#12hppofxmas Day 5

Ok, so my inability to find time to blog continues because I'm going to see the new Star Wars movie today, but in the interest of at least catching up on my Year of Reading Women posts, here are some brief thoughts on a couple of books.

Dragon Wing by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

I hadn't read high fantasy in literally years before I picked up this book at my sister's insistence. She's a much bigger fantasy fan than I am, although in recent years she hasn't read as much of it as usual either. In any case, this book partly reminded me why I don't read very much high fantasy (made up words, feudal systems) but also avoided a lot of the tropes that made me quit the genre (the Chosen One narrative). I wasn't blown away, but my curiosity was definitely piqued for the next book, seeing as this series involves not just one, but many different kinds of settings. The plot is fairly complex and would be hard to summarize here, but suffice to say that it involves an assassin hired to kill a young prince, dwarf rebels, and mysterious higher beings (plus also elves but they have relatively little screen time).

One thing I will note, with respect to the female authorship aspect of this: a woman was involved in writing it, but there were still only two female characters with any real presence in the book (there was a third, but I'm not sure if she ever said a word), and at least one of them had really bizarre characterization. She simpers, is what I'm trying to say, and it's odd.

I'll pick up the next book eventually, though, and hope that things improve.

Alice by Christina Henry

I came close to finishing this book within two days and getting it back to the library on time. Close.

Anyway, Alice in Wonderland is dark already, and I'm not sure why we keep trying to make it darker and grittier. It's the best representation of the dream state in anything I've read (Alice's silencing of a baby's crying by tying it in a knot being the best example). When I picked up Christina Henry's Alice, I think I was hoping for an exploration of madness rather than a journey through a fantasy city filled with rampant sex trafficking. Alice in this case is locked up in an insane asylum after emerging from "the Old City" gibbering and showing signs of having been raped. She lived in the New City but went into the Old City for kicks with her friend Dor, who didn't emerge along with Alice. A man named Hatcher lives in the room next to Alice in the asylum, and after eight years, they become good friends. When the asylum burns down, the two of them escape, and end up on a quest to recapture the Jabberwocky.

The story meanders in order to mention characters from Alice in Wonderland, but a lot of it feels pointless. If I had more time to write this, I'd try to put together some thoughts on the current discussion about fictional depictions of sexual violence (which are all over the place in this book) and whether the gender of the author affects how we perceive those depictions, but I definitely don't have that kind of time right now. I don't think I'll be picking up the sequel.

Page Counts
  • Day 1: 89
  • Day 2: 73
  • Day 3: 173
  • Day 4: 163
  • Day 5: 26
  • Pages/Day Remaining: 97

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