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A few years ago, shortly before I began bookblogging, I read and totally loved Mary Gentle's Ash. More recently, I was rather disappointed with her 1610. I'm afraid that White Crow was more towards the 1610 end of the scale. It brings together three short stories about her protagonists Valentine and Casaubon, and three novels, Rats and Gargoyles, Left to his Own Devices and The Architecture of Desire. Most of the stories are set in varyingly 17th or 18th century milieux, with a heavy admixture of Hermetic magic. I am afraid the only one I really liked was the exception to this setting, the near-future cyberpunkish Left to his Own Devices; the rest all lost me somewhere between the showing and the telling. I guess they are of interest as rehearsals for Ash, but I couldn't really recommend them.

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tchernabyelo
Oct. 30th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
I remember enjoying Rats and Gargoyles - in particular the way she wove the plots of the different people trying to save the city in such a way that you didn't know, in the end, which (if any) of them had "worked".

But the whole recreation of the same two characters in different settings really didn't work for me. Character arises from culture and trying to replicate these people in different milieux just seemed like an author way too in love with her own creations for my taste.
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