Instead of writing one huge post of all the books I’m looking forward to in 2012 with info on them, I had decided to highlight some of these books in their own posts throughout the rest of 2011. I’ve decided to carry this feature forward into this year as I discover new books coming out this year that sound interesting and continue with books of 2013 as it gets closer to the end of the year.

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

Glamour in Glass is the sequel to Mary Robinette Kowal’s Nebula nominated debut novel, Shades of Milk and Honey. It will be released on April 10 in hardcover and ebook formats. An excerpt from Glamour in Glass is available on Tor.com (please note this page does contain spoilers for the first book).

I’m really curious to see what happens to Jane next after the end of Shades of Milk and Honey (review).  Also, I was delighted to see Mary Robinette Kowal described the sequel as “a little more swashbuckling than the first book” on her FAQs page.

Beware, the following description does contain spoilers for the outcome of the romance in Shades of Milk and Honey!

About Glamour in Glass:

Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison . . . and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country’s war.

Other Books of 2012:

This week I got two cheap bargain books off Amazon. One’s for me and one is for my husband. As of when I’m writing this, there are still a few copies available as bargain books.

The Soul Mirror by Carol BergThe Soul Mirror by Carol Berg

This is the second book in Carol Berg’s latest trilogy, Collegia Magica. The first book is The Spirit Lens, and the third book entitled The Daemon Prism just came out last month.

In spite of having bought it right when it came out, I haven’t yet read the first book in this series. However, Carol Berg is one of my favorite authors and I have such confidence that I’ll like this series that I got the second book anyway when I saw it was about $6 (especially since I was concerned that the trade paperback may not be available by the time I was ready for it and that I might end up with – horror of  horrors – MISMATCHED BOOKS IN A SERIES).

If you haven’t read anything by Carol Berg, I highly recommend her books and think she is an author who deserves to be talked about a lot more than she is. Her Rai-kirah series starting with Transformation is one of my favorite books ever. I also really enjoyed Song of the Beast and loved her Lighthouse duology. Unfortunately, I read most of those before I started a blog and don’t have reviews, but I did review the Lighthouse duology (Flesh and Spirit – #1 | Breath and Bone – #2).

Since I haven’t read book 1, I’m not sure just how spoiler-filled the plot description below for this one is to those who haven’t read the first book. I just skimmed it myself since I’m sure I will have forgotten any important details by the time I read the first book.

By order of His Royal Majesty Philippe de Savin-Journia y Sabria, Anne de Vernase is hereby summoned to attend His Majesty’s Court at Merona…

Anne de Vernase rejoices that she has no talent for magic. Her father’s pursuit of depraved sorcery has left her family in ruins, and he remains at large, convicted of treason and murder by Anne’s own testimony. Now, the tutors at Collegia Seravain inform her that her gifted younger sister has died in a magical accident. It seems but life’s final mockery that cool, distant Portier de Savin-Duplais, the librarian turned royal prosecutor, arrives with the news that the king intends to barter her hand in marriage.

Anne recognizes that the summoning carries implications far beyond a bleak personal future – and they are all about magic. Merona, the royal city, is beset by plagues of rats and birds, and mysterious sinkholes that swallow light and collapse buildings. Whispers of hauntings and illicit necromancy swirl about the queen’s volatile sorcerer. And a murder in the queen’s inner circle convinces Anne that her sister’s death was no accident. With no one to trust but a friend she cannot see, Anne takes up her sister’s magical puzzle, plunging into the midst of a centuries-old rivalry and coming face-to-face with the most dangerous sorcerer in Sabria. His name is Dante.

True Names by Vernor VingeTrue Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier by Vernor Vinge/edited by James Frenkel

This includes a reprint of Vernor Vinge’s story “True Names,” first published in 1981.  The story is about 100 pages long and the rest of the book contains essays about the Internet.

My husband is a huge fan of Vernor Vinge’s (and has reviewed many of his books here) so when I saw this existed and was available around $6 I asked him if he wanted it. Of course, he said yes and that gave me a good excuse he couldn’t complain too much about reason to get Soul Mirror.

Once in a great while a science fiction story is so visionary, yet so close to impending scientific developments that it becomes not only an accurate predictor, but itself the locus for new discoveries and development. True Names by Vernor Vinge, first published in 1981, is such a work.

Here is a feast of articles by computer scientists and journalists on the cutting edge of the field, writing about innovations and developments of the Internet, including, among others:

Danny Hillis: Founder of thinking machines and the first Disney Fellow.

