They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey

This gorgeous, heartbreaking novel movingly evokes family ties and betrayal, love and forgiveness against a backdrop of professional ballet.

They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey (Blind Sight; The Cranes Dance) is an unforgettable novel of scintillating beauty and heart-buckling pain about ballet, loyalty, forgiveness and the many forms of love.

Carlisle grows up feeling distant from her mother, with whom she lives most of the time in Ohio, and with a deep and yearning love for her father and, even more, for her father’s partner, James. When she stays with Robert and James at their Bank Street apartment in Greenwich Village, Carlisle basks in the arts education James shares with her. She’s been born into ballet: her mother a former professional dancer, her father briefly the same before managing ballet companies and festivals. James still teaches ballet. Carlisle loves dance and works hard, but tops six feet tall in high school, “the height that–for a woman–is rarely allowed to pass without comment in the outside world, let alone the ballet one.” (There may be other shortcomings as well.) By her early 40s, she is one of the first women to make it as a successful-but-struggling choreographer. She’s been estranged from Robert and James for 19 years when she gets the call that her father is dying.

The estrangement began with a betrayal that takes most of the novel to reveal. Carlisle’s first-person narrative bounces between the present, as she delays and eventually travels back to Bank Street to her father’s deathbed, and the past, her coming-of-age years as a visitor to Bank Street during the 1980s AIDS crisis. James is a mentor and a hero. “My father, I love, and James I sort of want to be. Maybe I mean: have?” It is a young person’s love, pure, ardent and jealous, wrecked by a mysterious episode that shapes the rest of Carlisle’s life–absolutely including her choreography career. Naturally, along with James’s news about Robert’s pending death comes a big opportunity to compose a modern version of the classical ballet Firebird. Carlisle both knows this is a big chance (maybe the big chance) and resists it. The reader will understand before Carlisle does that Firebird and her relationship with her father are part of the same wound.

Meg Howrey’s writing is dazzlingly, mind-bendingly good, and so true it hurts. She considers ballet, music, the artist’s drive to create, being a woman in a man’s world, desire and betrayal, family and the bottomless, haunting hunger to belong (“Are any of these questions danceable?”; “Emotions have a way of collecting and hardening inside us, like neglected grease. We are all smoking stoves”; “There might be undanceable truths.”) Her prose can be as funny and pithy as it is poignant and grand. They’re Going to Love You tackles a broad range of themes, but Howrey is superlatively up to the task. As Carlisle grows from longing, awkward youth to lonely, gifted working artist, Howrey conjures “all this gorgeous, unrepeatable wreckage” in spectacular fashion. Readers will laugh and cry and be changed.


This review originally ran in the October 13, 2022 issue of Shelf Awareness for the Book Trade. To subscribe, click here.


Rating: 9 gorgon pearls.

Changing Places by David Lodge

This book was a gift to me from a family friend who has had a lengthy career in college-level teaching, when I was one semester in to that job, three years ago now. I’m sorry I waited so long; it was hysterical! I ate it up in just over a day. Thank you, David!

Further confession: I have been using this opening sentence for class writing prompts for a few semesters and never reading beyond it.

High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.

Changing Places is a bit of a situation comedy, in which two universities exchange professors, who then experience culture shock, joy, and eye-opening changes. The setting in time is significant: 1969 offers women’s liberation, the sexual revolution, experimentation with pot, and other fun. The settings in place are significant, too. Rummidge is a mid-sized, industrial, English city without much to recommend it, and the University of Rummidge is not particularly well-regarded. The American state of Euphoria is located on the west coast, between Northern and Southern California; this state, and the State University of Euphoria, are known to be gorgeous, scenic, climactically sublime, rarified, and filled with protests and strife in this spring of ’69. Similarly, Rummidge’s professor Philip Swallow is mild, retiring, unambitious, and a bit bumbling, while Euphoria’s Morris Zapp is accomplished, arrogant, and considers himself entitled to both accolades and undergraduates’ sexual favors. This last is why he’s willing to take the stepdown to Rummidge for six months: his wife, finally fed up, has asked him to vacate, and a posting to Europe (however disappointing a version thereof Rummidge may be) seems the least undignified option. Swallow, on the other hand, is honored, if uneasy about leaving his own wife and children behind for half a year. (His department chair wants him far away while a junior faculty member receives a promotion.)

