Oh Elizabeth Bear, how I do wrestle with your books.
You see, I WANT to like them so much. All the Windwracked Stars is no exception. It’s got instant Kirsten-pleasers in it:
Norse Mythology (check)
Fully fleshed-out characters (check)
A richly imagined world and history (check)
Pathos on par with the great, mythological tragedies a la Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry (check)
So why does it take me so long to read the books, and why do I feel unsatisfied at the end?
Same old same old complaint from me. There’s TOO much left unsaid between the characters, too many knowing looks, too many assumptions that are not spelled out. I don’t mind working for my fiction, mind you, it’s just that if I have to work THAT hard at it, sometimes it’s not easy to enjoy. And I think the ending of this one is more formless than other books. I really can’t way what happened. But it left me wanting more for the characters.
So this one kind of defies description. I mean, many of her books start with detailed past events having a lot to do with the current events of the story, but this one takes the cake. Most of the major meaningful action has already taken place when the story begins. I mean, for gosh sakes, the WORLD ENDED. And the gray wolf ate the sun. And all the warriors of the light died, except for one. Muire survives with her valraven steed. She lives centuries on a world (not sure what world since I thought the world ended) that is facing imminent ending, and gets mixed up with a technomancer sucking the life from the world in order to save one city.
See what I mean? I’m not sure it blurbs well.
But as always, I still enjoyed the book, unsaid things and all, and found much pleasure in the language and characters.