I'm looking forward to seeing where she goes next as a writer.

 

Speaking of characters, every single one of them is just as amazing as they are in the first book. September is a lot older, braver, daring, and fearless here. Saturday grows and regresses and grows again! (You should really read the book to understand what I mean.) A-Through-L is still the best Wyverary I have ever read about in fiction ever. I love how sweet and caring and excited he gets about books. (He's one of my favorite characters in this series.) We also see more of Hawthorn, Tambulaine, and Blunderbuss in this book as well. Hawthorn and Tamburlaine is there for a little bit and you can see that they are having their own private adventures~ Blunderbuss plays a key role here and she's just awesome! I mean, she kind of has to be since she's a wombat and all! X3 But seriously, I have no complaints about any of the characters. In fact, Valente even includes portions with September's family! After all, just because you're an adult, doesn't mean you can have your own fun and adventures, right?

 

This story in this book really brings a lot of questions you may have had throughout the series to the forefront. So many elements were explained and answered. There's so many unpredictable events, which just adds on to my love for this entire story! I love it when books aren't easy to decipher. I love not being able to tell when Valente is taking us. You think that one thing is going to happen, and then Valente flips it over and kicks it towards a ring of fire made of ice and you have no idea where you're headed. It's such a fun experience to see yourself, as the reader, wonder what's going on and then be amazed as soon as you see where you have landed! Man, I love this book!

 

I highly highly recommend you check out this entire series. It's whimsical, magical, incredible, fun that you're going to love if you adore fantasy, great characters, and even better writing. With these books, I have discovered and fallen in love with Catherynne Valente as an author and I will continue to read her writing for as long as she creates art. I love the Fairyland series and, I hope, you will, too.

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review 2017-04-04 21:27
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (Fairyland, #4) by Catherynne M. Valente
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland - Ana Juan,Catherynne M. Valente

It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following my reviews for some time now that I LOVE Catherynne Valente's Fairyland series. I adore them to bits! Ever since I read the first book in the series a couple of years ago, I couldn't get September and her adventures out of my head. I've gone back to re-read the first three books in the series to prepare myself for the fourth installment. And let me tell you, that is the best decision I could have made in regards to these books because refreshing my memory to what happened in the first three books made my reading experience for the fourth that much more enjoyable.

 

This time, however, we are not following September, Ell, and Saturday in their journey, but a whole new cast of characters. There's Hawthorn, Tamburlaine, Scratch, and Blunderbuss. Two changelings, a gramophone, and a stuffed wombat, respectfully. And we get to see how they stumbled from Fairyland to our world and back again. This story is filled with all the lovely whimsy and magic and adventure as all the other Fairyland books with an added layer of life lessons that all children must read.

 

And when I say "life lessons," I don't mean "please be nice," though that's definitely there. I mean Valente writes a beautiful narrative about a boy who is seen as "bizarre" and "different" and how poorly he is treated for being so, but in the process, Valente makes it clear that there's nothing wrong about sticking out. That there's nothing wrong with not being "normal." That each child (or adult) should embrace themselves for being different. The way Valente portrays this is subtle, too. It's not IN YOUR FACE about this message. She writes in as a mere mention and, as a reader, you take it in and continue on with the story. It's beautiful the way she writes this.

 

Also, I took a lot of what she was saying as how people treat queer kids differently from straight kids and it made my heart soar with happiness, but also pain. It hurts me inside to see when children are treated harshly because they don't fit a mold close-minded adults put before them. Kids should be allowed to be themselves. They should be allowed to be happy. As long as they are not hurting anyone, kids should be allowed to grow into happy, healthy adults being themselves. And Catherynne Valente is allowing children to do that by writing these books.

 

The characters for this book are all so beautiful. I love Hawthorn so much. I saw a lot of my younger self in him. Being a Changeling, he never quite fitted in to our world. The "human" world. He was questioned by every adult for his peculiarities, bullied in school, and treated as an "abnormal." But when he finally returns to Fairyland, he finds his place with people who love him for him and he starts to find his happiness. He's an amazing character who I fell deeply for. Tamburlaine is also a Changeling and she's a sweetheart. She finds solidarity with Hawthorn and begin to form a lovely friendship where neither of them had any before meeting one another. Scratch is Tamburlaine's gramophone with a spring to his step! Or, at least, he would is he had feet. He's cheerful and kind and helps in the best way a gramophone can: by providing music! Blunderbuss is Hawthorn's wombat (it makes sense when you read the book) and she is one of the feistiest characters I have read in a long time. I love how she comes across blunt and a bit mean but she means well and she shows it by being loyal and loving to her band of friends. Basically, all of the characters in this book are incredibly well-rounded and complex, I can't help but love them.

