jump to navigation

Review – Glamour in Glass May 10, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Fantasy.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

TitleGlamour in Glass

Author: Mary Robinette Kowal

Genre: Fantasy/Regency/Romance

Publisher: Tor Books

Publish date: April 10, 2012 (1 edition)

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

If you have not read Book One then do not read the blurb of Book Two or the review below because it contains spoilers.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison . . . and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country’s war.

If anything, the second book in the series is better then the first. There’s more action. There’s more romance of a different kind. There’s more adventure.

Jane proves to be of very stern stuff when she attempts to rescue Vincent. She does bend but she does not break.  In the time before his arrest, their marriage undergoes some strain and again her strength comes to play.

What I really liked about this book was how glamour played a more interesting role. Vincent and Jane endeavor to record glamours in glass, thus the title. It’s never been done before so they’re pioneers in the field. Glamour also ends up having some practical usage in the end instead of being purely decorative.

Vincent is learning to treat Jane as an equal partner in all things. I really liked seeing that. Jane helps him with his glamurals which are constructs of glamours. She helps build them and she helps with the design. He’s still used to working on his own and he makes quite a few mistakes, but he values her as a partner and it shows. I don’t think you make the transition from being a bachelor and working alone to being married with a working partner without some gaffes.

I think what I liked most about this book was that it didn’t have a suger-coated ending. It ended in a very realistic way. My biggest disappointment was that there wasn’t another book waiting for me when I was finished.

Review – Shades of Milk and Honey May 9, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Fantasy.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Title:  Shades of Milk and Honey

Author:  Mary Robinette Kowal

Genre: Fantasy/Regency/Romance

Publisher:  Tor Books

Publish Date:  August 3, 2010 (1st Edition)

Available at:  AmazonBarnes and Noble

In Kowal’s quasi-Regency fantasy debut, plain Miss Jane Ellsworth envies her sister’s looks, while flighty Melody envies Jane’s talent with magical glamour. Rude, mysterious Mr. Vincent, a brilliant glamour artist hired to create living murals in a nearby mansion, shows little interest in the niceties of society, and none (it seems) in Jane. As Jane shyly seeks Mr. Vincent’s tutelage and approval, Melody pursues a disastrous romance. A sprinkling of Jane Austen’s idiosyncratic spellings (shew, teaze, etc.) doesn’t hide the lack of her trenchant wit or distinctive characters, and period errors abound. Despite the tremendous potential in the magical manipulation of light and temperature, glamour is used solely for decoration and entertainment, with implausibly little effect on history or culture. The story plods at a wooden pace until the climax, which achieves a sprightly comedy-of-errors froth.

One satisfying part of the book was that I was left guessing who Jane was going to marry. Another satisfying part of the book was Jane’s wit and intelligence. She was no simpering maiden. Her distinctive personality was a delight for me.

The relationships she had between such people as her sister and her neighbor, Mr. Dunkirk’s sister Beth, showed a sensitivity that was admirable. To be sure she was only human and she had her moments of pettiness, but they were few and far between. Her good nature and the way she undervalued herself over others made me feel for her.

That’s not to say she was a wallflower. She had a forthright character with forceful opinions that she wasn’t afraid to put out. I applauded her when she put certain buffoons in their place.

Unlike certain Regency novels, this one wasn’t colorless and muted. This novel had a vibrancy that I appreciated. The glamour used by Jane and the other characters added to the appeal of the book. It was a novel way to further animate the book.

I was delighted to find out that book two was out and I immediately started in on it. The review of that book will soon follow.