Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Except the Queen, Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder

I love this.

It's really good. And really different from the way I think most fantasy is structured.

The main characters are Sparrow and Robin, but unlike most fantasies, it's all told from the point of view of two sisters who stumble into Sparrow and Robins life.

Let me back up here...

Serena and Meteora are sisters and fairies. The catch the Queen in a *ahem* compromising position - she's gettin' busy with a mortal. The manage to keep the secret for a while, but eventually Meteora spills the beans. By accident, sure, but she's always struggled with keeping it a secret anyway.

The Queen finds out who "sullied" her name, and banishes the sisters to the mortal world. Serena to NYC and Meteora to Milwaukee. Their journeys bring them in contact with the main characters. Serena meets Robin while his band is playing in the park. Meteora lives in Baba Yaga's house with Sparrow.

Sparrow is an emo chick who's had a really rough life. She only vaguely remembers her mother and her father was abusive in every sense of the word. She's been on the run ever since - she knows she's different.

Robin is (obviously) a musician. Unfortunately for him, he knows exactly who his parents are. He loved him mom, who was raped and destroyed by this father, Red Cap. If you're unfamiliar with Red Cap, he kills innocents and soaks his cap in their blood, making it a red cap. He's part of the Unseelie Court. Robin isn't, he's not deemed worthy. His father treats him as a dog. Literally.

Serena sends Robin to Meteora once they realize something bigger than their own banishment and misery is going on. Robin and Sparrow fall in love obviously, and defeat the Unseelie hoards. :)

So, I liked it for a few reasons. As I said, I like that we meet and get to know the main characters through the perceptions of periphery characters (the sisters). I also like that it's a single book. It took some getting used to actually. It moved so fast! I feel like most authors would have made this kind of story a trilogy at the least. I liked not having to wait to see what happened - just turn the page! :)

Something I didn't like: the sisters names. So, I've told you their names were Serena and Meteora, but names have power and they don't want to use them in the human world. Serena becomes Mabel, and Meteora becomes Sophia. It gets a little confusing, especially when they just start using their initials. It certainly doesn't diminish the story, it just kind of takes you out of it while you try to figure out who's talking.

Also, let me go back to the Queen's sullied name thing. The books makes a nice point about how women's sexuality is frowned upon. There's talk about how she needs to be pure and what not. Now, ok, to be fair, sexuality is just fine for the sisters, but I think that goes to the point. The sisters can have sex with whoever they want because they're not "important" like the Queen. There's even a part where Sparrow and Robin are about to have sex in the garden, and Meteora and her special friend, Jack, literally stumble across them. Sparrow freaks and feels ashamed, even isolates herself. I liked the attention drawn to this aspect of inequality - it's an especially important one because it's difficult to differentiate between being sexually liberated and being objectified. There are differences, of course, it's just that most people aren't sure what they are. Just look at the "Blurred Lines" controversy.

One last thing, it's a very...quiet book. There's not a lot of action sequences or anything like that. Like I said, it moves quickly, it's just not really active, if that makes sense.

I would absolutely advise anyone to read this! It was really good, and really different. Highly recommended.

Except the Queen, Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder

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