Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The premise of Piranesi is that an unreliable narrator (Piranesi) is wandering a maze to help “the Other” find secret knowledge. It’s written as a series of journal entries and before long I knew more than the narrator—not necessarily a problem—but this reveals something about his selective memory: Piranesi forgets whatever might make the book shorter or less mysterious. Once he catches up to the reader, conflicts are resolved quickly and it’s hard to understand why the set-up went on for so very, very long. read more

Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

20 Books of Summer 2019: Book 1

I added Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver to my shelf the same time as Uprooted. Though both books are worthwhile, I don’t recommend reading them a few months apart (maybe not even a year apart). There’s plenty of rich foreshadowing in Spinning Silver, but when I predicted a key bit of the ending, it wasn’t based on anything from this book. There are a couple characters here that are strikingly similar to characters in Uprooted and it seemed like they were on the same trajectory. (They were.) This cheapens the ending in a way that’s hard to explain. For reasons I can’t get into without spoilers, I’d recommend Spinning Silver first if you plan to read both. If you plan to read one, Uprooted is the better book. read more

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I told one person I was looking for fantasy recommendations and received a massive reading list. Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series was also recommended, but I won’t review all nine books here. Most books in a series share common strengths/pitfalls so I’ll do a big round-up post if/when I finish. In the meantime, I read Novik’s Uprooted which is wonderful for being a single, self-contained book and not another series. At 439 pages, it’s not even long for its genre. read more