Timothy C. May: former chief scientist at Intel–a major insider in the field of computers and technology.

Marvin Minsky: Cofounder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer: Codevelopers of habitat, the first real computer interactive environment.

Mark Pesce: Cocreator of VRML and the author of the Playful World: How Technology Transforms Our Imagination.

Richard M. Stallman: Research affiliate with MIT; the founder of the Free Software Movement.

 

Yesterday Elizabeth Bear announced that Promethean Age novel #5 will be published. One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King will most likely be released next year! Although it is book 5 in publication order, it is a stand alone novel with part of it taking place long before Blood and Iron and Whiskey and Water and part of it taking place between these two books.

After the first four Promethean Age novels came out, there was a long period of time when Elizabeth Bear wasn’t sure if any of the rest would be published, which made me terribly sad because I really enjoyed the first four and wanted to read more stories set in this world. When I interviewed Elizabeth Bear last year, I asked her about them both because I was hoping maybe there was news about them and because I was curious about the series as a whole and its vast scope, taking place in different locations and different time periods. At the time, they were without a publisher, but she had mentioned that book #5 was written but without a publisher and briefly described it:

 

It’s set in Las Vegas, and has a lot of focus on our modern myths and stories.

That little bit made me desperately want to read it!

Blood and Iron, the first published Promethean Age book, was actually my introduction to Elizabeth Bear’s writing and it’s a special book to me for that reason. Plus I enjoyed it immensely for its gorgeous prose, gray characters, mythology, and subtlety. I am so glad a new book will be released in this setting.

In case you’re unfamiliar with but curious about the Promethean Age books, here are my reviews of the books released so far:

  • Blood and Iron (#1 in publication order)
  • Whiskey and Water (#2 in publication order and a direct sequel to the first book)
  • The Stratford Man (#3 and #4 in publication order but can be read without reading Blood and Iron/Whiskey and Water first)

River Marked is the sixth book in the popular Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. The previous books are in order as follows: Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed, and Silver Borne. The next book is supposed to be released in spring 2013. Briggs also writes a related series with different main characters, Alpha and Omega, that will contain three books with the release of Fair Game next month.

Since this is six books into the series, there will be spoilers for the first five books in this review. If you haven’t read any of the books yet, here’s my review of the first book. This is a series I highly recommend – it’s one of my three favorite urban fantasy series and the first one I really got hooked on back when I was a bit skeptical about how much I’d like the genre. Mercy is also my favorite urban fantasy character because she is so reasonable and practical, yet she also has a sense of humor and lots of personality. Briggs adeptly handles both plot and character development in this series and combines common myths in an interesting way.

Once Mercy and Adam are married, they go on a peaceful honeymoon camping in the wilderness. At least, it was supposed to be peaceful, but life for Mercy is never dull for long.

Stumbling upon a terrified man bleeding in the river leads Mercy to some full-blooded Native Americans, including a mysterious elderly man who seems to know more about Mercy’s father than he’s willing to share with her. As is often the case with mysterious elderly men unwilling to part with vital information, he sends Mercy on a quest to discover what he wants her to know for herself. Mercy discovers more about her Native American heritage and the river devil, a being that devours all it can, and the story of its defeat by Coyote. Once again, the river devil is killing people and it must be stopped – no matter what the cost.

Although River Marked is a little different from the previous books, it’s now one of my personal favorites in the Mercy Thompson series, right behind Iron Kissed. It’s different because most of the regular characters are only present at the beginning and the end and most of the book takes place in the wilderness when Adam and Mercy are just trying to enjoy their honeymoon. It takes a while to get to the main plot since it spends some time on the wedding and then just showing Mercy and Adam together before revealing that all is not right in the woods. In spite of that, I was never bored by it because I enjoyed spending time with Mercy and reading her conversations with other characters. She and the other characters have such wonderful relationships that come alive through their conversations – and are constantly enhanced by a great sense of humor.

What makes this particular installment so wonderful is that Mercy finally learns more about her Native American heritage and her shapeshifting ability. In this novel, Mercy meets some other Native Americans and also has to come to terms with her mixed origins. I think we see more of how this affects her and how she doesn’t quite feel like she belongs anywhere in this novel, but it also doesn’t become driven by overpowering angst since Mercy isn’t the type to dwell on her problems or feel sorry for herself. For instance, after she shares the details of her vision quest involving confrontation with Coyote from years ago with Adam, he asks her if she knows what it meant:

 

“It meant that I’m not Indian enough,” I told him. “I don’t belong anywhere.”

