Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jay Lake Pre-Mortem Readathon, Review #8

ENDURANCE (Green Universe #2)
Tor Books
$15.99 trade paper, available now

Reviewed by Richard, 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: Green is back in Copper Downs. Purchased from her father in sunny Selistan when she was four years old, she was harshly raised to be a courtesan, companion, and bedmate of the Immortal Duke of Copper Downs. But Green rebelled. Green killed the Duke, and many others, and won her freedom. Yet she is still claimed by the gods and goddesses of her world, and they still require her service. Their demands are greater than any duke’s could have been.

Godslayers have come to the Stone Coast, magicians whose cult is dedicated to destroying the many gods of Green’s world. In the turmoil following the Immortal Duke’s murder, Green made a God out of her power and her memories. Now the gods turn to her to protect them from the Slayers.

Jay Lake brings us an epic fantasy not “in the tradition of Tolkien,” but, instead, sensual, ominous, shot through with the sweat of fear and the intoxication of power.

My Review: How on earth does Jay Lake do this? He writes a series of first-person narratives from a female late-adolescent person's PoV and makes me like it.

The man is a sorcerer. I feel more sure of it now than ever. No other fact explains his ability to snare me in something I am not automatically a fan of.

Green, in this entry in the series, is as embattled as she was before. The difference is that, as an older and "wiser" character, she's battling for something outside herself. Yes, the battle will still benefit her in the winning. But she is not, unlike in Green, solely on a personal vendetta.

My main issue with Green was how frustrating I found it not to have a fuller, richer sense of the world that she inhabits. I put this down to first-person narration.

I was wrong. It was Lake working his magic. Green is a younger person in the first book, and like every single younger person on the surface of any planet, she is self-absorbed. We all were. Some of us get past it, some don't. And for some who get past the self-absorption of adolescence, it's a demanding external process that sets the gears turning.

With Green, the external source is...epic. Godlike. (You'll get the pun in the last 40pp of the book.) (Which you need to read.) (No, really.) And once we're acquainted with the quest Green needs to follow, once we're back in the leftover first-book conflict with Mother Vajpai, once we're involved and eager to follow the thread to its new, startling, and still inevitable conclusion...
...pages 317, 318, and 319 happen. I was so glad that I was reading this book AFTER the next one, Kalimpura, was published and was in my hot, grubby fists, I cannot adequately inform you of the good feeling.

A guy who can write from a girl's perspective, a young woman's perspective, and make a mean old misogynist care, not just care but CARE and want to know what happens next, is a sorcerer.

Light the torches. We need to get a stake put up. Who's got the pitchforks? Road trip to Lake-land, there to demand explanations for his powers.

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