21 February 2012

Book Banter: Shades of Milk and Honey

Title: Shades of Milk and Honey
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 320
Where Stacie's Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics: Jane and Melody are young ladies from a distinguished family without a fortune to attract a suitor. Instead they must rely on their best features; for Melody it is her looks, for Jane, her skills with magic.

Banter Points: The intro sounded like it could have been for a Jane Austen novel until the magic part. The charm of this story is how magic used as a household art. Like an Austen story, the characters are delightful in their own way. Jane is plain, and frets over her nose, but is determined that a suitor should be true and accept her for who she is. Melody is obessessed with looks, and reminds me of one of Austen's flighty characters.

The novel captures the world of Austen well.

Bummer Points: The novel captures the world of Austen well enough.

The characters are very reminiscent of several of Austen's, with minimal originality. The execution was good until the end of the novel when several story lines are dropped instead of answered.

I liked the idea of the novel very much. The closely modeled characters would have been delightful if the execution had carries through the second half of the novel as well as it did in the first.

Instead it felt hurried.

Stacie's Recommendation: Skip it. There's a sequel that I have trouble seeing how it fits in. Maybe start there? It could be a better book.

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