Nalo Hopkinson – Brown Girl in the Ring

I love Nalo Hopkinson’s fiction but it’s taken me a while to go back and pick up her first novel. It’s won awards and everything! Having read some of her newer novels, it may not be quite fair, but Brown Girl in the Ring let me down a bit. It has several first-novel problems (puzzle pieces falling into place too neatly, mostly) but already shows what a great writer Hopkinson was to become.

brown girl in the ring

BROWN GIRL IN THE RING
by Nalo Hopkinson

Published by: Aspect, 1998
Ebook: 281 pages
Standalone
My rating: 7/10

First sentence: As soon as he entered the room, Baines blurted out, “We want you to find us a viable human heart, fast.”

The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.
She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.

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Toronto, after the Riots that ruined the inner city, is not a nice place to live. The rich have fled to the suburbs, leaving the inner city to fall apart, ruled by drugs, poverty, and the posse. Ti-Jeanne, a young woman who just had a baby, lives with her grandmother, Mami, but refuses to learn what she wishes to teach her. Mami wants Ti-Jeanne to become a healer like her, to learn about plants and their properties, how to treat wounds and diseases, and how to care for her new baby.

Ti-Jeanne was a difficult character to like and what kept me from taking to her the most was how she treated her baby. She neglects to feed him for extended periods of time, considering he is a new-born. So new-born in fact, that he doesn’t even have a name yet. When he cries, Ti-Jeanne gets annoyed more often than not, and she generally didn’t show the affection I’d expect from a new mother. Now, I know nothing about having a baby but surely hormones make sure that there is some instinct to protect your child. That was completely lacking in Ti-Jeanne. The only thing that girl is sure about is her ex-boyfriend, Tony.

Ti-Jeanne left her drug addict boyfriend Tony when she found out she was pregnant with his child. So far, so responsible. Of course, being responsible doesn’t stop her feelings for him. But Tony is stuck very deep in the posse’s machinations and has to procure a donor heart for a member of government if he doesn’t want to be killed. Posse leader Rudy is capable of horrible things and Tony is desperate, asking Ti-Jeanne and her grandmother for help.

brown girl in the ring2The plot takes a while to get started. When Ti-Jeanne’s grandmother involves her and Tony in a ritual to ask the gods for help, that’s when the story finally kicks off. I loved the use of mythology and magic in this story, because it is not clean magic, the gods aren’t predictable. You may ask one god for help, yet some other god may answer and not be inclined to help you at all. And even when they do, you don’t know how exactly they plan to help you. Ever encounter with the gods, every vision Ti-Jeanne has of the other world, was wonderfully dark and a treasure to read.

Once it becomes clearer just how evil Rudy is and how he became the leader of the posse, the book becomes quite sinister. There is a lot of blood and torture, and many secrets about Ti-Jeanne’s family are revealed. One too many, if you ask me. You can only put in so many plot twists without making them cheap. However, each of these twists is vital to the plot, so I understand why they are there. Ti-Jeanne has to find all her courage and cleverness to save her life and her loved ones, and whether she wants to or not, has to grow up in the process.

I loved the relationship between Ti-Jeanne and her grandmother in this book. Neither is able to express her feelings well (or at all) and yet it is so clear from reading the book that these two care deeply about one another. Ti-Jeanne may be still a child at heart who doesn’t know what she wants in life, but it is obvious that there is a lot of love in their small family. Ti-Jeanne and Tony’s relationship paled in comparison, consisting mostly of lust and passion (which, you know, is good but not enough in my opinion). In the course of the novel, Ti-Jeanne has to work closely with her family in order to save all their lives and it was those moments of pure teamwork that I adored to read.

This is part futuristic mafia-novel, part mythology, and part coming-of-age. The book is quite short and I felt the first half lacked focus, but the second half and the ending make up for those shortcomings. I am left a bit underwhelmed and wanting more, but overall, this quick read is a good introduction to one of the most exciting fantasy writers I know. I just fear it might not be very memorable. I’d recommend reading Midnight Robber instead.

