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review 2018-02-05 21:06
A girl and her deep relationship with her cat
Book of a Thousand Days - Shannon Hale

This was lovely and unexpected.

 

Set in a sort of alternate medieval fantasy!Mongolia, it brings to mind classic fairytales with a princess locked in a tower for defying her father's mandate to marry the evil lord of a neighbouring land. Except the hero of the story is neither the resistant princess nor her dashing princely love, but the unsuspecting, dutiful servant girl who accompanies her into exile.

 

Dashti is a mucker, a sort of herding, yurt-living nomad, who heads to the city for a job after her mother and last remaining family member dies. She's trained as a lady's maid because she knows the healing songs of her people. Her first assignment is to the daughter of the khan, but when she shows up for work, her new employer has been deserted by the rest of her staff and is about to be locked up for seven years for refusing a marriage.

 

There's much to love about this book - apparently a 10-year anniversary re-release. Dashti has the kind of slow but significant character arc that is extremely hard to pull off, but entirely convincing and satisfying. She's determined, responsible, and hard-working, and very aware of her low-class status. Her transition from being happy just to be fed and housed to falling in love and learning to want, pursue, and fight for more than she ever thought she deserved is inspiring and natural-seeming.

 

The story is entirely told through Dashti's writing-practice journal entries, a unique perspective that creates an almost delicate-seeming storytelling style. The character experiences are mostly conveyed from the outside, from observations and actions, which can pack more of a punch than a close voice and strong interiority.

 

A poverty-stricken, bottom-of-society, functionally powerless girl saves everyone from her nearest relationships to the country. But don't read it for that. Read it for the amazing healing power of cats, and the story of one girl who's totally, utterly and completely in love with her cat.

 

Lovely read. I'm grabbing everything written by this author to marathon through right now.

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review 2017-10-29 19:31
STARS ABOVE: A Lunar Chronicles Collection (The Lunar Chronicles) - Marissa Meyer

Detailed and insightful background snippets on the main cast and a satisfying look forward into their post-Winter future. Nice supplement to the series, with some moments of emotional catharsis and an astonishing peek behind the world-building scenes.

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review 2017-10-28 16:16
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) - Marissa Meyer

Meyer does an admirable job of pulling this richly woven tale together. Dystopian take-the-castle efforts compose much of the runtime, with more twists and redirects than forward momentum, and a surprising amount of romance tucked in around the edges. The astonishingly creative and deep description continues, exploring the experiences of mentally ill, disabled and oppressed people, the nature of android and machine interactions with humanity, and political alliances. All the character journeys, relationships, motivations and storylines stream together for a big, if not entirely surprising finish that manages to weave in just one more fairytale retelling for a series already chock full.

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review 2017-10-24 22:34
Cress - Marissa Meyer

Another solid middle entry to the series. The multiple viewpoints feel natural, and the plot twists are thick on the ground. Still top marks for world building and telling details in a uniquely creative setting, touching on subjects such as childhood abuse and isolation as well as the nature of humanity. Romance-y stuff and revolution-y stuff all ramping up for the finale. Engaging read.

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review 2017-10-21 21:11
Scarlet - Marissa Meyer

Solid second entry. I was thrown by the first chapter introducing a new character/POV to the series, but it was clever the way the author wove the threads of Little Red Riding Hood into the narrative. Still excellent, deep worldbuilding introducing additional locations, but as a middle book in a series, it didn't feel as fresh as the first, or as gripping as later entries are likely to. Enjoyable read.

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