Review: Barry Hughart – Bridge of Birds

There are books that you love immediately. Then there are books that have to grow on you first but once you like them, they’ll never let you go. This clearly falls into the latter category. I started out not liking it particularly, only to have it charm the pants off me by the end.

bridge of birdsBRIDGE OF BIRDS
by Barry Hughart

Published by: Del Rey, 1984
ISBN: 0345321383
Paperback: 288 pages
Series: The Chronicles of Master Li
and Number Ten Ox #1

My rating: 8/10

First Sentence: I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world.

When the children of his village were struck with a mysterious illness, Number Ten Ox sought a wiseman to save them. He found master Li Kao, a scholar with a slight flaw in his character. Together, they set out to find the Great Root of Power, the only possible cure. The quest led them to a host of truly memorable characters, multiple wonders, incredible adventures – and strange coincidences, which were really not coincidences at all. And it involved them in an ancient crime that still perturbed the serenity of Heaven. Simply and charmingly told, this is a wry tale, a sly tale, and a story of wisdom delightfully askew. Once read, its marvels and beauty will not easily fade from the mind.

dividerMy knowledge of Chinese mythology is entirely based on the two-part movie adaptation of Journey to the West (which is hilarious and wonderful and you should watch). Had I not had this very rudimentary basis of how these traditional, classic tales are told, I would have been terribly lost in this book. It is a combination of whimsical – almost silly – and serious, there is more plot than in many 800-page epic fantasies, the characters are strangely alive, and I found myself enjoying it more and more the longer I read.

We are first introduced to Number Ten Ox and his small village, Ku Fu. Within a few pages, all children between the ages of 8 to 13 are struck with a mysterious sickness that leaves them as in a coma. Number Ten Ox sets out to find a wise man who can help them cure the sickness and figure out how a plague can learn how to count. Master Li, who politely states that “there is a slight flaw in his character” joins Ox and they set out on an adventure. It reads very episodically at first and I missed a lot of depth and descriptions. The characters are archetypical but gain more layers throughout the novel.

chronicles of maste rliThis is one of those books that you have to continue to enjoy. The more I read, the more I got sucked in, and the funnier it was. Master Li and Ox meet a lot of characters – who also begin fairly flat. Again, stick to it because there are twists and suprises waiting along the way. As they make their way through labyrinths and enchanted cities, meet the most expensive woman in the entire world and lift ancient curses, I grew to care for the characters. At the end, I was surprised by how much.

The plot is fast-paced and very tongue-in-cheek. Barry Hughart doesn’t only put a spin on ancient Chinese legends and myths, he even mentions “that Russian fellow” Koschei the Deathless. I am sure I’ve missed more than half the references to mythological beings but even with my very limited knowledge in that area, I dare say even without any knowledge, this book is still simply fun. There are moments of wonder, there is action that kept me at the edge of my seat, and magic of some kind or another waits in every new place the protagonists visit.

quotes grey“The supernatural can be very annoying until one finds the key that transforms it into science,” he observed mildly. “I’m probably imagining complications that don’t exist. Come on, Ox, let’s go out and get killed.”

Because of the light-hearted style and the quick-moving plot, I did feel a little distanced from the story, but it was so refreshing reading a fantasy that is so different from most of the genre. I will continue the trilogy surrounding Master Li and Number Ten Ox without a doubt (I secretly hope that they will meet the Monkey King on their travels) and I can recommend this book wholeheartedly. Don’t expect Tolkienesque descriptions of landscape or George R.R. Martinesque depth of character. Instead, sit down with a nice cup of tea, enter the world of ancient China that never was, and you won’t stop grinning until it’s over.

THE GOOD: A funny, quick, fresh fantasy adventure featuring gods, a wise man with a silght flaw in his character, treasure coves, and flying machines.
THE BAD: It’s not your avarage epic fantasy. Epic in scope, certainly, but journeys are handled within one sentence, and you never get that deep knowledge of the characters that we are used to from modern fantasies.
THE VERDICT: If you’re tired of reading doorstopper novels, if you’re interested in exploring new settings in fantasy, or if you like Journey to the West, this is the book for you. It will make you laugh, it will make you roll your eyes, and it will keep you guessing at its riddles-within-riddles until the very end.

