An interestingly critical (in the taking-apart sense, not the negative sense) review from GeeklyInc that left me with the Happy Writer sensation of â€œyeah, you got it, go me.â€ :-) Â And today, when I’m feeling low-energy and low-enthusiasm, this kept me from pulling the covers over my head and calling in out-of-everything.
Excerpting some of my favorite bitsâ€¦
â€œâ€¦. It was a wise choice to play on the eeriness of all that wide-open sky and endless open road: this book will make an agoraphobic of you before itâ€™s done, and make you fear magic as much as you might enjoy it.
The magic system here isnâ€™t Sandersonian, aka with prerequisites in engineering or linguistics. Itâ€™s more of the kind of magic Iâ€™d actually call magicâ€“not a science with repeatable, testable results, but the bastard offspring of instinct, feeling, and ritualâ€¦.
Accomplishing that kind of magic without making it seem foolish requires some top-notch writing, and Gilman delivers. The prose is evocative without being purple and the dialogue is period-appropriate without being hokey. Hardest of all, Gilman makes me believe that thereâ€™s no romantic yearning on either Isobel or Gabrielâ€™s partâ€“and thank goodness. A well-written romance is fine, but a perfunctory one is hellish, and thereâ€™s nothing more perfunctory than â€œtwo people on a long, hard journey take solace in each other,â€ or, more ickily, â€œmale teacher and female student find common ground.â€ Hooray for Gabriel and Isobel having better things to do, and hooray for the neglected platonic male-female bond.â€