MY RATING: 7/10 – Very good

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Second opinions:

Nalo Hopkinson – Falling in Love with Hominids

Look, I would read anything by Nalo Hopkinson, but that cover is STUNNING! The colors, that woman, her hair, the sketchy art. I want to print a poster of this and put it on my wall. No wonder I jumped at the chance of a review copy. After reading the content – yeah, yeah, I know that’s the important bit – I am once again reminded of Hopkinson’s ability to write amazingly diverse stories, and at the same time a bit worried that her best work is her older stuff…

falling in love with hominidsFALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS
by Nalo Hopkinson

Published by: Tachyon Publications, 11 August 2015
Ebook: 240 pages
Short story collection
My rating: 8/10

First sentence: I didn’t used to like people much.

Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, The Salt Roads, Sister Mine) is an internationally-beloved storyteller. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as having “an imagination that most of us would kill for,” her Afro-Caribbean, Canadian, and American influences shine in truly unique stories that are filled with striking imagery, unlikely beauty, and delightful strangeness.
In this long-awaited collection, Hopkinson continues to expand the boundaries of culture and imagination. Whether she is retelling The Tempest as a new Caribbean myth, filling a shopping mall with unfulfilled ghosts, or herding chickens that occasionally breathe fire, Hopkinson continues to create bold fiction that transcends boundaries and borders.

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Falling in Love With Hominids  was pure delight. I read few short story collections but when I do – despite other plans – I tend to read them like a novel. I don’t read one story, wait a few days, then read the next. I read story after story after story until it’s time to sleep or go to work or, you know, all that other grown-up stuff that gets in the way of reading. This makes it difficult to review single stories because they blur together in my memory, some I don’t remember very well at all, but others stand out.

The collection’s first story “The Easthound” is such a standout story. It first appeared in an anthology called After: Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Tales and that is exactly the kind of story it is. A group of children and young adults fight for survival in a world infested with what I first assumed to be zombies. Hopkinson is more original than that and the focus of the story is not that survival but much more presonal. It reminded me of the YA novel This is Not a Test which attempted to do in 300 pages what Nalo Hopkinson managed much better in one little short story.

My favorite story of the collection was the hilarious, whimsical “Emily Breakfast”. Emily Breakfast is a missing chicken – yes, really. Cranston, a young man goes to pick up fresh eggs for breakfast and notices one of the three chickens is missing. He and his wonderful cat Rose of Sharon go and search for Emily Breakfast. The plot is really simple, but what made this so entertaining was the almost sneaky world-building and the wonderful tone of voice. Yes, a man searching for his missing chicken really can be super entertaining and smart and funny. Oh, this was so funny. I particularly loved Rose of Sharon, who is so very clearly a cat and at the same time definitely not from this world.

Another tale that stuck in my memory is Hopkinson’s take on Shakespeare’s Tempest. In “Shift”, we follow Caliban and Ariel as one tries to lead a free life and the other, while driven by the same motive of freedom, looks to have him imprisoned again. This read like a folktale, or a dream. The distinct voices, the characterisation, the language – everything about this story was magical.

While writing this, I just remembered the heartbreaking “Old Habits”, a ghost story about the people who died in a shopping mall. Not only do they have to come to terms with being dead and having lost their sense of smell, taste, and touch, they also have to relive their death every day, as it occurred. The ending wasn’t really surprising but the journey there was heartbreaking.

The reason I mentioned Hopkinson’s older work being better is that the only previously unpublished story in the collection, “Flying Lessons”, was disappointing, and so short it felt like she had to put it in just to give us something new. I also greatly preferred her older novel Midnight Robber to the Nebula winning Sister Mine. Now that small gripe is out of the way, let me say that I adored almost all of the stories featured here, especially because they are so different in theme and style. Although Nalo Hopkinson mentions in the foreword that the only connecting tissue between these stories is, well, her being their author, I disagree. As varied as the collection is, I believe its stories are also connected by their diversity. Almost all characters are people of color, there were at least three stories featuring queer couples, and several characters with disabilities. Hopkinson also puts a distinct flavor of Caribbean myth in everything she writes and I can’t get enough of it.