There’s the situation, then. Zapp is taken down a peg, and nonplussed by the failures of England to make a big deal of him. (Also the lack of heat and entertainment.) He will eventually find opportunities in the absence of structure in Rummidge’s English department, however. Swallow is blown back by Euphoria’s gusto and apparently limitless, all-color chances to get into every kind of trouble (sex, drugs and political protests being just the beginning). He will eventually begin to ‘find himself’ therein. Even the unlikeable Zapp achieves growth and a note of redemption at some point (still unlikeable, though). The wives (and other women) are less central and less developed, but actually deep, complex, realistic character development isn’t the point here. And the women have some ass-kicking attitude that I appreciate. No, this is a novel of caricature and satire, poking fun at English departments, at academia, at the changing cultures of 1969, and at types – centrally, the mild-and-retiring professor and the arrogant, womanizing one, although there are certainly others. Originally published in 1975, this does not count as historical fiction but contemporary (in relation to its authorship), and one might fear stereotypes that would offend today’s readers, but I didn’t find it problematic in that way at all. Just good, solid fun.

We end with a scene (written as a screenplay, unlike the rest of the novel) in a New York hotel room, with both professors and their wives gathered to try and sort out their futures. Lodge finishes with a thorough cliffhanger, which I frankly appreciate, even if the lack of answers hurts a bit. This is the first in a trilogy, so there’s that.

David, solid gift. Thank you.


Rating: 7 chicken dinners.

Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson

This one is a surprisingly quick and easy read, considering that it undertakes the history of a much-debated punctuation mark. Early on it made me giggle and brought me great joy. Later, it took me into Moby-Dick and Henry James, which I did not enjoy. At over 60 pages, the Melville & James chapter (“Semicolon Savants”) was by far the longest in the book, and occurred late in it, so it disproportionately colors the impression I walk away with, and not for the best. But earlier chapters on semicolons in legal arguments and the ever-changing nature of language rules, and pithier (than Melville) examples of semicolons as style (Twain, Irvine Welsh, Raymond Chandler, Rebecca Solnit!), made me very happy. Perhaps I felt that the Melville and James examples misportray the semicolon; perhaps it’s merely an expression of my preferences. I very much missed a discussion of the semicolon’s present symbolism in mental health awareness movements and tattoos, since I feel like that usage is cleverly figurative (even if it misconstrues my own semicolon tattoo, which is actually about punctuation). But maybe that aspect is too of-the-moment and has not yet stood the test of time.

I do love that there are books about this.

And I enjoyed where the book wraps up. Watson has spent its length periodically referring to her own movement from (more or less) grammar nerd and prescriptivist to descriptivist admirer of language and style in their diversity. She finishes by reminding us not to get too caught up in the rules. I appreciate this message very much, and I agree with it, although it’s hard to find where to fall as an English teacher of reluctant students. I many times found myself wishing I could convince them all to read this book, which feels like endorsement enough.


Rating: 7 clauses.

rerun: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Fun fact: I interviewed Miller for the podcast Critical Wit, and that interview posted on the same day (May 31, 2012) that she won the Orange Prize for this novel, which was a fun piece of synchronicity for all of us, I think. That interview can be heard here.

This review originally posted on May 17, 2012.

I read this book in a day, rapt and tearful and awed. Madeline Miller, I love you. Write more, please.

I expect that most people are at least vaguely familiar with the story of the Trojan War, even if you never read the Iliad, yes? The Greeks sail to Troy in pursuit of Helen, “the face that launched a thousand ships” (that’s these ships!), the most beautiful woman in the world, stolen from her king-husband Menelaus by the Trojan prince Paris. They fight at the gates of Troy for ten years before Odysseus’s characteristically clever notion of the big wooden horse (the Trojan horse of idiom) wins the war for the Greeks. Achilles is a hero of the war, on the Greeks’ side. He had been sitting the war out in protest against an offense to his pride when his close friend (and, most scholars agree, lover) Patroclus goes into battle and is killed. In the opening scene of the Iliad, Achilles is mad with grief and rage, about to rush into battle, kill Hector, and be killed by Paris.

