baleanoptera: (fairytale snowwhite)


Catherynne M. Valente : The Orphan’s Tales: In the night garden , Vol. I

I recently read Valente’s book, and first let me say I truly enjoyed it. I might even love it a little. So I wanted to write a little about the book, but since I’m apparently incapable of writing about a book without skittering in all directions I also ended up writing about female characters and some pondering on if this is a collection of fairytales or fantasy literature. You are here by warned. ;) Also - there are a few tiny spoilers in here, but nothing major and nothing you wouldn't find on the dust cover.

The main frame of The Orphan’s Tales takes place at night when whispered stories are weaved into a wonderful tapestry. The storyteller is a strange young girl who has stories inked on her eyelids, like a swirling black mask. She is the orphan of the title, and these are her tales.

The second part of the title In the Night Garden is particularly apt for Valente likes the shadow and dusk side of things. She seems so side with the witches and the monsters of the fairytales, and desires to show that what might look ugly doesn’t necessarily act ugly. Foul is fair and fair is foul indeed.

Valente’s world is drawn from quite lot of cultures. There are traces of Arabian Nights, of Russian fairytales, of Inuit stories and African tales – and her brilliance lies with her ability to weave this all together and make a coherent, fantastical world. There are several protagonists, and some really scary villains. And all of it is described in a very poetic language that manages to thread the fine line between descriptive and fascinating, and flowery, purple prose.

Female Characters )

Fantasy or fairytale? - some touches of fairytale meta. )
baleanoptera: (fairytale snowwhite)


Catherynne M. Valente : The Orphan’s Tales: In the night garden , Vol. I

I recently read Valente’s book, and first let me say I truly enjoyed it. I might even love it a little. So I wanted to write a little about the book, but since I’m apparently incapable of writing about a book without skittering in all directions I also ended up writing about female characters and some pondering on if this is a collection of fairytales or fantasy literature. You are here by warned. ;) Also - there are a few tiny spoilers in here, but nothing major and nothing you wouldn't find on the dust cover.

The main frame of The Orphan’s Tales takes place at night when whispered stories are weaved into a wonderful tapestry. The storyteller is a strange young girl who has stories inked on her eyelids, like a swirling black mask. She is the orphan of the title, and these are her tales.

The second part of the title In the Night Garden is particularly apt for Valente likes the shadow and dusk side of things. She seems so side with the witches and the monsters of the fairytales, and desires to show that what might look ugly doesn’t necessarily act ugly. Foul is fair and fair is foul indeed.

Valente’s world is drawn from quite lot of cultures. There are traces of Arabian Nights, of Russian fairytales, of Inuit stories and African tales – and her brilliance lies with her ability to weave this all together and make a coherent, fantastical world. There are several protagonists, and some really scary villains. And all of it is described in a very poetic language that manages to thread the fine line between descriptive and fascinating, and flowery, purple prose.

Female Characters )

Fantasy or fairytale? - some touches of fairytale meta. )
baleanoptera: (Cassiopeia)
....blended together with a dose of general fantasy meta.


Sometime ago I wrote about Sarah Monette’s book Melusine, but was left with the feeling that what I wrote didn’t fully articulate what I liked about the book. Now I’ve read her other book The Virtu, and the feeling has increased. So instead on chewing further on this problem I decided to do something about it. This is that something. It’s not so much a proper review as me wandering into the jungle of fantasy meta, leaving my machete behind.


I think one of the reasons I really like these books is that I get the feeling Monette knows her fantasy literature, but is trying to do something new with the conventions of said literature. She isn’t just trying to create her own world and its story, but also to challenge the way fantasy generally is written. But to get to my points I need to delve into spoiler territory. So if you wish to read these books completely unspoiled please stop here. That said I don’t think I will be spoiling anything major. )
baleanoptera: (Cassiopeia)
....blended together with a dose of general fantasy meta.


Sometime ago I wrote about Sarah Monette’s book Melusine, but was left with the feeling that what I wrote didn’t fully articulate what I liked about the book. Now I’ve read her other book The Virtu, and the feeling has increased. So instead on chewing further on this problem I decided to do something about it. This is that something. It’s not so much a proper review as me wandering into the jungle of fantasy meta, leaving my machete behind.


I think one of the reasons I really like these books is that I get the feeling Monette knows her fantasy literature, but is trying to do something new with the conventions of said literature. She isn’t just trying to create her own world and its story, but also to challenge the way fantasy generally is written. But to get to my points I need to delve into spoiler territory. So if you wish to read these books completely unspoiled please stop here. That said I don’t think I will be spoiling anything major. )

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