I’m not sure where to go with this review. On one hand, I loved this book and on the other, I felt somewhat lost. Maybe not lost but not part of the story but outside it.
Told through the diary entries of Mori, we come to find out she’s now living with a father she doesn’t know, is being shipped off to boarding school, is doing what she can to escape the magical wrath of her mother, and using books to ease the pain in her world that is both physical and mental. Having survived an accident that took the life of her twin sister, Mori lives every moment with a reminder of that day — a shattered leg that pains her. Not interested in anything her father, her aunts, or the boarding school can offer, she sets out to find herself a place in the world. She employs a little magic to make things happen and worries each day that what she’s done will attract the mother she’s running from.
There is one aspect to this book that I loved and that was the books. Mori is a voracious reader and I adored her love of science fiction and fantasy. I wanted to read everything she was reading. Really I’m going to now pull that Roger Zelazny book off the shelf and read it. I swear it. This was the part of the book I fell deeply in love with. Not knowing the details of Mori’s life and having to pick up small hints here and there made me feel as though I was on the outside — much like Mori herself. Maybe it was an effective way to tell the story after all looking back on it.
Fairies do feature in the story and I’ve never been a fan. I love fantasy and almost all elements that go with it but fairies are sort of so-so for me. I didn’t see the appeal but I gave Mori and her woodland friends a chance. I’m glad I did. After finishing, I felt a much stronger tie to this book and a great appreciation for Walton’s writing so much so that I picked up another of her books soon after. A quick skim through that book tells me I’m going to enjoy that one too.
By Jo Walton
Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC