I don't usually write posts about books that I haven't read ALL the way through, but sometimes I think that it's actually helpful to see how your initial impressions match with your whole reading experience. Also, it's helpful to see what a person thinks of the beginning - I mean, will this book capture you from start to finish? Anywho, today I thought that I'd share with you my current reads, Eon by Alison Goodman and The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove.
I also really liked how romance was handled in the duology. Since Eon is actually Eona and Eona is pretending to be a 12 year old boy, there's not much opportunity for romance; if Eon did have a romance with someone at 12, it probably would've been a different book. But the relationships between characters are set for the next book, which then allows for a gradual development of the romance. I loved how gender identity was discussed in Eon. There are a lot of books with cross-dressing girls; rarely is it actually discussed why that girl has to hide herself as a boy and the repercussions of that. Here we got to have Eon(a) unpack how her culture treats her differently as a boy vs. girl, and her own biases about what it means to be female, male, etc. And that's especially challenged in some of the side characters: Ryko, a Shadow Man (aka eunuch) who takes steroids that enhance Sun energy (masculinity), and Lady Dela (a twin soul; a man who dresses as a woman and is accepted to be both - probably simplifying this). It's the rare fantasy that actually discusses the cross-dressing instead of using it to make the character seem more "badass" or give the character the opportunity to have traditionally masculine characteristics.
Wow! This is getting to be long. Okay, well, other things I liked: the cinematic feel of the book (there's a reason why Rites of Passage are what we focus on in so many different books - choosing ceremonies and the like - and man, this book doesn't disappoint on the climax and the dragon choosing ceremony and so many other extremely visual scenes) and the side characters and development of the characters (the emperor can't be touched because of rank; actual development of class rank, and how class rank affects each character! and side characters who have their own stories!). I didn't like the ultimate villain (the quickest way to make a villain is to have them hate difference or be cruel, etc. but the most fascinating villains, to me, are the ones most like the protagonist), the Dillon side plot, and how Eon's disability was handled. But otherwise, wow, I read those books so quickly and just ATE THEM UP.
The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove | Goodreads
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Published by: Viking
You can read my review of The Glass Sentence (book 1) here. You can also read my discussion of Sophia (main character) as a great heroine to follow.
I'm reading this along with Mel at The Daily Prophecy. I've stopped at around page 85. If you haven't read book 1, The Glass Sentence, it's based on the premise of The Great Disruption, a worldwide event that slid the different continents into different ages. We're following Sophia, who lives in New Occident (sort of New England) in the nineteenth century with her explorer uncle, Shadrack, because her parents went on an expedition and never return. Shadrack is kidnapped in The Glass Sentence, and Sophia goes searching after him. In The Golden Specific, Sophia is searching for her parents.
First off, just as Eon had AWESOME world-building and definitely fulfilled the Cultural Iceberg premise, so does The Glass Sentence/The Golden Specific world. SO MANY INVENTIVE DETAILS. For instance, S.E. Grove has created this religion called Nihilimanism (sp.?). Believers think that the world which Sophia and co. live in is the Age of Delusion, and they are trying to restore the Age of Verity, the time from before The Great Disruption. So much love for that creation. In general, I love Grove's discussion of different religions and different ways in which people cope with this HUGE event, and I love how she develops the cultures of each individual place.
I love the characters. Sophia is this wonderful, determined heroine who is often left by herself because the adults around her are dealing with other things or have to work late nights (in The Golden Specific, the latter is true). It actually feels realistic - it's not parents being neglectful, more that jobs can be really demanding and sometimes there isn't time for the kids. So Sophia is forced to be resourceful. The character relationships established from The Glass Sentence are really getting developed in this second book, and the inventive details also apply to the characters. For instance, there's this fixation on a potential villain as having REALLY WHITE TEETH. Has anyone ever seen the episode in Friends with Ross and his white teeth? It's this small detail, yet it's also again something that I think a lot of people would relate to. Teeth can totally creep people out. I don't even know the full details behind the teeth at page 85, and I'm creeped out.
In short, The Golden Specific is promising to be every bit as awesome as its predecessor, The Golden Sentence.
What are you all currently reading? Have you read either of these books? Would love to discuss!