Books, September 2017

It was a busy month, so little to report. Stay tuned for a recap of Proof!

The Grand Tour, Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermere

{NOTE: I accidentally wrote this up with August, but I actually finished it in early September. My comments are reproduced from the August page.}

This is book two of three in this series and it continues to be adorable. I love it when magic systems run into consequences of their own properties as a plot driver – in this case, barely-understood or partially lost ancient magic being dug up (sometimes literally) and applied to nefarious ends. This is not a bug of the magic system, but a feature, and one that the authors manipulated nicely to put our heroes in a corner that they barely saw coming. The use of multiple Chekhov’s guns, some of which were set up in the previous book and pay off here, is delightful – I love it when authors take the time and effort to pay attention and use their inventions intentionally.

I wish the authors had taken the time to develop major supporting characters James and Thomas a little more – I understand our narrators are still getting to know them themselves, but Thomas in particular got away with far too much “I can’t tell you for your own good” and other annoyingly exposition-hoarding tropes. But our narrators themselves are just so charming, and their uncompetitive, comfortable, dependable friendship is so delightful. Cecilia’s Venetian misadventure and its consequences down the line were particularly carefully and smartly constructed.

Also, the authors writing not one but three epistolary novels in character together, by literally writing letters back and forth and then stapling it together and calling the publisher, is honestly friendship goals.

Genre: adventure, mystery. Format: (epistolary) novel. Rating: 3/3

Death Comes to Pemberley, PD James

What makes this more than just a fun continuation/spinoff of Pride and Prejudice is the way it spins the original story’s perspective around. While I am entirely in favor of all the Lizzie, all the time, her voice was pretty thoroughly expressed already – instead, we get a continuation story from Darcy’s perspective. This is partly a practical plot issue – Lizzie would have little reason to be involved in a murder trial, and still less to go to bat for Wickham, while Darcy has (admittedly begrudging) reasons to get tangled up in the scenario. As I was reading, I found myself wishing that I had a stronger sense of Darcy’s personality and thought process in the narration… but then I realized that his perspective is quite strong through his actions and thoughts. He’s just an intensely practical and straightforward person, so the line between “Darcy’s thoughts” vs. “the most expedient path to resolving the plot” is a pretty thin one. Also, *I’m* a practical and straightforward person, so I was seeing the choices I would have made unfold in a manner that was so logical to me I barely realized it was a character moment.

Also, [SPOILER] sending Lydia and Wickham to America to give them the less-restrained early 19th century society they deserve, while simultaneously writing them out of the Bennet-Darcy-Bingley clan’s lives permanently save gossipy letters …. genius!

Genre: mystery, historical. Format: novel. Rating : 3/3

One thought on “Books, September 2017

  1. Pingback: A year in books, 2017 – Kaitlyn Casimo

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