Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Linkdump: THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley and Latest SF Signal Mind Meld

Seems I've been all over the place with new reviews/content the last few weeks. My latest contribution to SF Signal was my third Mind Meld, which asks (broadly): "Should Unfinished Series Remain Unfinished?"

More specifically: Brandon Sanderson famously finished Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time while writers like Roger Zelazny (“Amber”) and George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire”) have said nobody will finish their series or continue their work. Would you want another writer to pick up an unfinished series by an author?

After a lull of no new reviews from me at SFFWorld, I've gone 2 weeks in a row with new review to SFFWorld!*

This book is a game-changer for me (and I hope for other genre readers), The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley:

The land of the Dhai is the primary physical location for the action of the novel, it is a land where celestial bodies, (satellites in their parlance), rule the shifting lives of those who live under them. The satellite+ (Is a star? A comet? A moon?) Oma is set to return to the planet’s orbit, which portends a catastrophe that could shatter multiple nations. When a young girl, Lilia, and her mother are traveling, Lilia’s blood-mage mother makes the ultimate sacrifice and thrusts her daughter through a portal to another world so she can escape an invading force. Not known to Lilia is she is an omajista, a wizard who can manipulate the power of the star Oma. Lilia is a very young girl and is soon taken in by the Kai a seemingly monastic order and the narrative jumps twelve years. The young girl is permanently wounded, with a bum leg but she comes to realize the truth about the mirrors she sees: each can be a portal to another world where a double our counterpart of everybody she knows exists. However, the only way for one person to travel to a parallel world is if their double is not alive in the other world.

Hurley is one of the most brutally honest writers spinning words in the genre today whom I’ve read; nothing is safe in her fiction (or her non-fiction for that matter). The world is uncompromising to a degree surpassed only by some of the more steadfast characters in the novel (Zezili, I am pointing my finger at you, and don’t think I’ve forgotten how much you are sticking to your guns with your promise to your mother Lilia). The world building here is nothing short of imaginative and eye-opening. In addition to the recast genders, Hurley leaves no leaf unturned. Well, rather, some leaves are best left unturned in this world because they’ll eat you, the plant life gets hungry. Some leaves and plant life are fashioned into swords and other weapons; bears are used as draft and mount animals, dogs are used as mounts, too.

*Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting reviews of Robert Jackson Bennett's City of Stairs, Sylvia Izzo Hunter's The Midnight Queen, and Elizabeth Bear's Shattered Pillars.

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