He burned another hot dog while we sat together and watched the flames.

“I think you’re wrong,” he told me, finally. “It didn’t sound like Coyote was rejecting you.”

“He was talking about my coyote half,” I said.

Adam smiled and rocked me a couple of times. “How confusing it must be to have a coyote half, a human half, an Indian half, and a white half.”

I snickered and felt better. It was seldom a good idea to take myself too seriously. [pp. 67]

With the increased focus on Mercy’s Native American half, the plot is heavily focused on Native American culture. I thought this new focus worked quite well, and it also introduced some rather interesting new characters. I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’m not going to name any names, but there was one character in particular who is a new favorite in the series for me. He was incredibly well-written and Briggs illustrated his character wonderfully through dialogue and how he conversed with Mercy.

The stakes are high in this one, and it had quite the exciting ending even if it is slower paced overall. Throughout it all, the highlight continues to be Mercy as a character and this book certainly shows more of what she’s made of. I love how practical she is and how she always seems to be in character. She doesn’t do things that make me wonder why she would do a thing like that, and she has so much personality that comes through her first person narration.

This book also had some great emotional moments, especially Mercy’s wedding – but not for the romance. It was actually the time spent with other characters at the wedding that were most heart-warming, especially Samuel describing the fight between Bran and Zee over who would give her away and Bran’s comment to Adam when he did give her away. Seeing Mercy’s friends and family come together at her wedding and how much they cared about her was a high point. That’s not to say Mercy and Adam aren’t great together, though, because they certainly are. They love each other, but they still have their problems at times and seem like a very realistic couple because of it.

River Marked is more focused on Mercy herself and exploring her Native American heritage than previous books, but I found this to be a very welcome development. It has the same characterization and sense of humor I’ve come to love and expect from the Mercy Thompson series, and I loved the incorporation of Mercy’s cultural roots.

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: I bought it.

Read Chapter One

Reviews of other books in this series:

Other Reviews of River Marked:

This was a very good week. I bought one book that I’ve been looking forward to for a while, and I got 5 review copies that all look wonderful! Half are fantasy, and the other half are science fiction books. Here’s some information on them in case you want to check any of them out.

The Scar by Sergey and Marina DyachenkoThe Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko

This is a translation of a Russian fantasy novel written by a husband and wife. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko are very well-known in Russia and are considered Russia’s equivalent of George R. R. Martin or Philip K. Dick according to the press release that came with my copy of the book. The European Science Fiction Society awarded them as the best Author of Europe, and they have received 80 literary awards for their books and short stories. The Scar was the recipient of the Sword in the Stone award for best fantasy novel. This novel will be released on the US on February 28 and will be available in both hardcover and ebook formats. An excerpt is available on tor.com.

I was really excited when an unexpected copy of this book showed up in my mailbox this week because I have been curious about it since first hearing about it last year. Until seeing the press release that came with it, I didn’t realize just how well received work by the authors was in Europe. Now I’m really excited about reading it! I already had a plan for the next few books to review when this showed up, but I’m hoping maybe I can fit it in sometime over the next month or two.

Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him.

Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.

Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin AhmedThrone of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

The first book in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms series is a debut novel by an author whose short fiction is supposed to be excellent. From what I’ve been hearing, Saladin Ahemed’s first novel is excellent as well. I’ve been hearing so many good things that I actually ordered the hardcover instead of waiting for paperback, and I’m hoping to read it really soon.

Throne of the Crescent Moon is available both in hardcover and ebook formats. The first chapter can be read on the author’s website.

From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince.  In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea.  Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time–and struggle against their own misgivings–to save the life of a vicious despot.  In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

The Silent Tower by Barbara HamblyThe Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly

This is the first book in the Windrose Chronicles and was originally published in the 1980s. Many of Barbara Hambly’s books are unfortunately out of print, but a lot of them came out as ebooks last year. This is one of them, along with Dragonsbane, which I reviewed last year when it was re-released. I loved the fact that the main character Jenny was not a traditional fantasy heroine – not young (she’s 37) or beautiful or a very powerful witch even. It also had a very memorable ending, and I really enjoyed what Hambly did with this story so I’m looking forward to reading more by her.

A sample from The Silent Tower is available on Amazon.

