It’s that time again! This is the fifth Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) since it started way back in 2008, and I had so much fun doing the daily blogging topics last year that I decided to do them again! Yay!
Today’s topic is:
One of the best parts about book blogging is the exposure to books and authors you might never have heard of before. Pimp the book you think needs more recognition on this day. Get creative! Maybe share snippets from other bloggers who have reviewed it or make some fun art to get your message across.
I think most SpecFic fans have heard of either Emma Bull or Steven Brust (or both), but I DON’T think most people have read Freedom & Necessity, a book they wrote together. What is it? I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS. It’s a really awesome historical fiction/magical realism (sort of) ACTION/ADVENTURE epistolary novel! I’m actually rereading it right now. LOVE IT.
Why haven’t more people read it? Well, a) the paperback is weirdly expensive (I got mine on sale, luckily) and b) the title/cover(s) makes it looks like some weird historical military fiction thing aka BORING AND HORRIBLE and not at all amazing and wonderful.
Also I guess there’s not much actual fantasy elements which can disappoint people who wanting fairies and demons and whatever. BOO TO THOSE PEOPLE, I say!
This story doesn’t need fairies and demons and whatever. It’s got enough good stuff in it to interest basically EVERYONE. There are sword fights! And espionage! Romance! Secret societies who kill people! Occult stuff! SHEER ADVENTURE, to quote one of the summaries on Amazon.
My favorite thing about this book, though, is the characters. The women characters are active and go out and do stuff and they don’t let the men characters push them around. The men characters aren’t actually all that bad, though– total heroes, yes, but not alpha-disgusting-manly-man ones. And they all have depth and layers and maybe the villains are kinda, y’know, not so well fleshed out but who cares! When you’ve got such good protagonists running around being awesome.
One of those protagonists is Susan, my favorite in the entire book. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SUSAN. I’ll quote from my 2009 review:
I thought she was really refreshing, and though maybe she’s a bit of an unusual person for the time period, I think she would have fit right in with, say, Emma Goldman‘s circle. She’s fierce and tough and I love how she refuses to get married even when she’s in love because she wants to stick to her beliefs. She’s such a great character, and I wish she could be my friend.
So now you totally want to read Freedom & Necessity, yes? No? Well, maybe these other reviews will convince you:
“I remember the time I was re-reading this on D.C.’s Metro on the way home from work; my deep absorption was apparently so obvious that the stranger sitting next to me felt moved to comment on it, observing that I was reading very fast and had not looked up once. I muttered something about re-reading and put my head back down; he, undeterred, added something about how it must be really good, huh? I wanted badly to point out that if it was, did he think I would thank him for interrupting me? (I have no idea what I said—or how I looked—but he did get the hint after that.)” – Outside of a Dog
“It’s not that difficult to find wonderful stories, but it’s rare to find one this full of wonderful sentences. The writing is clever and full of amusing idioms, and each correspondent has a unique voice. The supernatural elements of the story are rather low-key, unless you count the speed and reliability of the mail. But the story is never mundane: There’s lots of galloping through the night with loaded pistols in each pocket, skulking about in snowy alleyways, clandestine meetings in desolate but insufficiently deserted saltmarshes, and the diversionary use of chickens.” – Epiphyte Book Review
“For readers who enjoy reading classics from the turn of the century, this will be a refreshing addition to their bookshelves. For those who are daunted by the use of letters instead of straightforward prose, I encourage patience and an adventurous heart. Truly, nothing is missed by this structure as the characters include in their letters everything that has occurred.” – Curledup.com
So what have we learned? First, ignore the cover (and maybe the title). Second, read this book. Third, I’ll just be over here rereading it and having an awesome time.