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A Rational Arrangement Paperback – July 2, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
About the Author
L. Rowyn is the penname the author chose because it was too much work to change all of her existing social media to use a different name.
She lives in the midwestern U.S. with one of her significant others, and sees her other SOs not nearly often enough, because teleporters have inconveniently not been invented yet. If you would like far, far too much information on her, she has been keeping a LiveJournal for over ten years, and never did learn how to write briefly. Her obligatory Author's Cat is named Kali. Kali doesn't know she's not a greatcat. Shhh.
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Top customer reviews
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1. Wisteria does not get emotions. She can't even smile like a normal person. She's reduced to figuring out people's emotions by intellect, because she doesn't get them by gut. She has serious social skill problems, is brilliantly intelligent, and is functional in society because she's figured out (more or less) how to compensate for her flaws. I don't see a character like this in romance often, and when I do it's usually the male (and never one of the main characters). Wisteria is -delightful-. I loved her from the moment she showed up.
2. The treatment of mental illness in this book is beautiful. Usually you don't get "deft and nuanced and compassionate view of mental illness" in the same books you get "rich and deep world-building of a secondary world" but you do in this one. I kept thinking, as I read, "God I wish we thought of mental illness like this in the real world."
3. Speaking of the secondary world, this one is fabulously imagined. Romance novels can sometimes skimp on this aspect, but RA doesn't. And yet it still has that sort of Regency-ish flavor, without it feeling faked. Gorgeous!
4. Speaking of which, there's religion in it, the religion makes sense, and it is not played as a thing for stupid folks, or as a way to paint people as convenient villains because they believe in something. It's refreshing to see a fantasy world that treats religion as a normal and vital part of society (and goes further by tying it into the magical system without it being unexamined by its own practitioners). People believe in this book. They also question. They debate their beliefs and the finer points of their catechism. Wonderful.
5. This is a poly romance where all three parties fall in love with one another, and it makes sense that they do because they fill unique needs in one another. Many poly romances seem forced, or one or more relationships are hand-waved: "Yes, of course they live happily ever after." It's rare that we see all three people get enough attention that you really think it'll work out in the end. Justin, Nik, and Wysteria are all very different from one another, and they love one another in very different ways, and it all makes perfect sense for them as people.
6. It's a long book. A body gets tired of romance novels that last only 200 pages. This one's a nice, hefty tome! You will be living in this world for a while! (And happily, because it is an awesome world.)
7. It has giant talking cats in it. Win.
On the whole, this is a deeply humane story, one that leaves you smiling and feeling hope and like the world's a brighter place. You will like people more. You will think there's more potential for things. It's a feel-good story in the best of ways, and the fact that it's well-written and engaging is just icing on the glorious cake. Go get it. :)
The story centers around three characters, Lord Nikola Striker, Miss Wisteria Vasillver, and Lord Justin Comfrey, their lives and their relationship to one another. The story does have third person narration, but the focus is on one of these three characters and changes by chapter as the plot demands.
Nik is a mind healer, a person able to see another's mind through physical skin-to-skin contact, and at the brink of poverty (for a nobleman). His parents live outside their means because they don't want to appear destitute to their peers, and are pushing Nik to marry so that he could receive a dowery from his wife and produce heirs, while Nik doesn't really care if he wears the same suit each year for the same parties and isn't interested in marriage. Despite not really careing what his parents and his peers think he should do or act, Nik can't help but feel inadequet for not meeting those standards, so sometimes he lets his family bully him into things he really doesn't want to do, like going to a marriage interview with the Vasilver family.
Wisteria Vasilver also battles with feelings of inadequency, but for completely different reasons. She is the only daughter of the Vasilver family, a family of traders, and the best business analyst in her family's company. When it comes to profits, risk assessment, negotiating business deals, and production efficiency there is no one better, but many people view her as 'cold' and 'unnatural' because she has difficulty showing emotion. She does feel emotions, but for some reason she just can't express it on her face. Wisteria is also very bad at reading nonverbal cues in other people, and often times inadvertently insults others because of her blunt speech and 'inappropriate topics'.
And then there is Justin, the master of hiding his own inappropriateness. He is Nik's best friend, a successful lord and business man, well connected, and is generally liked by everone. He is also gay (spoilers, but not really. This comes out within the first five chapters of the book and is a major part of the plot). Unlike Wisteria or Nik, Justin doesn't exactly struggle with feelings of shame or inadequacy, even though everything in his society tells him he should, but he does often regret how his own personal preferences get in the way of attaining long standing happiness.
The thing I really like about this book as that the characters feel so real. They do feel things like shame, regret, sadness, and inadequacy for not being able to live up to the strict standards their society and family tell them they should be, but none of them wallow in those feelings either. They mostly make the best of their situations while still trying to maintain their own identies. Emotions are also a really difficult thing to describe, especially messy ones like obligation and shame, but the author's descriptions are always spot on.
And the thing that amazes me the most is that this is L. Rowyn's debute novel (as far as I know, L. Rowyn might just be a pen name for an author who doesn't want a book with homosexuality and polyamory tied to them). This is a really well polished, well thought out book for a debute novel. There are no awkward passages, or meaningless scenes, or shoddy descriptions. Everything fits together in this story beautifully and with a surprising amount of depth. Its a book that challenges the idea of what is 'normal' and 'acceptable'. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a great read to add to their collection.
Warning, though, if you are offended by sex scenes, homosexuality, polyamory, or graphic torture then this is not the book for you.
Most recent customer reviews
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