The Silent Tower has two sequels, The Silicon Mage and Dog Wizard. Both of these were also released as ebooks last year.

A wizard and a computer programmer from opposite sides of an interdimensional portal must work together to save their worlds from destruction

In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose—a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions.

On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed.

This Is Not A Game by Walter Jon WilliamsThis Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams

This is the first book about Dagmar Shaw in a near future science fiction series. I’ve read one book by Williams, a space opera called The Praxis (review). I rather enjoyed it so when I was offered the chance to read the latest Dagmar Shaw book, I asked about whether it would stand alone well or not. I was told it was, but the publicist was kind enough to send me all three books in the series to check out. I love the sound of it since I like books about games, and I’ll be reading this one very soon! I’m also excited to read some more science fiction since I haven’t read as much of it the last couple of years. For a while I was reading nearly as much science fiction as fantasy so I’m looking forward to getting some more science fiction mixed in to my reading.

This Is Not a Game is available both as a paperback and ebook (the Kindle version is only $2.99 right now), and a preview can be read on Amazon.

IMAGINE A GAME WITH NO BOUNDARIES – WAITING IN A PARKING LOT, SITTING AT YOUR COMPUTER, WALKING DOWN THE STREET. YOU COULD BE CALLED AT ANY MOMENT – AND YOU’D BETTER BE READY.

THIS IS NOT A GAME.

THIS IS A NOVEL OF GREED, BETRAYAL, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING.

Deep State by Walter Jon WilliamsDeep State by Walter Jon Williams

Deep State is the second book about Dagmar Shaw, following This Is Not a Game. It’s available as a trade paperback and ebook, and a sample can be read on Amazon.

By day Dagmar Shaw orchestrates vast games with millions of players spanning continents. By night, she tries to forget the sound of a city collapsing in flames around her. She tries to forget the faces of her friends as they died in front of her. She tries to forget the blood on her own hands.

But then an old friend approaches Dagmar with a project. The project he pitches is so insane and so ambitious, she can’t possibly say no. But this new venture will lead her from the world of alternate-reality gaming to one even more complex. A world in which the players are soldiers and spies and the name of the game is survival.

The Fourth Wall by Walter Jon WilliamsThe Fourth Wall by Walter Jon Williams

This is the third book about Dagmar Shaw, and it just came out this past week. It’s available in trade paperback and ebook, and the first chapter is available to read online.

Dagmar Shaw got out of the game… and into the movies.

Sean is a washed-up child actor reduced to the lowest dregs of reality television to keep himself afloat. His life was a downward spiral of alcoholism, regret, and failure… until he met Dagmar.

Except Sean has secrets, dark even for the Hollywood treadmill of abuse, addiction, and rehab. And Dagmar is a cipher. There are dark rumors about her past, the places she’s been, the things she was involved in. People tend to die around her and now, she wants Sean for something. A movie, she says, but with her history, who’s to say what her real game is?

 

Shades of Milk and Honey is the debut novel of Mary Robinette Kowal, who had already made a name for herself before its release with her short fiction. By the time this novel came out, she had already won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008 and been nominated for a Hugo Award in 2009. The recognition of Kowal’s work has continued since then. Shades of Milk and Honey was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award, and Kowal won the Hugo Award for her short story “For Want of a Nail” the following year. She will be writing more novels as there are 3 sequels to Shades of Milk and Honey planned: Glamour in Glass, coming out this April; Without a Summer; and Valour and Vanity.

Shades of Milk and Honey is described on the cover jacket as “precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen…if she had lived in a world with magic.” It is very much a story similar to Jane Austen’s books, although much shorter and lighter in characterization. It’s set in Regency England and has the same focus on suitors and marriage, etiquette, and social gatherings as Jane Austen’s novels. Where it differs is having art as a theme and a world in which glamour, a type of magic, exists and is often used for the creation of art.

The story is about Jane Ellsworth, a 28-year-old woman who believes herself to have no marriage prospects due to her plain features. She can’t help but compare herself to her younger sister, Melody, who is very attractive. Yet Melody can’t help but feel she falls short in comparison to Jane, who may not be lovely to look at but is exceptionally talented when it comes to glamour and the arts. Melody may capture the eye, but it is Jane who often end up the center of attention at various social gatherings as she’s the only one who can come close to matching the skills of the artistic and mysterious Mr. Vincent. Furthermore, their neighbor Mr. Dunkirk is very appreciative of the arts, and both Melody and Jane have become rather attached to him.

