Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two Mini Reviews

Today I'm bringing you two mini reviews with a couple similarities. Both were written by well respected female authors, and both are fantasy type fiction.

The Bloody Chamber
The Bloody Chamber bookcover. Black background, white castle with girl hanging out and calling for help, surrounded by angry red waves
The Bloody Chamber
Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber contains ten reworkings of classic fairy tales, from Bluebeard and the Erl-King to Puss in Boots (somehow, I think the new animated film shares nothing but a title). My biggest complaint is that they seemed repetitive, especially with two versions of Beauty and the Beast told consecutively.

Carter fully embraces the violent, bloody, ribald nature of the original tales, but updates them with her own personal twists. They are certainly disturbing - I'd recommend only one a day, and not before going to sleep. Who knows what might show up in your dreams.

If you like the idea of reworked fairy tales, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (affiliate link), is certainly worth picking up. I bought it this past year and read several of the stories, but haven't completed the whole book. There are selections from writers including Neil Gaiman and Joyce Carol Oates.

Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey was an early female science fiction/fantasy writer known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. I was never really a science fiction fan, and had never read her work. Ms. McCaffrey passed away in November, and I saw several authors writing tributes to her. It made me think I should try one of her books.

Unfortunately, Dragonflight  was not for me. The general idea was interesting - people living on outlying planets, then forgotten about, trying to make it on their own. Oh, and they hang out with dragons. That's cool.

The downside? The pacing seemed off, and there were some serious plot holes. And I almost forgot - the whole "let me continually rape someone until they fall in love with me" story line. Ick, ick, ick.

So many pioneering women fall into the "exceptional woman" trap, where you try to prove you're not like all the other women who really are less worthy than the menz. That's the vibe I got from McCaffrey, and to an extent, from Lessa, the main character. So, yeah - I'm glad to have read a staple of the sci-fi genre, and one by a female author at that, but I'll pass on the rest of the series.

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