Hachette Book Group
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The Gaslight Dogs Kindle Edition
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The characters felt so real to me, and their story had me gripped until the very end. The prose is exquisite, the world created in these pages a masterpiece. I was rereading whole paragraphs just for the enjoyment of hearing the words in my head a second time.
This book is too rich to speed through, though, so don't expect a light read. The reader is not spoon-fed; there's a bit of an investment here that is very rewarding if you choose to take it. It takes time to fully enjoy, even though you'll want to rush to the end for a resolution.
But at the end it's obvious there will be more books. I did some searching online and found the author mention that she'll be working on a book #2 and #3. They can't come soon enough. I feel like I need to skip back to the beginning and start it again. It's that good.
I have to mention that when I read the "woman taken prisoner" bit in the synopsis I was reluctant to read this. What that often means in fiction (especially fantasy) is some kind of objectification, abuse, or rape, far too often made titillating. There's none of that here. This female character is written with dignity and the author does not resort to this overused trope as an easy way to deepen her struggle. Her struggle is fresh and creative and there's not even a threat of rape anywhere. Thank you to the author for this. And if anyone else is hesitant to read this due to that, there is no need to worry.
I will be thinking about this book for a very long time...
Not this book. Every word is important. Every sentence is a brush stroke in a complex picture. Ms. Lowachee is a master storyteller.
The first two chapters are heavy going - a lot of new labels to be absorbed, but once done the story moves on carrying the reader to surprising places. This is not light reading, nor will the picture fill out to become anything expected. It is not a romance; do not expect happy endings with hugs and kisses. For me, as a female reader, it is refreshing to read a book where female characters are not automatically hit upon.
The stage is the inevitable conflict that comes with the invasion of a continent by new colonists and the original inhabitants are pushed aside. The "melting pot" was originally someone else's home and they are not pleased to be "assimilated" and bow out for these trespassers. Both sides fight with what resources they have. In this novel, the invaders try to use a tool unique to the "abos" and the results are disastrous. When the end is reached, it will feel like it was all inevitable.
Ms. Lowachee has lived in the Arctic and has a feel for this unique land. Her talent is in writing tragic characters; people shaped by the families and worlds they are born into. She tells the stories of how they deal with these forces and their fight to make a world they can live in.
This book is the opening for that drama. This reader wants to continue the ride.
A friend pointed out that the story makes a lot more sense when you realize it's Canadian, and not American fantasy -- that is to say that the fantasy countries are deeply informed by the Canadian experience of contact with original inhabitants. There are snow-dwellers who hunt caribou, and copper-skinned woods-dwellers, and at least two factions of white people attached to shoes and guns and proselytizing and all that.
The story is about a young not!inuit with a tangible spirit animal which can leave her body. Through a series of unfortunate events, she is kidnapped and taken to an industrial-age city, where a crazy meglomaniac is trying to use her magical powers for Bad Ends.
The story is about the unfortunate son of the meglomaniac who is almost as whiny as Harry Potter circa book 6. He never knows what's going on, has a very brittle kind of strength, and may have been one of those kids who took up bullying because it was better than feeling powerless.
The story is about a domesticated abo who is carefully analyzing his masters between forelock tugging.
The story is about Benedictines and Jesuits, although not really, of course, and about the city and the wild, and about madness and compliance, and the dark heart of men.
Also, this story is half a book. It's got a very slow start, then a long ramp up, and right at the crisis moment for all the characters.... you realize the book is over. GAH. I expect that the next book in the series will be along eventually.
Almost everyone in the story is a pragmatist, in their own way. I suspect that this is why it is hard to identify with any of the viewpoint characters. We are used to a diet of protaganists who are at least heroic in their own mind. None of these protaganists is, as near as we can tell.
Read if: You have tolerance for a book with an ending like a New Yorker short story, you like thinking about colonialism, you like magic systems that are not the boring semi-feudal wizards (and in that case, allow me to recommend Death of the Necromancer or Tinker again).
Skip if: You need sympathetic viewpoint characters, you don't want to deal with a very slow start, you hate interrupted stories.
Most recent customer reviews
I sold this book. Without a thought.
I did put in the effort to read it all the way through, but it took...Read more