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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-08 09:18
Subject: #259 Jo Clayton: Wild Magic (Wild Magic #1)
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Tags:books, reviews
Jo Clayton: Wild Magic (Wild Magic #1)

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Daw Books (Dec 1991)
ISBN-10: 0886774969
ISBN-13: 978-0886774967
Category(ies): Fantasy

I'd not encountered Clayton before when I read this book, and I wasn't sure what to expect.

This is a first in a trilogy, apparently set in a universe she's already used before. The structure comprises three strands of story wound together: in the first, we have the God Dance, in which the Bee Goddess and the Forge God enact a dance of opposition to each other; the second has the Sybil, watching from afar, seeing what is going on; and the third is the main story, as the earthly agents of the two deities - one a girl, Faan, who was kidnapped as a baby, the other an ascetic former soldier - act out this opposition, an opposition between a dour desert-based religion and one supposedly of fruitfulness and enjoyment. In the end, the agents themselves are the unwilling victims.

The setting is a sketched generic-fantasy background, somewhere after feudalism, but before high technology. One interesting feature is that Reyna, the ambiguously-gendered person who found and adopted Faan, is effectively a transsexual prostitute, which is a rather unusal occupation for a character who occasionally gets the PoV.

This book worked well for me. The story isn't left incomplete at the end, so it's not one of those series which is actually one book in multiple volumes, and the underlying message (that the world would be better without gods meddling) is brought through fairly subtly. So, all in all, enjoyable, if different.
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sphyg
User: sphyg
Date: 2008-05-08 08:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
While I remember, thank you for your book reviews. I enjoy them and they're useful. I keep meaning to write my own, but lack brain.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-08 08:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
No problem.

Every now and then, one will spark off an interesting conversation, which is nice. Or someone will point out something I'd missed. However I write them for my own enjoyment, and to be able to remember a bit more about them when I look back on them in the future. They're certainly not done to professional standard (when I read some professional-level reviews, I just stand back and admire), but I do try to get a bit beyond "This book contained this. And I like it". That makes me think a bit more, which can bring a bit more enjoyment out of it. In the end, I read for enjoyment, and I pick books I hope I will enjoy.
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Ian
User: liasbluestone
Date: 2008-05-08 09:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hear hear. When we wanted to get half a dozen new books to take on holiday last year (it's useful that we all read the same stuff), guess where we looked first for inspiration...

I actually can't thank him enough for the review which made us buy "The Lies of Locke Lamora". It's one of the best books we've bought in a very long time.

Or, indeed, for making me read "Girl Genius", though I do that online.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-05-08 09:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Now I'm blushing.

Girl Genius is one of my daily thrice weekly reads. However, you may be interested to know that I have two packages by my left knee (well, five in total, but two in particular) that contain Phil Foglio stuff.

As for Lynch - he's one of those shooting stars of a writer who seems to burst onto the scene from nowhere as a full grown outright talent. Some of that is freshness, which is very close to originality in its appearance. We will have to wait a bit before we see if he has the ability to tell different stories, or whether he'll get trapped into a subgenre of his own.

(One of the great things about autopope is that he's got a whole set of different styles he can make work, from standalones like Saturn's Children (definite buy material) and Glasshouse through to the Laundry tales, or the Merchants War series (4.9 books so far, not yet finished).)
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Ian
User: liasbluestone
Date: 2008-05-08 12:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Some of that is freshness, which is very close to originality in its appearance.
Yes, it wasn't as obviously derivative as most fantasy is. I particularly enjoyed the characterisation though. The way he paints his characters put me in mind of Ray Feist, or Guy Gavriel Kay.

I must read autopope's stuff. I have an e-book of "Accelerando" somewhere, I guess that would be a good start.
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