Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Midnight Land: Part One: The Flight (Bk 1 of the Zemnian Series) –by E. P. Clark

Fiction / High Fantasy / Fairytale
535 pages / 1764 KB
5 Stars

There are some things you might wish to know before buying this book:

1. This book ends and flows straight into Part Two, so if you're enjoying this book, buy Part II before you finish so you won't have to wait.

2.  You really should consider calling your local hotel and finding out when their cheap rates are—usually a week-end—and book yourself a room with room service. That way, you won't be home to be interrupted by starving kids, dogs, or spouse. And you won't feel guilty, either. After all, you deserve to pamper yourself. Settle back, put your feet up, forget the house—it will be waiting when you go home, prepare for a great and fun journey.

If you enjoy adult fairy tales, with lots of depth, you're in for a real treat. If you liked Katherine Arden's books (The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower), you will love these books. Based (I think) on Russian fairytales, Clark takes us on an adventure like none I've been on before.

Zemnia is a country ruled by women, and Slava is the younger (half-)sister to Vladya, the Tsarina. She is, literally, the second heir-in-waiting behind her niece and serves little to no useful purpose. The chance for adventure, away from her Kremlin, arises and Slava takes it. It is a coming of age book, but not like the normal sort I've read.

The adventure takes her to the northern edges of the Zemnian empire, she must travel through dark forests filled with woodland sprites, magical animals, and fear to be overcome. Once above the sun line, Slava and her party are on the tundra, in darkness and the bitter winter cold.

She loses her soft edges, learns about her 'gift' and that others desire both it and her. At least until they come face-to-face with it.

This book also gives us a sneaky peek at gender role reversal, and how we think about those of the opposite gender.

A well-crafted book, filled with characters I'd love to have over for dinner. Or go adventuring with.

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