Regardless of their publication dates, I preferred the stories featured in the first half of this collection. For some reason, the last few stories just didn’t work for me, perhaps with the exception of Hopkinson’s foray into Bordertown. I had heard about this shared universe before, although I don’t know any of the characters or world-building it’s based on. “Ours is the Prettiest” is Hopkinson’s contribution to Welcome to Bordertown and I believe it speaks for her that I enjoyed the story immensely, despite not knowing Bordertown and its inhabitants. This story served up an interesting twist that had more to do with character than, say, a shocking plot element. Well done, indeed!

Despite the few stories that I didn’t find very memorable and others that I simply disliked – Hopkinson’s twist on Bluebeard could have been executed better and wasn’t very original – the collection overall was just wonderful. Whether she explores strange plants, runaway chickens, shopping mall ghosts, or my favorite story from Unnatural Creatures, “The Smile on the Face”, Hopkinson is one of the most intriguing voices in fantasy and I intend to keep reading whatever she publishes.

MY RATING: 8/10 – Excellent

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Second opinions:

Nalo Hopkinson – Sister Mine

Last year, I was pretty blown away by Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber as well as her short story in Unnatural Creatures. I couldn’t wait to read more by this amazing author, especially anything that involved gods and mojo and a cover as stunning as this one.

sister mineSISTER MINE
by Nalo Hopkinson

Published by:  Grand Central Publishing, 2013
Hardcover: 346 pages
Standalone
My rating: 7/10

First sentence: “Score!” I said to the scruffy grey cat sitting on the building’s loading dock.

We’d had to be cut free of our mother’s womb. She’d never have been able to push the two-headed sport that was me and Abby out the usual way. Abby and I were fused, you see. Conjoined twins. Abby’s head, torso, and left arm protruded from my chest. But here’s the real kicker; Abby had the magic, I didn’t. Far as the Family was concerned, Abby was one of them, though cursed, as I was, with the tragic flaw of mortality.

Now adults, Makeda and Abby still share their childhood home. The surgery to separate the two girls gave Abby a permanent limp, but left Makeda with what feels like an even worse deformity: no mojo. The daughters of a celestial demigod and a human woman, Makeda and Abby were raised by their magical father, the god of growing things–a highly unusual childhood that made them extremely close. Ever since Abby’s magical talent began to develop, though, in the form of an unearthly singing voice, the sisters have become increasingly distant.
Today, Makeda has decided it’s high time to move out and make her own life among the other nonmagical, claypicken humans–after all, she’s one of them. In Cheerful Rest, a run-down warehouse space, Makeda finds exactly what she’s been looking for: an opportunity to live apart from Abby and begin building her own independent life. There’s even a resident band, led by the charismatic (and attractive) building superintendent.
But when her father goes missing, Makeda will have to discover her own talent–and reconcile with Abby–if she’s to have a hope of saving him . .

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This is going to be one of those love/hate reviews. If I were a better organised person, I would split it into two neat parts, but the way my brain works I’ll just throw the good, the bad, and the ugly at you all mixed up. Which is pretty much how this novel works, too.

Makeda’s story starts out with her seeking independence by moving out of the house she has shared with her sister. She moves into a building called Cheerful Rest (yes, really) whose inhabitants aren’t only a pleasure to meet but have so much potential for later. However, all except the attractive Brie are dropped completely. One side character gets to show up once more for a brief cameo but Brie’s bandmates, whom I liked immediately, are never seen again. But I liked Makeda enough to overlook that waste of character potential. Being the daughter of a human mother-turned-seamonster and a celestial (a sort of demigod), her life is far from ordinary. However, when she and her conjoined twin sister Abby were separated at birth, Makeda got two working legs, and Abby got all the magic. You see where this is going.

The two sister eventually grew apart, because jealousy and feelings of inadequacy, etc. I would have loved if this had been the center of the novel. Two sisters who used to be closer than anyone can even imagine, and who have to find a way to grow close again. But here’s the thing: This novel had no focus. It starts with one thing, then jumps into another (and don’t get me wrong, both these things may be awesome), then drops both of them in favor of something completely different.