That’s the background. Miller, a scholar of ancient languages (including Greek) and theatre has written a novel from Patroclus’s point of view. This gave her quite a bit of leeway, since Patroclus is not given much coverage in Homer or in ancient myth generally; she got to do what she wanted with him. Here, we see him grow up from a boy: he was a disappointment to his father, then was exiled in dishonor and sent away to be fostered in another kingdom, where Achilles is the prince and heir. The two boys form a decidedly unlikely friendship, with Patroclus the dishonored and weak following in the footsteps of Achilles, whose future is prophesied to be something enormous: he will be Aristos Achaion, the greatest of the Greeks.

Patroclus joins Achilles in his studies and their bond grows closer until they become lovers. They are not eager to join the Greeks and sail to Troy to fight for another king’s wife, but circumstances (and Odysseus, the crafty one) conspire to see them off. From there, you can revisit my synopsis of the Iliad, above – except that we keep Patroclus’s perspective, which actually made the Trojan War that I thought I knew so well spring fresh from the page.

And that is one of the several strengths of this book: that an ancient myth that is familiar to many readers, like me, becomes so real, new, crisp and juicy in Miller’s hands. It definitely made me want to go back and reread the Iliad, as well as other cited works. (Check out the Character Glossary, whether you think you need it or not, for background as well as mentions of other books you’ll want to go find.) The myth of the Trojan War comes alive with Patroclus as it hasn’t before.

Another great strength is the emotional impact Miller achieves. This book is moving, sweet, heartfelt, powerful, in its tragedies as in its loving moments – and the tragedies are plentiful. There is visceral wrath in Achilles’s mother Thetis and her hatred of all mortals and Patroclus in particular; that emotion comes through just as strongly as the love that makes Patroclus put aside jealousy and envy, makes him put Achilles’s needs before his own. I noticed that the first-person voice of Patroclus rarely uses the name Achilles, but just refers to his lover as “he” – thus emphasizing the extent to which Achilles is the center of his world.

As I said at the start of this review, I want more of this! It’s so well done. If you’re taking requests, Ms. Miller, I would like to read a book about what happened to the happy family of Odysseus, Penelope and Telemachus following the conclusion of the Odyssey: how does Odysseus manage to gracefully step down from power and transfer to Telemachus without sacrificing any of his machismo? Reading The Song of Achilles raised this question for me – how a king could step down and preserve his dignity and quality of life. I wonder, too, whether Penelope ever gets grumpy about all the philandering Odysseus did along his homeward journey, while she was standing strong against the suitors.

In a nutshell, this retelling of the Trojan War and the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is lovely, loving, sweet and deeply emotional; it preserves the grand, sweeping scale and feeling of humanity and drama in the original, but brings it freshly alive in an appealingly different format. The Song of Achilles made me sigh and think and cry, and I wanted more when it was all gone. This may very well be the best book I’ve read in 2012.


Rating: a rare 10 loving caresses.

The Awakened Kingdom by N.K. Jemisin

The Awakened Kingdom is another Kindle-only novella, following the Inheritance trilogy (of which The Kingdom of Gods was the third book). Thanks Pops for clueing me in!

As is more or less usual, this review contains spoilers for previous books (all three novels in the trilogy) but none for The Awakened Kingdom itself.

This was great fun and went by quickly, and I am quite entranced by the narrator’s voice (I seem to like each better than the last). It takes a little while to figure out who is speaking to us, because they leap right in with great enthusiasm, shouting in all-caps and with exclamation marks: this is a brand-new, infant godling, who is still learning about the world and their own powers and (not least) how to tell a story.

I am born! Hello!

Many things happen.

The end!

(Then our child-god gets some lessons in storytelling from Papa Tempa, or Itempas, who you may remember is the god among other things of order. Later the narrator will also indulge in some Mama Yeine-style storytelling, with the disjointed chronology that characterized the first book in this series. It’s quite cute like that.) We eventually learn that the speaker is more or less female (using ‘she’ pronouns), and 40 days old when we meet her; she does not have a name until she gives herself one, which I’ll use here in the interest of clarity and because it gives nothing huge away. Our narrator is Shill. She was conceived as a replacement for Sieh, the Eldest godling and Trickster; she is frustrated early in her life, though, because she’s terrible at being Sieh. So begins the familiar challenge of becoming, instead, herself.