Mostly, it is the story of Jane and her relationships with her family and neighbors, her moral decisions, her views on art, and her development as an artist – and how she finds true love.

Shades of Milk and Honey is a very short and quick read. While at first I found it enjoyable but somewhat lacking in substance, I found myself still thinking about it and reflecting on it quite a bit after reading it. My opinion of it has become more positive after really thinking about it since at first I had some trouble not comparing it to Jane Austen and finding it coming up short. Taken as its own separate entity, I think it works very well as a light historical fantasy romance. It’s just that the very obvious similarities to Austen’s works (Kowal’s site describes it as a tribute) make it very difficult not think of this novel as “kind of like Jane Austen but not as good.”

The problem with calling Shades of Milk and Honey a tribute to Austen is that it forces a comparison between this book and Austen’s work. (This is why I try to avoid comparing books in my own reviews – even if there are similarities, what you first think of when hearing the name of a book may not call to mind the same exact qualities others think of when first thinking of the same book.) There are many parts of the book that are instantly recognizable as having similarities to Austen’s novels if you’ve read them. Jane is in some ways like Anne Elliot, the heroine from Persuasion who remains unmarried at an “old” age. The two sisters are in many ways like Marianne and Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility with Jane the more sensible sister and Melody more likely to give in to feelings and passions without thinking about the consequences first. For example, here is the scene when Jane learns Melody had only pretended she hurt her ankle to get the attention of a man:

 

Jane shook her head, bewildered by her sister’s jealousy toward her. Her! Who had not the slightest hope of marrying, were it not for the sum Mr. Ellsworth had put away for her dowry. But more than the bewilderment, she was dismayed by what her sister had confessed. “You could certainly have explained the injury was not so great as it first appeared; that the shock had given it more weight than it had merited. Oh, Melody, what were you thinking?”

“I was not thinking! I was feeling! And is it so terrible a thing? I have hurt no one save myself, and he came today, did he not?” [pp. 104]

Jane and Melody’s parents were also very like Elizabeth Bennet’s parents from Pride and Prejudice with the rather silly mother and the more reasonable father, and there many other nods to Austen throughout the story.

Shades of Milk and Honey suffers from the baggage of the Austen comparison, though. It does not have the same depth of character, the same wit, the memorable heroes and heroines, or the same social commentary that Austen is known for. For some this may be a good thing–especially those who perhaps liked the idea of Austen’s stories but felt her books were too verbose or lengthy. For others, who love Austen’s novels with all their hearts, this may color their perception of the book a little, making it appear thin next to her monumental works.

However, once I got past the fact that Shades of Milk and Honey is mostly a superficial tribute to Jane Austen instead of a clone, I found it to be a delightful, enjoyable story, particularly the latter part where it diverged more from the type of story Austen would tell and seemed less like a mashup of several of her novels. It’s a very readable book that kept me turning the pages, and it had a very exciting ending. Unfortunately, a lot of what I found most enjoyable about it is really hard to talk about without spoiling how the romance turns out. Since I want to talk about this anyway, I’m hiding it behind spoiler tags:

While there is magic in this book, it’s mostly important in the context of the exploration of art. Glamour is largely used for making illusions, whether they are for lighting in a room, making the hair in a painting move in the wind, or making a bunch of people disappear because they’re obscuring the view. It’s not well-explained, but I think art in general is more important to the story since it was Jane’s main interest and what accomplished women do. (I am still curious about why more women knew glamour than men and it if it is as Jane thought that men were perfectly capable of it but just lacked the training.) There are several conversations about art – how it enhances the home and makes it more comfortable, whether or not it’s possible to enjoy art if one stops to examine it, and the relationship between flaws and perfection. A love for the artistic permeates the book, and I rather liked this aspect of it.

Comparing Shades of Milk and Honey to Jane Austen is unavoidable, and I do think that my reading experience suffered as a result because I was expecting Austen’s depth and cleverness. However, I still found Shades of Milk and Honey very compelling, especially the later parts which moved away from Austen’s template. I loved the ending and actually find myself very eager to read Glamour in Glass when it comes out in April. This is both because I truly enjoyed this book and because I am expecting the sequel to stand on its own a bit more – and how could I resist it after seeing Mary Robinette Kowal described it as “a little more swashbuckling than the first book” on her FAQs page?

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: I bought it.

Read Chapter One

Other Reviews: