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13 October 2009 @ 02:56 pm
and now for something completely different.  
Because I was doing that "have to teach, can't sleep" thing in the early hours of this morning, I found myself thinking about books involving Elizabethans (or Tudors) and magic or fairies. In theory, this should be a cross-section that is uniformly pleasing to me, but in practice there aren't that many books in this category that I like.

Books I love
1. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. Well, of course.
2. Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede. Though the second time I read it, I wasn't as thrilled by it as I had been.
3. (honorable mention) Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Technically, yes, though it might be stretching the definition to include it.
4. (honorable mention) In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker. There's actually no magic in this book, but it does have immortal cyborgs, so. It still does that "clash of new and old" thing that I adore.
5. (really honorable mention) Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. It's a ghost story, not historical fantasy, and the ghosts in question are from the late seventeenth century, but it is one of my favorite books ever. Like, ever.
6. King of Shadows by Susan Cooper. Two words: Nat Field.

Books I didn't care for
1. Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon by Lisa Goldstein. It pains me not to have liked this book, but I really, really didn't.
2. Malkin by Sophie Masson. I was mostly "meh" about this book. It wasn't bad--but the version in my head, the one I wanted, was better.

Books I couldn't/didn't finish
1. Ill Met By Moonlight by Sarah Hoyt. I don't even think I read much of this--just opened to a random page and was irritated by the blatant Hamlet allusions (though I did go back and skim the first chapter afterward). Which was totally unfair of me, I'm sure.
2.Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan. I have no idea why this one didn't take; I kept trying to read the first few chapters but never felt all that compelled to keep reading.
3. A Traveller in Time by Allison Uttley. I tried reading this last week; it's a time-slip novel, but there didn't seem to be any urgency to the narrative, nothing to keep me reading. Possibly I'll try it again, as I've read good things about it.

So, you know, if you have suggestions...
La Reine Noire: Bookishlareinenoire on October 13th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
The Sarah Hoyt book was totally mediocre. I read it and the sequel and was unimpressed by either, so you did well to skip it.

And I clearly need to read Tamsin -- it sounds right up my alley!

I have to imagine you've read this already, but I'm very fond of Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove. Alternate history and playwrights! Yay!
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on October 13th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Well, that makes me feel better. :)

And my love for Tamsin knows no bounds. I must have bought at least six or seven copies of it to give to friends, and a few of my friends read it on their own because I kept talking about it all the time. The friendship between Jenny and Tamsin is perfect, but what I also love about the book is that the everyday world is just as important to the story as the magical one.

Ooh, I haven't read Ruled Britannia, actually! I'll have to check it out.
Constant Readerskirmish_of_wit on October 14th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
I liked Midnight Never Come but found it lacking in a certain... I don't know. Spark? Humor? I bought the sequel because it's set during the 1630s-1660s, but I've not been able to get into it at all.

I cannot recommend Elizabeth Bear's Stratford Man books, in which Shakespeare and Marlowe have sexytimes because Marlowe did not die in Deptford but rather was transported to Faerie and healed. I think there might be more to the plot than Marlowe/Shakespeare sexytimes but really I cannot remember at all. On the plus side, though, some of the other Elizabethan playwrights show up. Chapman is amusing, as I recall, and of course Rare Ben Jonson is ALWAYS amusing just because it's Ben Jonson.

I feel like there are more that I'm just forgetting at the moment. Last summer (2008) I read a ton of faerie fantasy. I just don't remember them because I didn't write them down.

Also Tamsin = LOVE. Also King of Shadows and Tam Lin.
tempestsarekind: queen of fairiestempestsarekind on October 14th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I had to start keeping a list of everything I read, because I was constantly forgetting books I'd read and when I'd read them.

That about matches up with my feelings on Midnight Never Come. It seems like a perfectly decent book--the part I read didn't trip any of my eyeroll issues or anything--but it just didn't spark with me.

Re: the Stratford Man books--huh. That's disappointing. I mean, I have nothing against Marlowe/Shakespeare sexytimes, but there should be something else memorable happening as well!

Also Tamsin = LOVE.

Yay! I feel like the only people I know who have read this book are people whom I've practically forced to read it, in some way or another. Which I'm perfectly willing to do, but you know, I only know so many people. :)

With King of Shadows and Tam Lin, it's almost like, how could I *not* love these books? Though Tam Lin *did* take a little time to grow on me.