Back in 2010, I reviewed Mary Robinette Kowal's extraordinary debut novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, a Regency drawing-room novel reimagined as a fantasy novel, where "glamour" -- the ability to weave illusions from "folds of aether" -- is part of the repertoire of any well-bred young lady.
Now, Kowal returns to her world with a sequel, Glamour in Glass, and outdoes herself in every way -- no mean feat, considering the many virtues of her freshman effort. Glamour and Glass opens shortly after the conclusion of Shades, and quickly moves from the close confines of the drawing-room to the open road, as a pair of newlywed glamourists are first feted by the crown prince and then head for a honeymoon in Belgium, where they hope to confer with a French glamourists of their acquaintance. This visit to the Continent is made more exotic by the only-just-recently-ended war against Emperor Napoleon, and will coincide with the celebration of the newly formed United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Set free of England's shores, Kowal's characters are now able to compare their behavioral norms and rigid self-discipline with other places' sensibilities, and to reflect on the opportunities and restrictions of both. Thus, Kowal is free to explore the value of a constrained, highly circumscribed approach to life, and to really and plausibly inhabit the psyches of the sort of people for whom avoiding offense and spectacle is the highest virtue.
Kowal is deft and subtle, able to capture the drama of a first-rate war novel while maintaining the calm, mannered form of Regency romances.
Glamour in Glass
For years, Anita Sarkeesian and her crew at Feminist Frequency (previously) have been striking terror into the hearts of reactionary assholes by saying calm, smart, funny, sensible and insightful things about how video games reveal our social attitudes.
I’m in the UK for the British Walkaway tour, which kicks off tonight at 7PM in Oxford where I’ll be in conversation with Tim Harford at Blackwells.
I took great advantage of my 36 hour hiatus from the Walkaway tour, but I’m back at it today, with a 2PM appearance at Burbank’s Dark Delicacies, before I go straight to the airport to fly to the UK for my British tour.
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]