One frustrating thing about getting galleys (and trust me, I know the world's smallest violin is playing a maudlin tune right now) is that I want to talk about the books I read and I can't without spoiling other people for them. At least when I am reviewing I do
you get to talk about the books, if not in a conversation, at least to what I assume is an appreciative audience.
I just finished my second reread of Kristin Cashore's Fire
, and I'm overwhelmed by how much I want to talk about it (which, diceytillerman
, means you are on tap). Those of you who have ever had to listen to me talk about books or culture know how much I love things that are kinda subversive, kinda hegemonic. Fire
is one of the most kinda subversive, kinda hegemonic books I've ever read. I think I need to coin a new catch phrase for it: wicked subversive, wicked hegemonic
. Except that "KSKH" rolls trippingly off the tongue, and "WSWH" most certainly doesn't.
On some axes -- say, gender -- it's got the same kinda subversive, kinda hegemonic reading which is pretty common in young adult girls' fantasy. But on others -- disability, attractiveness, class, family bonds, even narrative expectations -- it's just a wild swing along the subversive/hegemonic spectrum. Wicked S, Wicked H. Which, given my literary tastes, I obviously think is fabulous.
There are plenty of axes of convention this book doesn't challenge: heteronormativity, for example, or race in fantasy. Though it might be a surprise to the authors whose books I sometimes review, that's fine with me.
(Oddly enough, the last book I found this kinda/kinda was A Little Princess
, of all things, which was much more complicated about class then it was in my memory. Though the book is one of my frequently-reread comfort books, the careful listen I had to give it while listening to the Librivox
audio book showed me things about it I had never noticed while reading.)