RATING: 8/10  Excellent


The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox:

  1. Bridge of Birds
  2. The Story of the Stone
  3. Eight Skilled Gentlemen

Review: Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Avatar

Hmm… After having read 967 pages fairly quickly, does it still sound convincing when I say I’m not impressed? As much as I loved Kushiel’s Dart, I was already very disappointed with the sequel, Kushiel’s Chosen. Too much travelling, too little plot – it felt like a story merely thought up to showcase the world Jacqueline Carey has built. And so does this third part.

kushiels avatarKUSHIEL’S AVATAR
by Jacqueline Carey

Published by: Tor, 2003
ISBN: 0330420011
Paperback: 967 pages
Series: Kushiel’s Legacy #3

My rating: 6,5/10

First sentence: It ended with a dream.


Ever since Phedre no Delaunay was sold into servitude as a child, her path has taken a strange, and often dangerous course. She has lain with princes and pirate kings and battled a wicked temptress still determined to win the crown at any cost. All this time Phedre has had at her side the devoted swordsman Joscelin, who has never violated the central precept of the angel Cassiel: to protect and serve. Now Phedre’s plans will put his pledge to the ultimate test.

For she has never forgotten her childhood friend Hyacinthe, and has spent ten long years searching for the key to free him from his eternal indenture to the Master of Straits. To redeem Hyacinthe, Phedre and Joscelin embark on a dangerous journey that will carry them to far-off countries where madness reigns, and to confront a power so mighty that none dare speak its name.


Having finally finished this trilogy, the overall story arc has left me rather underwhelmed. I will always love Kushiel’s Dart but there were many things wrong with its sequels.

Most importantly, the novelty has long worn off, Phèdre’s extraordinary gift – feeling sexually aroused by pain – as well as her profession as courtesan, is an old hat by now. We’ve spent almost 2000 pages with her, we know what it means to bear the mark of Kushiel. The romance part was pretty much resolved in the first book except for some force drama in the second novel, and that middle volume did little to resolve the open plot threads. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get some enjoyment out of this novel. Carey’s language is as beautiful and flowery as ever, the world of Terre d’Ange and beyond (far, far beyond) is brimming with life and mythology. Discovering new areas on the map, new religions and cultures was a true pleasure. But the book didn’t need to be anywhere near as long as it is.

Certain scenes (and by “scene” I mean a good 100 pages) were so thrilling that they could have made a story on their own – I would have gladly read a novel entirely devoted to Phèdre’s stay in that harem. Wow! However, most of the novel is spent travelling. We are told in minute detail of everything that happens not only on the journey to a new place but also back. There is no need for that and it was mostly these scenes that stretched the novel to its unnecessary lengths and were quite tiresome to read.

What truly intrigued me about the first novel was the relationship between the characters, the dynamic bond between Phèdre and Joscelin, or her and Hyacinthe, her devotion to Anafiel Delauney, her dangerous attraction to Melisande… I didn’t think I would say that, having grown to hate her, but there was far too little Melisande in Kushiel’s Avatar. The lack of Hyacinthe was felt sorely as well and almost all the new characters – while fully fleshed-out and interesting in their own right – were introduced and dismissed rather fast. They were friends for a short period in Phèdre’s life and didn’t have any longterm impact, like Phèdre’s Boys or Quintilius Rousse, side characters I’ve grown to love. That said, I must mention Imriel who is probably the best thing in this book. I hear the second trilogy set in the same world centers around him – which is why I’ll definitely check those books out.

One thing in particular I have noticed that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Phèdre becomes a major class bitch! Joscelin, his oath still swearing him to protect and serve her, is the truest, most loyal character you can imagine. And Phèdre – while always having good excuses of course – risks his life on numerous occasions, forces him (knowing his oath well enough) into dangerous and terrifying situations, having him follow her around like a dog. And she knows it, too. I used to love her independence and how she showed us that female protagonists can very well exist without a male counterpart – but this went a little too far for my taste. I’m also not sure at all how I feel about Joscelin now for never opening his fucking mouth or simply saying No. Oath or no oath, he should be able (and allowed) to tell his girlfriend that she is going too far… I have been having this discussion in my own head for a long time and it may actually have added to my reading pleasure.

