So it was rainy, and dreary, and gross. The weather this weekend was remarkably like that of Prague. Prague happens to be a city in which most of the book I read this weekend takes place. Coincidence? I think not! I controlled the weather via my reading choices! Next time I’ll read a book about fire raining down from the sky and see what happens. Anywho, the book I read this weekend had some fabulous word creation, great mythology, and a heroine who grew on me like a tumor. You hate it at first, then get used to it, then when it is removed you kind of miss it in a weird way.
My reluctantly liked heroine came from a book by Laini Taylor called Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou fills her sketchbooks with picture of monsters that don’t exist, and tells tales of what they do in their far away world. Only, their world isn’t so far away. In fact, it is accessible via a portal just 10 minutes away from her apartment. Karou has always known these monsters, they are her family. They are, in fact, the only part of herself that she is very sure about. But the world is stirring around her, and more creatures are coming out of the woodwork. Is there something more to Brimstone’s tooth business than meets the eye? Is there a reason that scorched handprints have been showing up on all the doors? And who is the stunningly beautiful man who Karou senses following her, and why did he try to kill her?
This book had a heroine who I was sure was going to make me want to hurt myself rather than finish reading about her. I was all set to hate her. And then she had to turn out to be kind of awesome. She never became a blundering wreck, she did not immediately fall for her one true love, and even when she did, she was very reasonable and controlled about the whole thing. Karou had wonderful perks and some great flaws, and I would let her travel by my side if I had to kick some otherworldly angel booty. The romance storyline was wonderfully done and meshed in well with the books mythos and world creation. At no time did I find myself not believing the world that Ms. Taylor was creating, even though it was very far-fetched.
New books are starting to trickle into the Tucker Free Library much like water is slowly trickling into my house. The books, however, are much less likely to cause water damage and are more likely to be awesome. One such awesome book is Blood and Flowers by Penny Blubaugh. I read it this weekend in between wading through that lake that is now my basement. It was just the escape I needed.
Persia is a member of an amazing puppet troupe that performs renegade shows all over the city. Why renegade shows you may ask? Well, it is because members of their puppet troupe are of the fey persuasion and magic is a huge no-no. Too many people tripping on Pixie Dust. The elaborate shows they create are found by a loyal audience, and the rag-tag group of performers is happy working this way. That is until one of the younger members of the group, Persia’s friend Lucia, starts questioning their methods. Lucia escaped from a bad past by crossing over the borders into the realm of the faerie. She wants more people to find the troupe and for their location to be more permanent. With more people, comes more attention, and more problems. Soon malicious gossip is surrounding the troupe and trouble is on the horizon. With all of the gossip that is starting to surround the puppet troupe, escaping into the faerie realm does not sound like a bad idea. But faerie land is not all magic and sunshine, there is a dangerous element lurking there as well. Persia and her friends in the Outlaw Puppet Troupe need to keep on their toes to stay alive in this land, and find themselves wondering if this is a fair price to pay to save their art.
Penny Blubaugh’s writing is wonderful, especially her descriptions and characterizations. Every character has a wonderful depth and meaning that makes it easy to get lost in their stories and really immerse yourself in the world she creates. Persia is a great heroine, strong but not invincible, and the interactions within the puppet troupe are wonderful and believable. I am glad to see a book about the supernatural that does not involve some girl developing a “special power” or tottering helplessly after a boy. This clearly is a story about a rag-tag group of people who have become a family and create together, and no force, be it human or faerie is going to stop them.