Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review:: Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Title: Shades of Milk and Honey
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Glamourist Histories, #1
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

I think I'm less angry at this book than disappointed. I went in expecting Jane Austen + magic and ended up really getting neither. While it is a Regency novel, and Kowal works towards Austen's style, much of the charm and all of the wit is missing. And the magic serves no real purpose in the world or the novel. It doesn't feel shoved in, but it does leave me a bit perplexed.
So why couldn't I put this book down? I can't exactly explain it.

It certainly wasn't the characters. They were flat and unlikeable... all of them. I couldn't get behind the protagonist, considering she's pretty much just as awful as the rest of them. And not in an endearing way.

It certainly wasn't the writing. I generally don't like random period spelling for no good reason (I forgive you, Jonathon Strange & Mr Norrell), but inconsistent archaic spelling is even worse. But whevs. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is super dry prose that doesn't offer up anything in return.

It certainly wasn't the magic. Like I said, it offered absolutely nothing to the story, which makes me wonder why not just write historical fiction? I guess because Jane Austen + magic. It's like that adage, though. You don't want to just stick gears on a story and call it steampunk. Or in this case, you don't just want to throw magic at a story and call it fantasy. Let it be fantasy to the core.

It certainly wasn't the plot, which was rather predictable if you've read any Jane Austen.

I just don't understand. See, as I would read the book, I'd like it. But once I'd stop for a moment, I'd question what I was doing with my life.

Let's call it the pacing. The pacing is actually really well done in this book.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is pretty much how I reacted the first time. I don't know why I got along better with it the second time!