For those curious to find out if it was all worth it in the end: The plot threads left open in books 1 and 2 are resolved, although it felt almost as if that part had been a chore to write, rather than pleasure. As I read this, I got the feeling that Jacqueline Carey simply wanted to explore her own imaginary world. As great as it is, world-building alone does not make a good story. With some editing, as well as tightening of the plot, this could have been a much better book.

dividerTHE GOOD: Beautiful writing, the characters feel real, certain scenes left me at the edge of my seat.

THE BAD: Large parts of the book are simply boring, unnecessary, full of details of travel without furthering the plot (of which there isn’t all too much anyway).

THE VERDICT: I suppose if you’ve come this far, you’ll want to know how it ends. Despite its lengths, this is a good read that showcases the author’s great ability for world-building and character development.

RATING:   6,5/10 – Quite good

The Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy:

  1. Kushiel’s Dart
  2. Kushiel’s Chosen
  3. Kushiel’s Avatar


Guy Gavriel Kay – Tigana

I am huge fan of book-related podcasts and without the Sword & Laser show I probably would have let this book rot on the TBR pile for even longer. Thankfully, it was this month’s pick for their book club and I enjoyed myself immensely. Be sure to check out the discussions on Goodreads as well. For the paranoid ones among you: I shortened the synopsis (as the original one contains some massive spoilers) to a minimum. So this review is absolutely spoiler-free.

by Guy Gavriel Kay

published: Penguin Canada, 1990
ISBN: 0451457765
pages: 673
copy: paperback

my rating: 9,5/10

first sentence: Both moons were high, dimming the light of all but the brightest stars.

Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm, on a world with two moons, have fallen to the warrior sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Brandin’s younger son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, which the grief-stricken sorcerer then destroys. Years later, a small band of survivors, led by Alessan, last prince of Tigana’s royal house, wages psychological warfare, planting seeds for the overthrow of the two tyrants. At the center of these activities are Devin, a gifted young singer, and Catriana, a young woman pursued by suspicions of her family’s guilt.

A book of this size can be daunting, even for the experienced fantasy reader. The prologue started out promising enough, but in chapter 1 I was completely lost. Names are thrown around, political situations gossiped about and me, poor reader, in the middle of it all, not understanding any of it. Then I got some advice from the reading group which I will now pass on to you, dear readers. Just make it to chapter 3 or 4 and the initial confusion will be gone. At that point, this book had its hooks firmly set into me and wouldn’t let them go until the very end.

For me, the perfect novel needs to excel on all levels. Characters and their development, plot, themes, world-building and writing style. Tigana is nearly perfect in all of those. The characters got to me in a way that I haven’t experienced since Robin Hobb’s books. Incidentally, Kay’s style is also somewhat similar to Hobb’s. Attentive Devin, Alessan with his dream, seemingly cold Catriana, and mysterious Baerd each took their own time to become truly interesting but in the end, I cared for every one of them. My favorite character by far was Dianora – I could have read a whole book just about her internal conflict. That said, Erlein also grew to be a favorite – I do have a thing for characters who have to fight conflicts within themselves.

Speaking of conflict: Until the very end, I had no idea what conclusion the story would reach. It could have gone either way and honestly, Kay probably would have pulled either of them off. I am very pleased with the way it did end, even though it was bittersweet and broke my heart a little. Because of all the incredible plot  twists along the way, my hopes for the characters actually changed quite a bit. Kay’s slow revelation of certain truths and other twists that come with a bang managed to create a huge novel without a boring moment in it.

The more I advanced in the story line, the more moments of WTF I can’t believe this just happened came up. And Guy Gavriel Kay drew me into this tale of patriotism and memory and made me fall in love. With the incredible things I had heard about Kay’s writing,  I should have been disappointed. But my high expectations were surpassed, and by far. I came to care about Tigana as if it were my home too.