So we jump from one type of story – Makeda’s coming-of-age, if you will – into another. There is even one chapter that shifts character perspective. One sole chapter right at the beginning of the book introduces a little girl named Naima, whom I loved immediately but who – again – never really shows up after her job in that chapter is done. Then there are infrequent flashbacks that show us Makeda and Abby’s past, that tell the story of when they were born, their first sexual experience with a pair of demigods (and also each other). It all felt very haphazard and just needed some structure.

When their father disappears suddenly, the sisters and their friends must try and find him – so now there is a McGuffin, some sort of red thread to follow. But even on their quest, for lack of a better world, they still seem to forget about it and suddenly Makeda is all about finding her mojo again. If she has any. At random, family truths are revealed, by Abby or the girls’ awesome Uncle Jack. Jack, the god of birth and death and some other things in between, was a fantastic character who gets to show up pretty consistently throughout the book. I was also rather fond of Lars, an inspirited instrument… look again at that book cover. See the guitar? Yeah, that’s Lars.

As great as the ideas were and as much as I loved the writing style, I still don’t quite know what the author wanted to achieve with this book. Is it supposed to be the story of two estranged sister growing up and trusting each other again? It kind of failed in that. I found the bickering and sisterly fights utterly realistic but there weren’t any moments of bonding as far as I’m concerned.  Or was it maybe supposed to be a coming-of-age and coming-into-your-magic story for Makeda? Because that plot also got lost along the way. The growing up part is what started the book, with Makeda thinking about how to pay rent on her burger flipping job. After a while, that doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore and it’s all about I MUST HAVE MOJO TOO – WHAT IS MY MOJO?!

sister mine snippet

There is also a very understated potential romance developing between Makeda and Brie. I quite enjoyed that part because it’s just there on the sidelines and never takes center stage. A smile here, a compliment there… What I did find a bit strange was that Abby and Makeda were once lovers. Or did I read that wrong? Now I would totally dig if either or both of the sisters had been lesbians. Having a foursome with their two celestial god-cousins (who are about 10000 years older than them) – fine, I’ll suspend my disbelief. But having sex with your own sister? Regularly? Uhm… that made me feel uneasy, to say the least. If gods do it (just look at Greek mythology) it’s different than if humans do it.
Apart from that, I loved the way Abby and Makeda deal with sexuality. It’s something they enjoy, there’s no problem in loving more than one person at once, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking straight or queer relationships. But the incest still leaves me queasy.

Add to all of this yet another subplot of switching parts when Abby suddenly loses her voice before a big music show, and you’ve got the crazy melting-pot that is this book. It comes complete with motorcycle chases, flying carpets, and feeding oranges to your polyamorous seamonster mother.
Despite the lack of structure and order, Nalo Hopkinson’s writing style is still exquisite. She gives her characters personality just through the way they speak, her protagonists are Women of Color, people with disabilities, and generally people of all shapes and sizes. As a bonus, she doesn’t shy away from a bit of humor. Uncle Jack made me laugh on more than one occasion, and even Brie gave me a chuckle or two:

Tiny LED bulbs in the sconce lights lining the walls of the entranceway. The sconces themselves were black mesh in the shape of small pouched triangles. “Those seem kind of Martha Stewart for you,” I said, pointing at one of them.
“So I have a gentle side. I made those things out of screen door mesh, though, all manly-like.” He made fake bodybuilder muscles.

The characters and prose have earned all my love but the plot was all over the place. I would have really liked, after this rollercoaster ride, to end up with a bigger picture that makes sense. Instead I got snippets of great story ideas, some of which never got to develop their full potential. I’m still hoping for a spin-off novel about that little girl Naima. The fact that she grew on me so much during the short chapter that she shows up in speaks for Hopkinson’s writing ability.

While it was too chaotic for me, this is still a good book. I look forward to reading more by Hopkinson. I only hope the next novel I pick has more focus.

MY RATING: 7/10  – Still very good

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Other reviews:

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2013

This is my first day back from a week-long holiday and I am drowning in unwritten reviews, half-finished books, and general catching up on Stuff That Happened On the Internet. It’s good to be back! May turned out to be a meager month when it comes to reading, mostly because I started watching Battlestar Galactica and – if you’ve seen the show you will understand this – there was no way I would spend a minute of my free time doing anything other than watching BSG. My Gods, I loved that show. Four season and a movie were over way too fast and I already kind of feel the urge to start over again.

