No matter whether one comes into Shades of Milk and Honey as an unabashed fan of Jane Austen or, like me, avoids the stuff like the plague, Mary Robinette Kowal has delivered a debut novel to satisfy any and everyone. Shades of Milk and Honey is silky smooth and beautifully written. Kowal uses, on occasional, the style, spelling, and formality of Austen-era fiction, but does so in a modern manner to ease the reader through the novel. It works and works to the point that not only can I recommend Shades of Milk and Honey to readers who would never otherwise pick up this book, but I can also state that after finishing Shades of Milk and Honey readers will be ready for Glamour in Glass now and won’t want to wait for next year.
Posts Tagged ‘review’
GETTING TO KNOW | Mary Robinette Kowal’s Evil Robot Monkey & More ~ Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review
This is the first of what I hope to be a regular feature called Getting to Know. The goal will be to give a brief overview of an author that is new to me and some of their short work while also mentioning what novel length works they have in the pipeline. This also plays in to my reading resolution of getting to more short fiction this year. First to fall victim is Mary Robinette Kowal.
Hey! I missed that Lois Tilton reviewed Apex’s all MRK issue. She gave “The Bride Replete” a recommended which is lovely since she is so hard to please.
Kowal has created not only one fascinatingly alien society, but two, based on the same physiology. Pimi and her family don't quite seem human, but they are convincingly people, and not particularly ant-like.
I feel like I should frame this, the way people do with My First Pair of Shoes or My First Blanket. My First Amazon Review is for my collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories. How is the review?
First, let’s discuss short stories a bit. Short fiction is hard for me to review. Simply put, I don’t care too much for it.
Okay, he really does say that, but then! Then he goes on to say a whole bunch of nice things and wraps up with:
High-five, Mary. You made me like short stories again.
I’ve been seeing reports that people have received their copies of Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean, which is very cool. YetiStomper has a particularly glowing review, which covers each of the stories and finishes by saying:
All in all, Scenting the Dark makes it clear that Kowal can do in 5 pages what other authors can’t do in 50. It’s going to be interesting to see what she does with 300 or so pages to play with in her debut novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, due out from Tor this summer. I expect huge things.
Rich Horton has just given my short story collection a really lovely and lengthy review. Here’s a teaser.
Scenting the Dark and Other Stories is notable, compared to other first books I’ve seen, for its brevity — only 8 short stories, some 80 pages. I rather think this is a wise choice — start with something of a taster, a sample. It’s not that she has used up all the good stuff either — for instance, neither of the stories I've reprinted is included here. The book does represent her style and concerns very well. It’s also representative temporally — a couple of her earliest stories are included, and a couple from 2009, including one new to this book. On the evidence of this book (and, I will add, her other work that I’ve seen) Kowal is a writer interested to a great extent in the characters behind her stories.
You can read the rest at The SF Site Featured Review: Scenting the Dark and Other Stories. Needless to say, I am very, very pleased.
Publisher’s Weekly has reviewed Scenting the Dark and Other Stories. Whee!
Campbell Award–winner Kowal presents a broad spectrum of stories in her chapbook-slim first collection. The heartbreaking “Just Right,” in which a family struggles with a child’s strange behavior, isn’t speculative at all. “Death Comes but Twice” edges into dark fantasy, while blind perfumer Penn is stalked by an enormous predator in SF horror story “Scenting the Dark.” The deepest tale is “Some Other Day,” in which a young scientist struggles to undo the terrible consequences of her father’s well-meant work, while “Jaiden’s Weaver” is a sweet story about nurturing and caring for a creature others think deformed. Kowal’s stories don’t always plumb the depths of speculation or characters, but when they do the results are often stirring. This excellent introduction to her work is likely to make her new fans. (Nov.)
What we tried to do with this was to put together a miniature collection of the stories which are hard to find or have never been printed in physical form. Which means that you are getting my very first published story, ever, “Just Right” all the way up through “Jaiden’s Weaver” which came out online earlier this year.
Oh, and an intro by John Scalzi.