It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone. If you don’t like Guy Gavriel Kay’s winded language, long descriptions, or if you hate waiting for a particular plotline to pick up again, this is not for you. If you do like these things – or at least don’t mind them – then let me push Tigana your way. It is definitely worth the read and personally, I enjoyed every page of description, of inner conflict and of characters reminiscing and dreaming about a home that has been taken from them and for the moment only lives on in their memories.

However different opinions may be, for me this was an absolute standout. A book that accompanied me for more than a month and that, when I wasn’t reading it, kept me thinking and worried about the characters. Most of all, it constantly kept me guessing. The ending is a highlight that I can’t begin to describe. But I loved that while the reader finds out the truth about certain things, not all of the characters do. And I’m not even going to start about that last sentence. My mouth was agape for about a minute. Guy Gavriel Kay just got catapulted to my top authors (and people say Tigana is one of his not-so-great novels).

THE GOOD: Amazing, vivid characters. Gorgeous language, plot-twists, surprises and action mixed with calmer moments that make you think long and hard about what’s important.
THE BAD: The language is sure to put some people off. It takes a while for the story to pick up and the style is sweeping and flowers. Not for everybody.
THE VERDICT:  Fans of Robin Hobb’s writing will find a new favorite in this story. Similarly epic in scope and style, this story deals with big themes and all-too-human characters that break your heart on every page.

RATING: 9,5/10  Damn close to perfection!

Other reviews:

Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Dart

Patience, young Padawan. Some books take longer to grip you, some even bore and confuse you for 200 pages only to finally tear out your heart and make you feel all the things. Carey’s books don’t start with lots of action, but it pays off to pull through the first few chapters to get to the amazing bits. Personally, I discovered a writer in Carey who may actually rival Robin Hobb.

by Jacqueline Carey

published: Tor Books, 2001
pages: 912
copy: paperback
series:  Kushiel’s Legacy #1
Terre d’Ange #1

my rating: 9/10

first sentence: Lest anyone should suppose that I am a cuckoo’s child, got on the wrong side of the blanket by lusty peasant stock and solt into indenture in a shortfallen season, I may say that I am House-born and reared in the Night Court proper, for all the good it did me.

The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good…and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear. Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.

Do not be put off by the slow beginning of this story. It really pays to push through the first few hundred pages (yes, I know that sounds like a lot) which are filled mostly with the setting up of court intrigues, introducing the world and characters and, most of all, making the readers acquainted with Phèdre, one of the most intriguing heroines I’ve ever read about. I’m not saying the beginning is boring, I just have trouble getting emotionally invested when I don’t fully understand the politics and religion of the setting yet. But, eager learner as I am, once I had a rough idea of how this society and the circles in which Phèdre moves, functions, I was all in. There is one specific event that happens in the book and was a turning point for me (and Phèdre, for that matter). Because starting from that point, there is action almost non-stop, some intrigues become clearer, new ones appear and remain as obscure as they can be.

Guessing what is going on is only half the fun of this novel. The plot, thrilling as it is, pales next to Jacqueline Carey’s writing. Her style is flowery and feminine, and utterly beautiful. She paints pictures with her prose, brings her amazing characters to life – among them a highly interersting villain and Phèdre herself, whose pleasure is derived from pain. That said, there are several scenes in this book that describe sexual encounters. I loved the writing in those scenes as much as the variety of “love-making” that Carey shows. Whether it is Phèdre doing her job as a courtesan, her sleeping with somebody to get to information, or having sex with somebody she truly cares for – we get to see how varied the act itself can be. And how beautifully this land of Terre d’Ange deals with it. Reading this made me wish we could be a little less stuck up and handle sex with similar grace.

I gave away very little of the plot because anything more I could say would spoil your reading pleasure. Be assured, though, that there is much more going on than courtiers talking and Phèdre sleeping with people. There is a very real threat to the kingdom and our heroine is in the thick of it. The map at the beginning of the book will tip you off that not all the story takes place in this make-believe France. There is love, hate, war and torture, deceit and loyalty, sex and adventure. That is all I’m going to say.