But let’s talk books. Here is what little I managed to read in May 2013:

THE BEST

midnight robber1Nalo Hopkinson – Midnight Robber   8,5/10

After hearing only good things about Nalo Hopkinson, I randomly picked one of her books and was pretty much blown away. Writing this now in June, the themes and language still reverberate and it’s hard to get the book out of my mind. Tan-Tan was a fantastic protagonist and I can’t wait to discover more of Hopkinson’s books. She is immensely gifted, her writing feels fresh and different and utterly fascinating. Please sir, can I have some more?

Catherynne M. Valente – Six-Gun Snow White   8,5/10six gun snow white

By now I know there is no going wrong with Cat Valente. I particularly love this book because it is signed (yay) and beautifully made. The story, while short, pushed all the right buttons and transported a well-known fairytale into a Wild West setting. The pictures she paints with her prose are nothing short of magical and if I weren’t extremely careful with my books, I would have underlined pretty much every other paragraph. Totally worth its 30 Euro price, and then some.

fly by nightFrances Hardinge – Fly By Night  7,5/10

Frances Hardinge has given me hope that YA and children’s fiction has not completely gone to shit. Everything about this book was original. The language, while easy enough to understand, was challenging at times (that’s how you teach people new things, after all, and not just children!), the setting and characters were fully fleshed-out and different from anything I have read in a children’s book before. Hardinge is another author that went right to my must-read-more-of-that list.

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THE WORST

Seeing as I only read four books, the chances were pretty low to come across a terrible one. And I didn’t. Nothing bad in May, other than not reading enough in general.

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THE REST

re Visions: AliceSullivan, Kate (ed.) – (re) Visions: Alice  5/10

A small short story collection set around the original Alice in Wonderland. As with any collection, I didn’t like every story. There was a broad range of  styles and quality. If you want to read about a noir version of Wonderland, meet old friends from Wonderland in real-life London, or see how one person can flee into her own Wonderland because real life deals her nothing but trouble, you may well find something to like in here. The collection also includes Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which was by far the most fun of the stories represented. All in all, the collection left me with a feeling of “meh” but the first short story still sticks in my mind as a lot of fun and very close to Carroll’s nonsensical writingn style.

dividerBooks that followed me to June

Margo Lanagan – The Brides of Rollrock Island (Sea Hearts)
I expected something as breathtaking as Tender Morsels but even a week of holiday and unlimited reading time didn’t make me finish this book. The narrative switches too much between characters and reads more like a short story collection than a novel. I am also missing some of the magic that, in my mind, should be present whenever selkies are involved. That said, the writing is beautiful and some characters’ arcs are truly touching. Maybe the ending will sweep me off my feet (though I doubt it).

Nalo Hopkinson – Midnight Robber

It is entirely thanks to the book blogging community that I have discovered Nalo Hopkinson. I have spent the last few months actively looking for female SFF writers that I didn’t know yet (thanks again to the WWE Women of Genre Fiction Challenge) as well as writers of color, stories about people of color and LBTQ characters. Because, as much as I read, there are very few non-American or non-European writers to be found on my reading lists and I wanted to remedy that. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech also served as an eye-opener and I found it extremely inspiring. There is so much diversity out there and I want to experience it. Nalo Hopkinson and Octavia E. Butler’s names kept coming up and all of their books sounded so good that there was no reason for me to wait any longer discovering them. Thank You, Internet!

midnight robber1MIDNIGHT ROBBER
by Nalo Hopkinson

Published by: Warner Aspect, 2000
ISBN: 0446675601
Paperback: 336 pages
Standalone

My rating: 8,5/10

First sentence: Oho. Like it starting, oui? Don’t be frightened, sweetness; is for the best.

It’s Carnival time, and the Carribean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance and pageantry. Masked “Midnight Robbers” waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. But to young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favourite costume to wear at the festival–until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgivable crime.

Suddenly, both father and daughter are thrust into the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree. Here monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds. Here Tan-Tan must reach into the heart of myth–and become the Robber Queen herself. For only the Robber Queen’s legendary powers can save her life…and set her free.

