The Ruby in the Smoke, Book One of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart series, never gained the same fame as The Golden Compass and the rest of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, perhaps for good reason. It’s a cute story but doesn’t have quite the magical draw of epic world-building that bolsters his other works. From a feminist perspective, I appreciated the feisty female protagonist who demonstrates math skills and business acumen, but on an intersectional level, the book fails. The novel is meant to be a treatise against opium and the role England played in encouraging the opium industry, but it is rife with simplistic or downright racist depictions of Asians and the East. Continue reading Book Review: Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke
The Queen of the Night is full of historically-based characters, intrigue, mystery, romance and a continent-spanning story, years in the telling. It’s about a young woman with the voice of an angel who loses her family and home, only to persevere through war, myriad and various hardships and calamity to eventually become a star of the French opera. Personally, that’s a pretty compelling basis for a story, or at least that’s what I thought at the outset of Alexander Chee‘s drama.
Regrettably, TQotN is beset by numerous issues that Chee’s beautifully-descriptive prose simply isn’t able to assuage as the story progresses– well, ambles along would, frankly, be a more accurate description.
Calling all goths and steampunks: I’ve found the latest 19th-century murder mystery to appeal to your historical little hearts. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly takes place in turn-of-the-century New York City, where Jo Montfort is being groomed to be the perfect high-society lady. Yet Jo wants more to life than marrying the rich and handsome Bram Aldrich as her family expects her to. She would rather be a reporter, although she knows that is hardly a suitable occupation for a well-bred lady. But when her father dies under dubious circumstances, Jo’s penchant for exposing the truth gets personal. Full of action, romance, a little grave-digging, and strong feminist themes, These Shallow Graves is definitely a worth-while read. Continue reading Book Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Garth Nix, famed author of the instant fantasy classic Sabriel and its successors, has a new book coming out this month, and it’s not what you’d expect. Newt’s Emerald is a young adult regency romance full of clever disguises, powerful magic, daring rescues, and surprising secrets. Lady Truthful Newington is a restless country aristocrat who gets a chance at adventure when a precious family heirloom is stolen on her eighteenth birthday. Truthful goes to London in pursuit of the gem, where she dresses like a man with the aid of her Great-aunt Ermintrude and a bewitched mustache in order to move freely around the city. But Truthful isn’t the only one in London who isn’t who she says she is. Continue reading Review: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
You may be familiar with Melissa Marr from her bestselling Wicked Lovely series, which topped my list of must-read modern faerie tales. Or perhaps you’ve heard of her adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. Whether you’ve read her before or not, you need to check out her latest book, Made For You, which came out in September. In a departure from her usual fantasy genre, Marr chose instead to make her contribution to the small but growing pool of YA Southern Gothic literature. Continue reading Melissa Marr’s Made for You is Made to Give You Chills
What would you do if a loved one with whom you’re accustomed to communicating on a regular basis suddenly seemed to drop-off the face of the Earth, with your last correspondence before she or he disappeared being only a banal, dismissive text message?
For Colleen Mitchell, it means leaving her comfortable life in Massachusetts to travel halfway across the country to the small, frozen, oil-mining town of Lawton, North Dakota in search of her son, and, in the process, teaming-up with Shay Capparelli, a tenacious single mother from California who’s, unfortunately, in the very same situation.
Welcome to The Missing Place, by Sophie Littlefield.
Do you like to watch real-life mystery, crime and forensic programs, or are you a fan of any number of serialized, fictional television shows that rely heavily on crime scene and forensic investigation? Does the name Frances Glessner Lee ring any bells for you? Yes? Awesome! No? Well, it didn’t for me, either, until I watched a fascinating little documentary called Of Dolls & Murder.
You might now be wondering exactly how it is that Glessner Lee fits into the world of art and design, but all one must do is take a look at part of her legacy—a collection of 18 or 19 (sources differ as to the actual number) dollhouse-like dioramas, diminutive masterpieces known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death— to realize that not only was this woman a visionary who was ahead of her time while challenging the male-dominated world of police work and crime-solving, but that she was also an artisan in her own respect.
As you may be aware, July 31st is a very special day – the birthday of both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. We here at The Daily Geekette plan to honor them by hosting a whole week of HP-related posts, beginning on Friday the 25th. I’m kicking it off a little early to recommend some reads that will enhance your understanding of the Harry Potter series and get you psyched for HP week.