THE GOOD: Amazing prose, not your every-day characters, a plot that’s got everything you can think of.
THE BAD: Very slow beginning, I’m sure less patient readers will be put off.
THE VERDICT: A wonderful book that should be read by all those who consider themselves fans of the genre and want a different kind of fantasy.

RATING: 9/10  Truly excellent

Kushiel’s Legacy:

  1. Kushiel’s Dart
  2. Kushiel’s Chosen
  3. Kushiel’s Avatar

Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

This novel’s sheer size may feel a bit daunting at first, but once you’ve started reading you’ll know what to expect. If you don’t like it within the first two chapters, you won’t like it any better later. If you do, however, you have about 1000 pages of pure awesome ahead of you. And trust me, by the end you’ll wish there were more…

by Susanna Clarke

published by: Bloomsbury, 2004
copy: paperback (the red one)

my rating: 9,5/10

first sentence: Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England – until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

If Jane Austen and Charles Dickens had cooperated to write a fantasy novel, this is what would have happened. Susanna Clarke makes the early 19th century come to life with the same wit as any of Austen’s heroines and the same epic scope of some of Dickens’ works. Add to the mix a particularly engaging magic system – that feels a lot like science – and you’ve got yourself a bestseller. I make these comparisons not to diminish Clarke’s work. Quite the opposite, she keeps her own voice throughout the novel and while obviously inspired by these classic authors, this is not a copy or a rip-off. But if you like Austen or Dickens and a fairy tale-like, if somewhat dark, version of magic, then these 1006 pages are truly worth picking up.

While the blurb says as much about the plot as I’m willing to give away, let me just say, this book is about the journey, not the destination. Yes, there are questions that you desperately want answered and there is suspense built up constantly, but simply diving into this alternate England during the Napoleonic Wars, and seeing what Strange and Norrell are up to, was enough for me. I crawled into the book, I found my happy place.

The characters are introduced cleverly and all have their own voice and drive. Mr Norrell especially was outstandingly done. His gruff, secluded self by far prefers the company of books to that of humans or even his fellow magician. His study of magic will remind any college student of sleepless nights, spent pouring over tomes of dry, factual text books. But even that is fun when Susanna Clarkes writes about it. Jonathan Strange, a much more relatable character and in many ways the polar opposite of Norrell, brings balance to the story and gives the reader someone to sympathise with.

Apart from the charming, witty style, what I most enjoyed about this book was the magic. While introduced subtly and not at all epic, there is this underlying tone of magic being much bigger than the reader – or Strange and Norrell, for that matter – dare to believe. Also, the Raven King, the greatest magician of all time, now long gone, was probably the most incredible character I’ve ever read about, if only for the fact that he spends the whole book offstage. Talk about writing skills!

On Susanna Clarke’s homepage, you’ll find adorable interviews of the protagonists on what they think of each other and this novel.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a charming, dark fairy tale with vivid characters, a slow but satisfying plot and a magic all its own. So far, the only fix for fans like me was the short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu which I also recommend. That said, whatever Susanna Clarke writes next, I’m dying to read it.

THE GOOD: Clever, witty, beautiful prose. Incredible characters, a plot of epic scope, and a believable alternate history novel.
THE BAD: If you don’t like the style, it won’t get better. You’ll hate all of it.
THE VERDICT: Highly recommended to lovers of Austen/Dickens and fantasy or anyone who like Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey but want more depth and scope.

MY RATING: 9,5/10  Pretty near perfection

Mary Robinette Kowal – Shades of Milk and Honey

Spätestens seit Susanna Clarkes Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell wissen wir, wie gut sich das 19. Jahrhundert mit Magie vermischen lässt. Während Clarkes Protagonisten männlich waren und ihr Stil ein bisschen an Dickens erinnert hat, versucht sich Mary Robinette Kowal an einem Buch, das sie selbst als “Jane Austen with magic” bezeichnet. (Quelle: der empfehlenswerte Podcast Writing Excuses) Der Jane Austen Teil ist gelungen – vielleicht sogar etwas zu gut…

Deutscher Titel:(noch) nicht erschienen
Erschienen: Juli 2010
Seiten: 304
Erschienen bei: Tor Books

Meine Bewertung: 6,5/10

Erster Satz:The Ellsworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbours in every respect.

