the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Ellen Kushner’ Category

The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner (a Riverside novel)

published in 2006

where I got it: purchased new

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Fifteen to twenty years after the events of Swordspoint: Alec is now the Duke Tremontaine, Richard St. Vier is nowhere to be found, and old grudges are still burning. But on the bright side, Riverside is slightly safer.

 

Seemingly out of the blue, Duke Tremontaine sends for his niece Katherine. She is to live with him for six months, and have no contact with her mother and brothers during that time.

 

Katherine, raised at her family’s country estate, is expectedly naive. And why she know anything about the outside world? She’s been raised as a young lady of quality, given the tools she needs to secure a proper marriage. Titles and marriages however, do not guarantee financial stability, and Katherine spends much of her time identifying what can be sold for cash and hemming her own clothing.   Even so, she still dreams of visiting the city, having a season full of lace and dresses and balls and then getting married to someone who loves her. This is what she’s been raised to expect and look forward to because no one has told her otherwise.

 

Your assumptions? I see them. Observe, as Ellen Kushner smashes them into itty bitty pieces.

 

When Katherine arrives at the Duke’s home, she finds only men’s clothing waiting for her,  her uncle’s strange, strange friends, and daily fencing lessons.  Indeed, there is a reason Tremontaine is known as The Mad Duke.  Within a week of arriving in the city, Katherine realizes fencing lessons aren’t that terrible; befriends Artemesia Fitz-Levi , the daughter of a well placed family; and learns that tromping around town in men’s clothes comes with social consequences. Within a month, she’s learned to ignore the names people call her, been befriended by the Duke’s young valet Marcus, learned something is very fishy with Artemesia’s cousin Lucius Perry who seems to have a secret life, and that Duke Tremontaine is much more than the local libertine, when it comes to subverting expectations.

 

Thus begins Katherine’s 6 month whirlwind tour of how the world really works, leave your innocence at the door, thank you very much.

Read the rest of this entry »

something old and something new,

something borrowed and something, umm, not blue.

Here are some recent goodies purchased, borrowed, and otherwise acquired:

oh wait, look! There is something blue!

All blurbs are yanked from Amazon. We’ve got:

The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman – a not quite sequel to Kushner’s Swordspoint (which I adored), The Fall of the Kings takes place in the same world but follows different characters. It promises sword fights, intrigue, strumpets, witty repartee, and probably some damn good drama.:

This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner’s cult-classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself–and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it….

Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown – It’s super shiny cuz it’s a library book.   I’m about half way through, and so far the plot feels like a traditional fantasy, but with some added complications of racism, religious propaganda and secret societies.  There’s some neat magic here, so I’m curious to see how the author wraps it all up:

Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person’s life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal days from man and beast, know the secrets of this power.

Now a being of awesome power, whose Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle, feeding on their souls, has arisen in secret. And her monstrous, murderous pawn, a soul-bound creature created of wood and grass and rock roams the land. A massive and mis-directed hunt for soul-eaters is launched and Talen finds himself a target.  Trapped in a web of lies and secrets, Talen must identify his true enemy before the new Mother takes back what is rightfully hers.

Cast in Shadow, by Michelle Sagara – After meeting Ms. Sagara at ConFusion in January,  I knew I needed to start her Elantra series, so when I saw this copy at the used bookstore, I grabbed it! Like, I didn’t want to let go of it long enough for the lady at the counter to ring it up!  It looks to be some nice and edgy urban fantasy thriller/mystery:

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowingthat something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin.…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders…and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!

Also:

Read the rest of this entry »

The rules for my “best of” post were simple: I had to have read and reviewed the book in 2011, and it couldn’t be a reread (otherwise this list would taken over by Lynch, Powers, Brust, and others).

In no particular order (saving me the impossible task of choosing my utmost favorites), here are my top reads of the last 12 months. I’m surprised so many of them are new-ish books, as that wasn’t really part of the plan. Enjoy the little teaser then click on the title for the full review.

Grey by Jon Armstrong (2007)  frantic, insane, completely over the top, hilarious, refreshing, and at times completely sick.  This is dystopia like you’ve never read before. This is body modification and mortification, life imitating art to the nth degree, and performance art like you’ve never imagined. This is fashion punk.

The Third Section by Jasper Kent (2011) The third in Kent’s Danilov Quintet, one of the most brilliantly frightening books I have ever read, and brimming with betrayals and violence, seductions and patience, this is the series you’ve been waiting for if you prefer your vampire fiction to be more Bram Stoker than sparkly.

Read the rest of this entry »

Swordspoint, by Ellen Kushner

published in 2003

where I got it: library

.

.

.

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Quite often I’ll run into a review where someone finds a book “effortless”.  I never really knew what that meant, until now. Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, a story that is both a typical fantasy and as far from typical as one can get is a book that doesn’t feel like a book. I don’t know how else to explain it.  I would pick Swordspoint up planning to only read for a half hour or so, the next thing I knew two hours had gone by and I was half finished with it, to my dismay leaving less and less of it remaining for me to enjoy. Even in the scenes where death is quite completely on the line, where Richard is fighting for his life or for Alec’s, when Alec is desperately trying to slowly kill himself through drink, drugs or stupidity, the story feels light, readable, addictive: absolutely effortless.  With a plotline that’s easy to get into, and brimming with all my favorite guilty pleasures: swordplay, banter, revenge, and sensuality, Swordspoint is truly unforgettable.

Read the rest of this entry »


About this redhead, etc.

Redhead is a snarky, non-politically correct 30-something who reviews mostly science fiction and fantasy and talks about all sorts of other fun scifi and fantasy geekery. She once wrote a haiku that included the word triskaidekaphobia.

This blog contains adult language and strong opinions. The best way to contact her outside of this blog is twitter, where she is @redhead5318 .

2013 Hugo Awards

Looking for my reviews of the Hugo winners and nominees? Save time. Click here.

Bookstore Bookblogger Connection

You're a book blogger too? Or a Bookseller? Come get involved in a wonderful new project Bookstore Bookblogger Connection!

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 997 other followers

2013 Sci-Fi Experience

Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along

Vintage SF

Local Friends

Categories

FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.