Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Apocalypse: not yet? Also, gushing over Frances Hardinge.

So, the world did not end this weekend. Awesome.

I am only a little disappointed that I wasn't able to use my skillz to fashion a zombie-killing shiv from a lawnmower blade.

ANYWAY: in other, less bloodthirsty news, I have just finished reading Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge. With this book, Frances has solidified her position as my number one all time most favoritest author. Ever. She writes characters so undeniably real that you cannot help but fall in love with all of them, including the villains. AND HER VILLAINS! They are complex and beautiful, never comical or over-the-top. Situations are never black and white - there is never just one solution. Her heroes are strong even when they can't see their own strength.

In her first book, Fly by Night, Frances introduced us to Mosca Mye. Immediately, I knew that Mosca and I were kindred. She's got moxie for days, and is stubborn and doesn't always know what she wants until she knows that she wants it. This is one of those books that adult readers will wish they had when they were twelve.

And then, with Verdigris Deep/Well Witched, we met Ryan Doyle. Ryan is the sort of thoughtful boy that the good girls fall in love with - they can't help it. He's loyal and intelligent, and cares about the right things. He's not afraid to take the burden of something he knows is too big for someone else.

And now, with Gullstruck Island/Lost Conspiracy, we have Hathin. The girl who isn't supposed to be noticed. Who goes on an impossible mission of vengeance for her people. Who takes on volcanoes and politicians and magic so much larger than herself and who doesn't even stop to wonder if maybe someone else may be better suited. She's the strength we all wish we had.

These books will always hold a treasured place in my bookshelves, and I will give them to my kids. The Lost Conspiracy is due out in September, and I can't wait to see what Frances comes up with next!

ETA: The Lost Conspiracy is, in fact, Gullstruck Island, just under a different name. It appears that Hardinge has fallen victim to that time-honored tradition of changing book names when crossing the Atlantic. Alas.

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