Jane Ellsworth ist mit ihren 28 Jahren bereits eine alte Jungfer. Ihre lange Nase und das spitze Kinn haben ihr in der Gesellschaft keinen Ruhm eingebracht, im Gegensatz zu ihrer jüngeren Schwester Melody, einer fröhlichen, etwas zu leidenschaftlichen Schönheit. Jane widmet ihre Zeit daher den schönen Künsten. Dazu gehört neben der Malerei und dem Klavierspiel auch die Magie.
In Mary Robinette Kowals England ist Magie ein natürlicher Bestandteil des täglichen Lebens. Man kann damit Räume verschönern, Gemälde dazu bringen, sich zu bewegen oder eine kühlende Brise erschaffen, die einen stickigen Sommertag erträglicher macht.

Das größte Problem in diesem Roman sind die Charaktere. Kowal bringt das Kunststück fertig, wie Jane Austen zu schreiben. Ihr Stil liest sich flüssig und amüsant. Man könnte meinen, Austens siebten Roman in Händen zu halten. Leider hat sich die Autorin etwas zu sehr auf ihre große Inspirationsquelle gestützt, denn die Geschwister Jane und Melody ähneln den Dashwood Schwestern aus Sense and Sensibility für meinen Geschmack etwas zu sehr. Ebenso beruht die Handlung auf Austens beliebtestem Werk Pride and Prejudice und ist daher für jeden, der diesen Roman gelesen hat, leicht vorhersehbar. Für mich war beim Lesen von Anfang an klar, wer schlussendlich wen heiraten wird und welche Schadtaten hinter wessen Rücken getrieben werden. Das ist natürlich schade, denn der Spannungsbogen hat so gewaltig an Kraft verloren.

Die Magie kommt ebenfalls etwas kurz. Während Kowals Idee und die Umsetzung der Magie in diesem alternativen England gut sind, zeigt sie uns ein bisschen zu wenig davon. Ich habe mich beim Lesen öfter gefragt, ob etwas so Mächtiges wie Magie nicht größere Auswirkungen auf die Gesellschaft haben sollte – so könnten etwa Kühlschränke in jedem Haushalt stehen, die mit magisch erschaffener, kalter Luft gekühlt werden. Doch die Autorin lässt Magie zu einer Kunstform werden, die hauptsächlich für das Dekorieren von Räumen genutzt wird.

Während die männlichen Charaktere großartig und alle – selbst kleinere Nebencharaktere – sehr lebendig beschrieben waren, lasen sich die Damen zu sehr nach Jane Austen (ja, so etwas gibt es wirklich!). Jane und Melodys Mutter gleicht einer dezent weniger nervtötenden Mrs. Bennet, Jane und Melody selbst sind eine Mischung aus Lizzie Bennet und den Dashwood Schwestern. Erst zum Ende hin entwickeln sie ihren eigenen Kopf und verhalten sich wie eigenständige Persönlichkeiten.

Das Ende hielt noch einige positive Überraschungen bereit. Der Spannungsbogen war wieder da und ich konnte das Buch kaum mehr weglegen.
Insgesamt haben die wunderschöne Sprache und die Aussicht auf den zweiten Band mir dieses Buch doch sehr versüßt und machen es zu einem lesenswerten kleinen Ausflug in Jane Austens Welt, wo junge Damen zaubern können müssen, um hohes Ansehen zu erringen.

PRO: Liest sich wahrhaftig wie ein Jane Austen Roman.
CON: Zu wenig eigenständige Ideen, die Auswirkungen der Magie sind etwas unglaubwürdig.
FAZIT: Ein sehr schönes Buch, das vor allem zum Ende hin zeigt, dass die Autorin mehr kann als sie uns hier zeigt. Jane Austen Fans könnten es lieben oder hassen, ich bin jedenfalls höchst gespannt auf Teil 2.

Bewertung: 6,5/10

Infos zu anderen Werken sowie Neuigkeiten zu Folgebänden (vorerst nur Band 2: Glamour in Glass) findet man auf  Mary Robinette Kowals Homepage.

Die Glamourist Histories: