One of the other books I reviewed this year was the newest by Connie Willis, Crosstalk, a light screwball comedy about the dangers of too much human contact, whether it comes in the form of pushy family, social media, or telepathy.
Kelly introduced me to Connie’s writing when we were first married, so this isn’t the first time I’ve written about her work. Another Tor essay of mine tells new-to-Willis readers how to get started. And here’s a snip of the current review:
In screwball comedies, miscommunication abounds, and many of the minor characters are pathologically single-minded as they pursue a host of weird goals. Crosstalk fits this mold. For example, Briddey’s sister is obsessed with what her daughter might be seeing on the internet… and she doesn’t much care whether it is zombie movies, Disney princesses, or actual terrorists. It’s a normal enough concern, perhaps, something any parent might relate to… until you consider the spy software she has installed on her daughter’s computer, or the fact that she absolutely expects Briddey to happily interrogate her own niece.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d lie and avoid these people, too.
Here’s the cover:
The Bibliotropic review of CHS says:
To say that Child of a Hidden Sea is indulgent fantasy is doing it a disservice, and yet I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It takes so many tropes that herald a bad story, and turns them into something that’s golden and great and nothing but pure enjoyment to read. An alternate world, a modern-day person being teleported to one, finding out she’s of that world all along (and with political clout, no less), these are all things that tend to have a person’s eyes rolling, and yet Dellamonica pulls them all off and makes a great story from them, set in an interesting fantasy world. Combine that with intelligent and diverse characters both on terms of ethnicity and sexuality, and you pretty much trip all my instinctive happy triggers for my reading.
Does anyone not know the book launch is today, at 3:30, at Bakka-Phoenix Books? If you need more info, let me know.
The lack of recent kitten pictures was probably all you needed to guess that I am having an insanely busy week. Today will be better… if you’re waiting on something from me, it’ll almost certainly happen by Thursday.
In the meantime, this lovely review has made my morning.
Child of a Hidden Sea has all the fun of a light and fluffy book, but it can surprise you at times with the amount of depth Dellamonica was able to pack into the world and it’s inhabitants. I enjoyed this book a lot, as you can probably tell, and I really loved the main character, Sophie. It’s tough in adult fantasy to find an engaging, intelligent, and flawed female lead– and this book definitely had that.
I am on a couple “Most Anticipated” lists this week. One is at Audiobookaneers, and the other is io9’s Most Astounding Must-Read Science Fiction And Fantasy Books In June.
Most astounding. You just can’t read that, as an author, and not feel awfully big-headed.
The book is out in 15 days, which means this blog may be taken over by it, to some extent… although I expect kitten-related entries to make it into the mix, too. I’ll be guest-blogging some more at Magical Words, and in some other venues, and doing a lot of jumping up and down going “Eeeee, looka meee!!!” If there’s anything you want to know or talk about as that’s all happening, let me know. I am still pondering some of your What should I Blog About requests but I haven’t reached publishable conclusions yet; in the meantime, I’m always welcome to suggestions.
Once again, I’m unabashedly posting one of my favorite bits, this one by reviewer Molly Wright, who says:
I really enjoyed this book, it had a taste of the humor/lightness of a young adult novel with the underlying messages and depth of a older book. I don’t know how it was light and deep at the same time, but maybe the author use a spell of some kind like Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger. It also had a wonderful magic system which combine some classic elements with the new.
The body count in my first book, Indigo Springs, is pretty low. By which I mean that perhaps a dozen people die in it, and only three of those are named characters who get it in the neck onstage. Nevertheless, it’s not a bubbly book. It opens after a magical-environmental disaster has turned much of Oregon into an enchanted, if litter-strewn, forest. Astrid Lethewood has lost her home, her freedom and just about everyone she loves. Will Forest, the police profiler tasked with finding out just how she got to that place, is struggling with the disappearance of his children.
Nobody’s real happy, you know?
In Blue Magic, the follow-up, the death toll is several orders of magnitude higher. I like to think the book has a happy ending, but you may have to squint to see it. (Do you agree? I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about the ending of Blue Magic with anyone.)
By chance, the stretch of time when I was working on that second book included some pretty rough seas. I lost a number of loved ones, and there were other things going on, things that enhanced that illusion we all get now and then, the one where Life, with a capital L, has chosen your ass as her personal scratching post.
When I set out to write Child of a Hidden Sea, one of my first priorities was to write a fun book, dammitall. Fun for readers, of course, but also for me. One whose point of view character was cheery and optimistic and someone I’d enjoy hanging out with even when her life was turning to crap. No matter what bleak happenstance I also packed into the story–mass extinctions, homicide, kids with abandonment issues, lost friends, a never-ending war with diplomatic red tape, debt, taxes, you name it–I wanted it to have lots of light notes. Froth, even. Bright skies, sandy beaches, and the occasional bit of silliness.
Did I succeed? Judge for yourself. Tor has posted the first chapter here.