Shill finds herself attracted to the mortal realm, and travels to one continent in particular where she’ll meet her sibling-god Ia, a captivating young mortal man named Eino, his powerful grandmother Fahno, and the two women who both hope to marry him. In Eino’s society, women hold all the power. They fight and protect, support their families and rule politically. It is men’s job to have beautiful hair and clothing and smell nice – to be decorative, to raise children, and to serve their wives. “Women risk their lives enough to bear children and provide for them by tool or by blade; the least men can do is handle things after that.” This reversal is quite a revelation for me: it’s refreshing in some ways, shocking in others (the patriarchy is so ingrained that it’s hard to grasp), and makes its point so well that it’s almost nauseating – that is, it’s easy to see how unjust men’s degradation is in this fictional world, so what the hell is wrong with this real one, y’all? All of this is fascinating, and it takes Shill – naïve though she is – about a millisecond to see the problem. What she’ll do about it – and what Eino will do, because despite being just a boy he is quite impressive – will change everything.

Shill’s narrative voice does mature some as she does – the exclamation marks fall away and the feelings get a little less toddler-temper-tantrum. But she retains a disarming, downright charming, innocent regard for things being right and just. “ALL EXISTENCE WAS WRONG AND TERRIBLE AND IT SHOULD BE BETTER!” Tell them, Shill! The two high points for this novella, for me, are that voice, and the eye-opening problem of misandry. The Awakened Kingdom is a delight: entertaining, fast-paced, deeply charming, and also thought-provoking. I wish I could read it again for the first time, immediately.

And so, good news: there is more Inheritance! I’ve just loaded up Shades in Shadow, a triptych of short stories from the same world. Hooray and keep writing, Jemisin.


Rating: 9 serry-flowers.

City of Bones by Martha Wells

I went looking for more from the back catalog of the author of the Murderbot Diaries, and here we are with the rather hard-to-find City of Bones. It went by quickly at nearly 400 pages; I found it absorbing.

Wells creates a fictional fantasy world, post-apocalypse, and the apocalypse here involves godlike creatures, magical Mages, and something a bit climate-change-analogous, with fires and blistering heat and arid destruction. A new race of not-quite-humans was created in this process who can tolerate these extreme conditions better than regular humans (who have also survived); humans, naturally, treat these krismen as inferior and discriminate against them. (Kris also have pouches that are involved somehow with sex and reproduction, a thread that doesn’t get quite adequately explored; I wonder if Wells had a sequel in mind?) Our action here is set in a city with a clear caste system. It is physically arranged in eight tiers, and those on top are the elite, while the lower tiers are populated by the dirty and the poor. Water is at a great premium. There are classes of intimidating Patricians and enforcers including Trade Inspectors (who can arrest and abuse anyone who disrupts capitalism), Warders (practitioners of magic who serve the Elector or ruler), and the privileged scholars of the Academia.

Our protagonist is a kris named Khat, who lives in the city and trades in Ancient relics along with his partner Sagai (not kris), living communally with Sagai and Sagai’s wife and children and other non-relatives on the Sixth Tier. Solitary if not antisocial, Khat left his kris community some years ago for reasons we won’t understand for much of the book. He and Sagai are qualified to be fine scholars but not accepted as such, Khat because he is considered subhuman and Sagai because he is of the wrong race. The novel opens with their exposure to a mysterious stranger who turns out to be both a Warder (scary) and female (quite rare for Warders): Elen. She entangles them in profound intrigues involving relics and magic and the most powerful weirdos in the realm. Eventually it will fall on this small band – Khat, Sagai, Elen, and a surprisingly friendly scholar they meet along the way – to save the world.

Whew.

City of Bones has significant world-building on its side. I truly liked all of our main characters and rooted for them. The subtle and not-so-subtle misogyny in this world felt both realistic and familiar, and well handled in terms of nuance. As I said, the plot was engaging enough to get lost in. Wells is showing her talents here… but this is no Murderbot, and I’m not surprised that that later series is what she’s won her more mainstream accolades for. Where Murderbot is snappy and pithy and fast-paced, City of Bones wanders more, sometimes into the inscrutable. Not unusually for me with fantasy/sci-fi, I had to let some of the details wash over me without bothering too much about them. And, as with the krismen’s pouch, I felt there was some background information offered that never got fully used. Now, this could be the author fully fleshing out her world, making sure it had three dimensions even where the reader wasn’t necessarily looking. But it also felt (like I said) like maybe there was going to be more to this world – like a series – than ended up happening.