 

This story is great. If you've read all the other books in the series thus far, then I highly recommend you go ahead and pick up this book! Valente actually does something in this book that I did not see coming! I can't tell you because it is a HUGE spoiler but let me just say that I love it when a book is unpredictable. It makes for a much more interesting and entertaining read. So pick up this book and follow Hawthorn, Tamburlaine, and the rest on a journey through Fairyland to assist a King and find the ever allusive Spinster. It's going to be a wild ride~

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review 2017-02-23 04:13
Interior world
Silently and Very Fast - Catherynne M. Valente

This was so fucking weird. Gorgeous mind-screw. There is no way to really understand unless you walk the fine edge between paying close attention and just letting it flow. I can't even give a proper summary without diving into spoiler territory.

 

Dream-like and powerful in imagery, heavy on symbol, it draws a lot on traditional narrative devices and gives stark, analytical spins to them, (sometimes to such a violent degree, it becomes surprising or disquieting, and I've done my fair amount of research on the psychology of myth and fairy-tales; that's Valente for you). Monomyth is a concept that comes up a lot. Turing test too, to an ironic (bittersweet, vindictive, awesome) final mention.

 

It's a slow piece, patchwork style and complex. It demands you to think, about what you are reading and about things like the definition of feelings, of love, of being and self, of likeness and difference, of knowledge against imitation, and where the line is drawn. I had to reassess many of them in my mind as I read, and that's really something.

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review 2016-10-05 23:53
#CBR8 Book 111: Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
Six-Gun Snow White - Charlie Bowater,Catherynne M. Valente

From the blurb:
From New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente comes a brilliant reinvention of one of the best known fairy tales of all time. In the novella Six-Gun Snow White, Valente transports the title's heroine to a masterfully evoked Old West where Coyote is just as likely to be found as the seven dwarves. 

A plain-spoken, appealing narrator relates the story of her parents - a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. With her mother's death in childbirth, so begins a heroine's tale equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have. Filled with fascinating glimpses through the fabled looking glass and a close-up look at hard living in the gritty gun-slinging West, readers will be enchanted by this story at once familiar and entirely new.  

This novella is a clever retelling of the classic German fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Having moved the narrative to the Old West, the girl at the centre of the story, the half-blood daughter of a Crow Native American woman and a wealthy prospector, grows up alone and unloved on her father's ranch. She entertains herself with card tricks and sharp shooting, her only companions the impersonal servants and the wild animals in the ranch menagerie.

When her father eventually remarries, it is to a beautiful young woman who takes it upon herself to civilise "Snow White", as she names her stepdaughter. Mrs H's lessons of love involve Snow performing the duties of all the female servants (all of whom were let go after the wedding), nearly drowning in icy milk baths meant to make her skin paler and various kinds of physical and emotional abuse. Having never had anyone show her any attention at all, Snow takes it all, without complaining. Her stepmother has a dark and mystical mirror, where Snow sees visions both of herself, and Mrs H's past. Eventually her stepmother gives birth to a baby boy, but only in the mirror. The child seems to grow fast and he and Snow have a strange connection.

Snow leaves the only home she's ever known, riding off to find the Crow, hoping to reunite with her mother's people. She travels through frontier towns and mining villages, defending herself against all manner of aggressions. She spends some time prospecting in a ruby mine along with seven rugged men. A ruthless Pinkerton agent trails her tirelessly, hired by her stepmother to catch her, so he can cut out her heart and bring it back to Mrs. H. Snow can be bested by no man, however, and escapes the detective with her heart intact.

Eventually arriving at a town populated by women, cast out from other places, Snow begins to find some solace and peace. The reach of her stepmother's powers are long, though, and once Snow stops running, she'll be easier to catch.

The story is told in an oddly poetical manner, narrated in a special cadence, which even when you read it seems very oral. Transposing the classic fairytale to a new setting makes you see the story in a new light. Valente certainly makes the story more feminist and diverse, highlighting how lost Snow is, never fitting into her father's world, or that of her mother. Mrs. H, Snow's stepmother isn't merely a one-dimensional villain. It is made clear that the way she treats Snow is a somewhat harsher way than she herself was treated before she got married. Mrs. H turned to witchcraft to gain power, Snow runs away instead. Only towards the end does she see the caring and nurturing side of womanhood.

This novella incorporates a lot of mythology, both Native American and Western. It plays with the reader's expectations and the well-known story tropes, re-inventing the old tale for a new time. Because the narrator imposes a sort of distance in the way the story is told, I never emotionally connected with it as much as I wanted to, but I was entertained and impressed. It's also not a very long story, so I didn't have time to get bored - which was not the case when I read Valente's twist on Russian folk tales, Deathless

Judging a book by its cover: The Charles Vess cover for this novella is absolutely gorgeous. Snow triumphantly rearing on her loyal horse Charming. Her stepmother, Mrs H, kneeling holding up a bloody heart. The various animals and creatures of the wilderness coming in from the left, looking as if they're about to stampede over the stepmother. I pretty much love everything about this.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/cbr8-book-111-six-gun-snow-white-by.html
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