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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Island of Sea Women
Lisa See
The Deep
Alma Katsu
Progress: 73 %
Dear Life: Stories
Alice Munro
Progress: 175/336 pages
Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Progress: 28 %
The Mystery at Lilac Inn
Carolyn Keene
100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories
Gary Raisor, Richard Chizmar, Al Sarrantonio, Avram Davidson
Progress: 70/512 pages
Leading Change
John P. Kotter
Peanuts Classics
Charles M. Schulz
Progress: 66 %
The Bungalow Mystery
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages
The Bungalow Mystery #3
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages

The Raven Tower ★★★★★

The Raven Tower - Ann Leckie

I'm not sure how to explain what I loved about this book without spoiling it. The story itself was a fun ride, because it's obvious the whole time that the ancient god, who is both narrating the current day action and ruminating on its own history and the nature of gods, is withholding some crucial information. This left me trying to anticipate who was driving the action and how it would turn out to the end. And my thoughts about it were evolving to the very end, so that the big reveal was both a surprise and also very satisfying. 


The unconventional story structure and narrative style would have been annoying in another author's hands, I think, but in this book are so skillfully employed that I found them a strength rather than an annoyance. The 2nd person narrative (for the current action) is not an author's omniscient narrator cheap trick to create a sense of immediacy, but is used as the ancient god's observations of the action, as it speaks to the main character who cannot yet hear its voice, and this god is not omniscient, but rather guessing at the main character's thoughts, motivations, and knowledge. It's an odd contrast that really works. 


Few of the characters are really fully realized, but that's because the narrator god isn't especially interested in them, except as they drive the action. This narrows the focus onto a few important characters, and those are developed and revealed to the reader throughout the book, again with their full characters satisfyingly revealed at the end.


This book also has Things To Say about human (and god) nature, about the use and abuse of power, about gender, about the nature of and impact of discrimination, but these themes are subtly weaved into the fabric of the story rather than grandstanding over it. 


This is the second book of Leckie's that I've read, and I've thoroughly enjoyed them both. I believe she may be my new favorite author. Many thanks again to Mike Finn, who recommended Provenance to me for the fantastic audio performance by Adjoa Andoh, and opened up a new world for me. 


Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. Adjoa Andoh's narration really helps make this book.