Solid, good read.


Rating: 7 tokens.

Strega by Johanne Lykke Holm, trans. by Saskia Vogel

In mesmerizing, allegorical storytelling, nine maids at a mountain hotel consider the violence the world offers them when one suddenly disappears.

Johanne Lykke Holm’s first novel in English, Strega, is a fever dream meditation on girlhood, female friendships and unnamed dangers.

Rafaela is 19 years old when she leaves her parents’ home and travels into the mountains to work as a maid at an old hotel, with eight other girls her age. They clean and polish and set tables for every meal; they wash sheets and dress in clean uniforms, but no guests arrive. Lounging together, sharing cigarettes and liqueurs and candies, they are immediately close. Their matronly bosses are strict, even punitive, but their days still feel relaxed and without energy, emphasizing the pointlessness of their work. The hotel was once a shocking red, fading to pink against the forests; the strangely sinister neighboring nuns call it Il Rosso. Rafa calls it “a morgue beneath the trees.” When listless summer turns to fall, the hotel throws a party, and one of the nine girls disappears.

The remaining eight girls search for her; her parents appear to claim her possessions; the barren season at the hotel stretches on. In one of Strega‘s figurative turns, the missing girl–presumed murdered–comes to stand in for female victims of unspecified violence. At the beginning, Rafa confides, “I knew a woman’s life could at any point be turned into a crime scene. I had yet to understand that I was already living inside the crime scene, that the crime scene was not the bed but the body, that the crime had already taken place.” Near its end, “We can only find a way out of this crime scene by constructing one of our own.”

Holm’s prose, translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel, is hypnotic, dreamlike and favors repetition in phrasing and images: “Our hands would repeat the same movements… our hands always repeated the same movements.” Strega is saturated with red: “We watched a red light rise from the grass and take the form of a hand. I knew it was the blame and the distribution of blame”; “Women are drawn to all things earthly. Bitter soda and red herbs, a lipstick in a bitter red shade. And death, of course.” These short, declarative sentences offer surprising lyricism, so that each line demands the reader’s attention.

The novel is short and spare, but unwavering in its intensity. Strega is riveting: surreal, ominous, somehow both vague and sharp in its observations about the harms that girls submit to when they become women.


This review originally ran in the September 27, 2022 issue of Shelf Awareness for the Book Trade. To subscribe, click here.


Rating: 7 aspergilla.

rerun: The Barbarian Nurseries by Héctor Tobar

A deceptively quiet story, with swift currents running deep beneath its surface, considers the fate of an unprepared Mexican housekeeper in Orange County left to care for her employers’ young children.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Héctor Tobar’s second novel tackles the ambitious goal of characterizing Southern California’s multicultural schizophrenia and achieves it admirably.

Araceli is quietly comfortable in her role as housemaid to the Torres-Thompson household in Orange County, one of three Mexican domestics; but when the gardener and nanny are suddenly dismissed, she is puzzled to find herself expected to care of three children she considers strangers. Worse, she wakes up one morning to find both her employers gone with their baby–-leaving her alone in the house with two young boys. In desperation, she sets off with them on a daunting trek through diverse and unfamiliar Los Angeles to try to find their estranged paternal grandfather.

Tobar creates an intriguing juxtaposition of cultures, as the Torres-Thompson children are thrust into a huge, unfamiliar, multiethnic city. Most observations are from Araceli’s perplexed, amused, lyrically bilingual perspective. At other times, we look through the boys’ eyes, with all the wonder of the new, including evidence of poverty they’ve never before encountered. The older boy (age 11), in particular, has a unique way of clinically interpreting new experiences through books he’s read, imbuing the world with fantasy. The adventure with the boys is a comedy of errors–-Araceli becomes suddenly famous as a symbol of racial politics, and her fate depends upon forces outside her control.

The Barbarian Nurseries is a beautifully written, contemplative and thought-provoking view into Southern California’s diversity and contradictions, as well as a fascinating and well-presented story.


This review originally ran in the September 23, 2011 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish news.


