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review 2017-05-13 00:00
The Glass Town Game
The Glass Town Game - Catherynne M. Valente,Rebecca Green A juvenile fantasy about the young Brontes and their imaginary kingdoms? I've never read the surviving Glasstown Confederacy, Gondal and Angria poems, but the idea of them have fascinated me ever since I first heard of them.

The Glasstown Confederacy was the setting for the Bronte's games of make-believe from early childhood until, very likely, their deaths. Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell all contributed to the game and while only fragments survive - lists of characters, places, etc. and poetry - it was a wellspring of creativity.

Valente has the Brontes playing together shortly before Charlotte and Emily are to be sent off to school again. This is a dreadful thing not only because of the separation, but because the family hasn't gotten over the terrible losses they suffered when, on sending the elder girls to school, they lost their two eldest sisters to a sickness that broke out at the school. When the day arrives, the children encounter a bizarre man at the train station and board an altogether different kind of train then one that would take anyone to school.

I had some trouble with the characterization of Branwell and Anne at first, but by halfway through the novel I was thoroughly enjoying the adventure Valente was taking them on. No characters are as simple as they appear and there is real affection in their treatment. The one quibble I have is how Jane Austen was treated - but Charlotte herself didn't understand her, so I suppose its fair.

With the historical and literary background of this title there may be some trouble getting it into the young hands its intended for, but this is a swell adventure story and fantasy and no context is necessary for a young reader to enjoy it.
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review 2017-05-11 18:50
Deathless / Catherynne Valente
Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

 

I chose to read this book because it was one of the oldest on my TBR list and it was available at the library. Not maybe the most compelling reasons to make a selection, and it seems that I haven’t been in the correct mood to appreciate it.

Catherynne Valente is an excellent writer. I can’t complain about the writing style, or the vocabulary, or anything like that. The fault is mine—I don’t know enough about Russian folk tales to properly appreciate this retelling.

What did I like? The Stalinist house elves. They were awesome!

I spent the whole book feeling like there was something just out of my reach, something that just wasn’t clicking. It also didn’t help that life has been especially busy of late and I haven’t had the usual amount of time to devote to Deathless. Your mileage may vary.

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text 2017-05-09 18:12
Books I Need to Finish, Already!
A Beautiful Truth - Colin McAdam
Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente
No Bed for Bacon - S.J. Simon,Caryl Brahms
Shadow Games - Glen Cook

I'm house and cat sitting for my cousin this week and next.  I thought I'd have lots of time to read.  Then when I got to the house last night, I found her brother there, doing some handyman work for the neighbour & planning to stay until Wednesday.  I think he was disappointed last night that I didn't spend more time visiting with him, so tonight I plan to ask him out to dinner.  At least we can talk while we eat.

 

I need to finish A Beautiful Truth for my real-life book club on Friday night.  (I also need to schedule time to make some rice krispie squares for that event).

 

Deathless is the next book due at the library, but I'm stalled right now--it's just not engaging me, despite the fact that it's well written.

 

No Bed for Bacon is good, I just need to have time to circle back to it.  It's an interlibrary loan, so it can't be renewed & I want to get it finished.

 

Shadow Games is actually the most fun of the four, and I'm holding onto the remainder of it as a special treat for finishing the three above.

 

Meanwhile, I'm covered in cat hair--every time I cleaned off this morning, Mr Cat walked by to deposit some more fluff on my pants!  Did I mention that he's diabetic, so I'm giving him insulin shots night & morning?  When he heard my alarm go off this morning, he was immediately outside the bedroom door, yodelling.  It's going to be a long two weeks, folks.

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url 2017-04-13 00:22
Free Download from TOR.com
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.


If you're experiencing technical difficulties, email "ebookclub@tor.com"."

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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