Sunday, July 17, 2011

I could have been there . . . and more Frances Hardinge

Last weekend our tango teacher hosted a tango festival that we bought tickets for, but when Saturday night came around and it was time to go to the Gala (which starts at 10pm--past our bedtime), my husband and I looked across the couch at each other and decided we were too tired to go. This is what we missed:

For those of you who are serious tango fans, (and in case my video embedding didn't work) you'll want to see the rest of the videos from the evening: here they are. I am still kicking myself for not managing to drag my sorry behind out of the house!

And in other news, I just finished my third Frances Hardinge book, and I went to her website to confirm that I have now read all of her books, and it turns out she's just published a new one! Much excitement! It's a sequel to Fly By Night, which I shall now reread to get up to speed.

The one I just finished is Verdigris Deep (also titled Well Wished, which is more literal but way boringer). I won't do a whole review, but I highly recommend it. Very different from The Lost Conspiracy but equally well-plotted, well-charactered, well-written. This one's British urban fantasy, the kind where unwitting kids unleash ancient magic on their everyday town. Here's a great scene: "A shrill, laughing conversation upstairs, a television-crowd roar in the living room, and nobody with enough attention spare to notice as two children scrambled past, struggling to prevent a god escaping from a bucket." (They flush it down the toilet.) And did you know shopping carts were so creepy?

You know who would make the most excellent panel at a writers' festival? Frances Hardinge, Laini Taylor, and Neil Gaiman! (Round it out with Frannie Billingsley.) Oh, oh, and Neil Gaiman could collaborate on a novel with Frances Hardinge. You'd have to leave the lights on all night after reading it!

I have to leave you with another quotation from Verdigris Deep. She is just so amazing, the way she uses words to come up with concepts you hadn't ever thought of that way but know immediately are true:
People's personalities took up space, he sometimes thought. When they were trapped in a house or a job or a school together they rubbed up against each other, squeaked like balloons and made sparks. Ryan's parents both had large, gleaming, hot-air-balloon personalities. Sometimes it was hard to fit them into the same house, and Ryan had learned the art of suddenly making himself take up less space, demand less, so that his parents were not chafing against each other as much.
And here's a psyche-shaking one from the end of the book (no spoiler 'cause it won't make any sense until you read the whole thing):
The image that would not leave Ryan's imagination was of Josh walking with a mask-like countenance towards the woman who had tried to kill him, and giving her the child he could not be. 
As Kiersten White said in her blog post about author crushes (and she was referring to Laini Taylor!): "Oh my gosh. I want that brain. I will keep it for my own and love it and take care of it and decorate it for all major holidays."

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