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Book Review: A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry

Book Review: A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry


A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a truly brilliant example of alternative history. Parry managed to stay completely faithful to the persons and events that make up the true history of this time period while deftly adding in the existence of magic and exemplifying how that existence might have impacted the French Revolution and the British fight to abolish the slave trade. Historical figures like William Pitt, William Wilberforce, Toussaint Bréda L’Ouverture, and Maximilien Robespierre are all exquisitely portrayed both as individuals that really existed and fictional characters whose minds were are invited to explore. Parry balanced this contrast beautifully. She could have rewritten history in a way that made it somehow less. She could have stayed so true to history that the narrative felt more like a nonfiction text than a novel. But she did neither of those things. She was able to bridge that divide in a way that both informs and inspires, that encourages both historical curiosity and fantastical imaginings. I’m truly in awe of what she was able to do with this novel.

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Book Review: The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)

Book Review: The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)


The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This entire series has my name written all over it. A plucky, intelligent heroine. Literary references galore. Dry, sharp British humor. An alternate history where every single British citizen is obsessed with the written word to the point of religious zeal. Tongue-in-cheek character names that fit their eponymous charges perfectly. The essential involvement of one of my very favorite classics, Jane Eyre. And yet, for some reason, The Eyre Affair fell a bit flat for me. I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped. However, my hope is that my reading mood will have shifted by the time I continue with the series, and that Thursday’s series will become one of my favorites. It deserves to be.

“Take no heed of her…. She reads a lot of books.”

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Book Review: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

Book Review: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I so wanted to like this book. I appreciate and respect it, but it left me cold.

The enslavement of African Americans in the United States and the horrific ways in which they were treated is one of the two most heinous sins (alongside our treatment of Native Americans) in our national past. I have never been able to fathom how people could treat others as less than human over such a minor difference as skin color. And the fact that these slave owners viewed themselves as good and kind and “Christian” is one of the most appalling and ludicrous things I’ve ever heard. The systematic oppression and abuse of any subset of humanity, whether they are set apart by gender or religion or sexuality or something as simple as a different pigmentation, is so opposed to the teachings of Jesus that I am baffled by how anyone who considers themselves to be one of His followers can possibly rationalize it.

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