Issue 10 of Shimmer was my last one as art director, so I’ve been anxiously wondering how it was received. Behold! The reviews are in and it is good.
IROSF gives our cover story, Caitlyn Paxson’s “Carnivale of Abandoned Tales” a Recommended as well as Becca De La Rosa’s “River Water.” Lois Tilton says, “highly imaginative look at love and death and storytelling,”
Sam Tomaino at SF Review weighs in:
The stories in Shimmer are like pieces of rich fudge, all very different but quite delicious. It is worthy of our support.
Grab your copy of Issue 10 today: you can download the electronic edition for free, or subscribe. Delicious stories waiting to be read!
I’m looking forward to Issue 11, which will be the first with the wonderful Steven Stanley as art director.
I got home from WisCon last night to a wonderful review of Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, edited by Mike Allen.
Allen finds his groove for this second annual anthology of weird stories, selecting 16 wonderfully evocative, well-written tales. Marie Brennan’s thought-provoking “Once a Goddess” considers the fate of a goddess abruptly returned to mortality. Tanith Lee puts a stunning twist in the story of a morose prince in “The Pain of Glass.” Mary Robinette Kowal’s “At the Edge of Dying” describes a world where magic comes only to those at death’s door. In “Hooves and the Hovelof Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed tellsof a small village on the edge of a desert, a hermit and a woman who may be a witch. Each story fits neatly alongside the next, and the diversity of topics, perspectives and authors makes this cosmopolitan anthology a winner. (July)
via Fiction – 5/25/2009 – Publishers Weekly. (Scroll to the bottom)
One of the interesting side effects of having a story nominated for a Hugo is that everyone and their cousin posts reviews of them. So, I haven’t been linking to them because it would just get silly. One popped up on my feedreader today from Best Science Fiction Stories.
I haven’t run across this site before, but I like the way it’s laid out. It gives a non-spoiler summary, plus trivia about the author, where to find the story and says “if you like this then you’ll like…”
Anyway, I thought it was a nifty site and worth pointing out.
It always makes me happy when Joe Sherry over at Adventures in Reading reviews one of my stories. He manages to cover the whole thing without any spoilers, which is pretty amazing for a 970 word story.
“Evil Robot Monkey” is a heartbreaking and surprising story. The title might suggest a little robot monkey being destructive and nasty, but Mary Kowal tells a different and unexpected story. The titular monkey is introduced working a potter’s wheel, making a vase. Then…
Charlie Jane Anders has given my audio recording of Evil Robot Monkey a gloooooowing review at io9.
It’s a great examination of art and the creative process, and what it feels like to be an artist who’s looked at merely as a curiosity or as a momentary amusement for child barbarians. And art as a containment device for impotent rage.
Also, you have to check out the illustration that goes with the review.
In a future world where the weather is controlled, vineyard owner Bharat Mundari is unable to pay his weather bill after spending too much on his daughter’s wedding. The grapes are suffering in the resulting drought, and he is afraid to tell his wife about the trouble they are in; she knows, however, that he is keeping a secret from her and imagines the worse.
Although it gets a bit sappy towards the end, [1. Guilty as charged, but I like sappy…particularly with body and structure, paired with a velvety finish as in a Sauternes. Seriously, do you think she knows that “sappy” is a popular description of Chateau d’Yquem‘s Semillon? Because that would be hilarious.] this one is enhanced by the viniculture neep, and the wine-review epigraphs opening each section are a nice touch:
Mundari Vineyard 2045, Nashik (India), Shiraz
Black cherry, plum, and currant flavors mingle with aromas of sweet tobacco and sage in this dependable offering from India.
I have to give credit to Rob for the wine-review epigraphs. He wrote them. I cut them down to manageable lengths.
Here’s a teaser:
Beneath the glossy cover art by Aunia Kahn, the 2008 Spring issue of Shimmer is filled with illustrated stories loosely based on relationships, and how the power of love or the lack of it influences peopleâ€™s lives. This issue will satisfy the widely diverse palates of fantasy readers.