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Seven-year old Tan-Tan lives on Toussaint, a Caribbean-colonized planet, where she – like everybody else – is connected to the Granny Nanny Web through the nanomites in her blood. Being the daughter of the mayor of Cockpit County, she leads a happy life and wants, more than anything, to play the Robber Queen at the upcoming carnival. But the story doesn’t open with Tan-Tan. We first get to know her father, Antonio, who has his own troubles to deal with. A cheating wife, the constant surveillance of Granny Nanny, the lust for more power. When he catches his wife cheating on him and challenges her lover to a duel, his and Tan-Tan’s lives are about to change forever.

As soon as they arrive on the parallel planet of New Half-Way Tree which is used as a prison colony, the story really starts to kick off. Tan-Tan and Antonio have to learn how to survive in the bush of this new world. The local species, the douen, help them survive their first days and lead them to a human village where they try to make a new life. But as Tan-Tan grows older and starts looking more and more like her mother, Antonio commits a terrible crime that will haunt his daughter and turn her into the real Robber Queen of New Half-Way Tree…

midnight robberaWhen I picked up this book, the first thing I noticed was the language. I had never read anything written in Anglopatwa before and I admit it took a few pages to get used to. But after these few pages, the prose had a beautiful flow to it and told Tan-Tan’s story very organically. If the beginning puts you off, I urge you to keep reading. The style adds a layer of atmosphere to what is already a fantastic story, part science-fiction, part mythological fantasy. Personally, I loved every page and even caught myself thinking in patwa every once in a while. There are French words strewn among the English, the grammar is simplified, but there was never a moment where the language didn’t make perfect sense. It felt so natural that I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

quotes greyOne of oonuh tell me about junjuh mould. It does grow where nothing else can’t catch. When no soil not there, it put roots down in the rock, and all rainwater and river water pound down on it, it does thrive. No matter what you do, it does grow back.

Characterization and world-building are done phenomenally, not through info-dumps, but through action. We are never told how the ‘Nansi Web works but it becomes clear from the context and the interactions between characters and their earbuds. New Half-Way Tree is a whole new world to discover and because it is as new to Tan-Tan as it is to the readers, we are introduced slowly to its secrets. From the human settlements and their basic governments, to the flora and fauna of the place, to the culture of the natives, the douen, everything felt utterly vibrant and alive. It was a pleasure to discover this place! I particularly enjoyed the myth-like stories the narrator tells every once in a while. The origin story of New Half-Way Tree in particular got to me.

It ain’t no magic in do-feh-do,
If you take one, you mus’ give back two

After all this praise, I must say this was a strange reading experience. I would pick up the book, devour page after page, put it away and suddenly lose all urge to continue reading. I would pick it up again, wonder what was wrong with me, how I couldn’t want to read this fantastic book anymore. And so it went for a while. I really can’t tell you why that was. In retrospect, some passages feel a little slow or drawn-out, but while I was reading I couldn’t find fault with the pacing at all. Not a single part of the plot was boring and I did want to know how Tan-Tan’s story continued – so my conclusion is that it is just me. The reason I’m telling you this is simply because, if you feel the same about the book, don’t let it put you off. Continue reading, it really pays off.

Needless to say, I am incredibly happy to have disocvered Nalo Hopkinson. I can see why she is hailed as one of SFF’s best young authors. One thing is certain: This will only be the first of Nalo Hopkinson’s books I read, not only because the language showed me a completely new aspect of SFF fiction but because this book tickled all my soft spots. The mixture of science fiction and fantasy, mythology and survival story, a fantastic female protagonist and a fascinating alien species… I mean, what more can I want? That’s right, a good ending. Until it happened, I had no idea whether this would end well or terribly, and either way would have worked for this story. I found the ending satisfying in its half-open, half-resolved way. In fact, I could not have imagined a better way to end this book.

If you like original, fresh fantasy or science fiction, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

THE GOOD: Great use of language, fantastic characters, beautiful world-building, and a fascinating alien culture.
THE BAD: Said great language may not be for everyone.
THE VERDICT: A highly-recommended book by an incredibly talented writer whose work I’ll certainly continue devouring.

RATING: 8,5/10  –  Absolutely excellent

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