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Search tags: young-voracious-reader
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review 2018-01-31 01:22
Meeting changes those that meet
The Word for World is Forest - Ursula K. Le Guin

This was gorgeous and bittersweet take on the clash of cultures, colonization, slavery. I get why it's some people's Le Guin's favorite. I actually finished it the same day I started, it so gripped me (just happened that my connection swallowed my first review and I've been sulking... I mean, one time, ONE, in about fifty, that I do not backup before hitting "post", and of course Murphy says it's the one that fails).

 

I guess it's the amount of win that is packed in so few pages:

 

Davidson being such an archetype of male, white supremacist. He calls himself a "conquistador" like an accolade. His every though chain is like a slap (he's got all the flavors: chauvinistic, racist, dismissive of scholars), and the part that makes it so grotesque is identifying actual, real people in them. Even this gung-ho attitude that he considers heroism, where I could see what passed for badass in westerns and Haggard's novels, and read in context turns into GI fanatism of the Napalm loving type *shudder* The less said about his mental juggling on not considering the natives "human", therefore not slaves, but good to rape the better (the part where it is pointed out that if he does not consider them human then he's indulging in bestialism was fucking awesome).

 

The friendship between Selver and Lyubov. This on-going theme of Le Guin of one single, personal tie across species that changes the tide, bridges culture. The first pebble of the avalanche. The hinting of irrevocable change while Lyubov is worried, right before the camp goes up in flames. The actual naming on the gift exchange scene between Selver and Davidson. The bittersweet knowledge of permanence when Selver says Lyuvob will stay, and so will Davidson. The good with the bad.

 

Real life parallels abound, but it's more than that. It has heart. It makes you think, but at the same time, it makes you feel, and question. I loved it. 

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review 2018-01-26 15:43
Marriage bargains across the sea
The Shuttle - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Like it happened to me with the two previous novels by this author, this book happened to me also. As in, there I was reading, and the gorgeous writing caught me and carried me through the pages.

 

The starting issue is difficult to read and heartbreaking. Mixing of cultures, a despicable man and a sweet, naive girl. Reading Nigel's though process was forever icky, and, like I mentioned in some progress update, an abridged manual for abusers. It is startling and scary how accurate many of his observations on human behavior are, and how he uses normal expectations and disbelief as a refuge in audacity (at one point he observes how he's being over-the-top in his villainy, and how it's to his advantage, because who would believe such a discourse happened in real life).

 

Once Betty enters the stage to stay, it becomes more like the standard Hodgson Burnett fare. Much like Sarah Crewe, she's a plucky, resourceful angel. It's one of those unbelievable characters that one still can't help but love and be charmed by.

 

It is a lovely book that tackles a thorny issue in a somewhat rosy but insightful way, and I liked it very much.

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review 2018-01-10 02:45
Coming of age sci-fi
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle

I'm rating this what I think my 12 years old me would have, because adult me has issues.

 

What was touched upon that I loved:

 

  • How structured education can grind on an, as Calvin calls it, uneven child.
  • That moment of realization where we find out that parents are not omnipotent, and the subsequent time were we resent them for not living up to that expectation.
  • Being equals and being the same are two different things.
  • Siblings love.

 

Talking generally, I really liked the descriptions. Very vivid.

 

My adult hang-up: More or less the same as with Narnia, though thankfully not as egregious. The religious undertones I could well have done without (hell, the three Mrs. could well be placeholders for the holy trinity, one not being corporeal, one good at communicating, one coming as quotes). I'd demote half a star for that today.

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review 2017-12-28 10:11
Sweet, simple and hopeful
Planet of Exile - Ursula K. Le Guin

More of a Rocannon flavor than The Dispossessed, in that it's more of a gorgeous and bittersweet cross between sci-fy, fantasy and adventure than hypothetical worlds heavy in social commentary (not to say any asides are completely absent).

 

Which in checking makes sense, since Rocannon is the first on the saga, and this the second.

 

I maintain Left Hand as my favorite (it strikes that perfect balance for me), but I enjoyed the simple but lovely story a lot. And it has another perfectly awesome introduction.

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review 2017-10-10 03:03
Part good, part meh
The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury

A fantasy romp through a narrow selection of death-cellebrating traditions. 12ish feels like the target audience aim.

 

I saw somewhere being said this is to Halloween what a Christmass Charol is to Yule. Well...

 

While I really liked some passages here and there (specially all those Oh, so grim rhymes), it was altogether too hazy and weird for me. I can enjoy weird, but this time I just kept loosing the thread in the story. Charol is still better.

 

 

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