I decided to skip the post-dated rating on this one, as it’s been a while and I’m genuinely curious as to how it’s aged. I did call it one of the best books of the year. Anybody have a more recent reading to report?

“Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage” by Alix E. Harrow

Thanks to Liz for making me aware of this ebook-only short story by one of my new favorites, who has not written nearly enough books yet.

Our narrator, Oona, was “born in 1892 on the banks of the Mississippi, in that muddied, mongrel part of the world where East and West are separated only by the coalsmoke-scummed river.” Her mother was an Amerind, of the West; her father an Easterner, “one of those scruffy, perennially drunk men who float down the river like driftwood.” Oona never knew him. She is therefore a mixed child, “half of one thing and half the other,” born to be a mapmaker. “In our language, the word for mapmaker is also the word for traitor.”

Oona is indeed a mapmaker as a young adult when we meet her. Mapmakers in this world do not make maps, but rather hold the world in place, literally, while it bucks and reshapes itself to defy easy travel; she works for the Easterners who hope to conquer the shifting, untamed West for their own profit. She is therefore a traitor to her Western roots. But mapmaking was the only source of reasonable income available to a young orphaned woman with a dependent: her younger brother Ira is ill, and her employers hold him hostage, his care and medication in exchange for her continued service. Until Oona must lead her hated boss to a bone tree – what Easterners would call a graveyard, and Oona’s people might call “the trees that take up the dead to sing for seven generations.” And things change again.

My greatest complaint with this short story is that it is short. Oona is compelling, caught in a moral quandary, bound by her love for her brother whose love for her will have hard consequences… and caught between East and West, two halves of herself. This world is both recognizable (themes of traditional lifestyles versus colonialism; exploitation, self-determination and magic) and foreign (magic). Harrow uses footnotes in this story, an opportunity for a little extra narrative musing, and the tricky use of outside sources that imply authority in a work of (yes) fiction (her sources too are fictional). The whole thing is both fun and moving. I’m just sorry it’s over. Well worth the pennies it cost me. Write more, Alix!


Rating: 8 malevolent stars.

The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin

Mortal children are very wise, though it takes a careful listener or a god to understand this.

Following The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Jemisin’s debut) and The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods closes out the Inheritance trilogy. It is getting hard to parse my favorites out of her body of work, but this one ranks high. (Spoilers for books one and two follow; for this book, however, this review is spoiler-free.)

Book one dealt with Yeine’s relationship with Nahadoth, and her transformation to one of the Three. Yeine and Nahadoth, by the end of that book, had regained power, sending Itempas into exile and a strange, repeating mortality – he can die but always comes right back. In book two, we saw a mortal ‘demon’ (one parent is mortal and the other a god or godling) form a relationship with the exiled Itempas. In book three – as its title promises – we continue to develop the relationships between the Three and between gods, godlings and mortals. Jemisin continues to develop the rules of this wide, wild world – the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the mortal and gods’ realms, the heavens and hells, and the possibilities of all these worlds. It’s quite expansive, so that the surprises keep coming, in ways I really appreciate. Jemisin is not cutting corners, changing the rules to suit her; but she does let the worlds and the rules keep expanding and changing.

Here, the central character is for the first time not a mortal (Yeine, Oree) but a godling: Sieh, the Eldest Child, the first godling, and although he is the eldest, also the god of childhood, youth, playfulness, impulsiveness; he most commonly manifests as a child or as a cat. (He was also the first god or godling that Yeine met, so we have known him longest.) I’m not sure if it’s just that this is the book I read last, but I might love Sieh’s voice best of all. I don’t want to say too much here, but – the world is changing, for mortals and gods and godlings, for the Three, for Sieh, in ways that are both stimulating and scary. The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. I did not want this book to end.

And, oh! More wonderful news came in the ‘extras’ at the back of my paperback edition: usually there is a teaser excerpt here from another Jemisin series, but this was a short story, “Not the End,” which turns out to be an epilogue of sorts to this very series – I could not have been more overjoyed with that. (The novel itself has a “Coda” but more is even better! Ha.) I would love to think that this is indeed “not the end” of the Inheritance trilogy, but I fear that it’s up to my imagination from here.

I will continue to read all the Jemisin. She’s one of my favorites.


Rating: 9 surprises.
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