Reviews for Child of a Hidden Sea…

Alyx portrait 2014 smallWith Child of a Hidden Sea coming out in 39 days and counting, reviews are starting to appear. This morning I’m quite enchanted with this write up by Eric Raymond of the Armed and Dangerous blog. He says many good things, along with this, which is my favorite bit of not-so-positive feedback so far:

The writing is pretty good and the worldbuilding much better thought out than is usual in most fantasy; Ms. Dellamonica could write competent SF if she chose, I think. The book is slightly marred by the sort of preachiness one expects of a lesbian author these days, and there is a touch of Mary Sue in way the ultra-competent protagonist is written. But the whole is carried off with a pleasing lightness of touch and sense of fun. I’ll read the sequel.

It’d be easy to put my nose out of joint about the lesbian preachiness comment, but I am a queer environmentalist and no less prone to having Opinions, some of which leach into my writing, than any artist.  It’s a well-considered and balanced review and I was especially pleased that Raymond found Sophie to be something of a grown-up:

Sophie is not some angsty teenager who spends a lot of time on denying her situation and blunders into a coming-of-age narrative…

This is an interesting stage of things: once a book is out in the world, it ceases to belong entirely to the author and editorial/production team who coaxed it into being. Everyone gets to say what your book is or isn’t after it’s gone. The process can be exciting, nerve-wracking, delightful, disappointing, and surprising by turns. There are moments of relief and surprise, and it’s tempting to second-guess yourself. There are writers who don’t read their reviews for exactly this reason. There are writers so secure they post every single review, no matter how scathing. (Jay Lake, I admire you for this as I do so many other things.)

As with everything, there’s no one-size-fits-all; you have to figure out what works for you.