So eleveninches has posted her latest Inception fic, When a Man Loves a Pasiv! And it's not like the other boys! By which I mean it's a Cobbfic. By which I mean, like Cobb, it's a really, really impressive blend of pathos and dark comedy and sociopathy and cluelessness and sympathy. It's a wonderful, smart fic.
Usually when I beta Erin's fics I know where they're going to end up. This time I didn't, and so when I finally read it through, it left me really satisfied, emotional catharsis ringing deeply. I really, really love this one, and if you've ever looked at Cobb and thought:
(source: the mighty beatonna, of course <3
--but still liked the bastard anyway, then this is the story for you. :D
omg omg omg omg you guys. So, there is this book, Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge. and it is THE MOST WONDERFUL BOOK. *_*
It first came to my attention when I saw jibrailis wistfully tweet about how incredible the writing was, and I thought, 'wow, okay, any book that has Nance envying the writing style is a book I have to pay attention to.' And then chibi_lurrel chimed in to agree with her, so that's two fantastic writers I know talking about how amazing this book is. So I bought it without knowing anything about it, which turned out to be the best decision I made in ages!
(time out to rant about how much i hate that they placed the BANNED banner over this edition of the book. it covers up the gorgeous artwork and makes you think you're in for some kind of YA dystopia, which is not what the book is like at ALL.)
Unbeknownst to me, my lovely friends over at The Book Smugglers had also heard about this book around the same time I did, and they wrote a fabulous review of it here, which you can read! Or you can check out the excerpt-heay review by The Eager Readers on YouTube!
The Smugglers went on to get their eager hands on all her other novels, including the sequel, Fly Trap / Twilight Robbery (UK title), which I am finally reading even as we speak. Quoth Ana: "I am bolting at high speed to buy ALL THE BOOKS by Frances Hardinge and proceeding with great alacrity to read them AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE." This is exactly how I felt, EXACTLY, which is why I now have a blessed stack of Frances Hardinge novels courtesy of the Monroe County Public Library, because the bookstore could not order them fast enough.
The Smugglers' review of FxN says everything I could possibly want to say about the book and also includes my favorite writing excerpts! But I have to add one thing, which is: ZOMG EPONYMOUS CLENT.
This is the first description of Eponymous Clent that we get in Fly by Night:
A week before, a man named Eponymous Clent had arrived in Chough and talked his way into every heart and hearth. He had bewitched the entire village with one urbane twinkle. Clent had brought phrases as vivid and strange as spices, and he smiled as he spoke, as if tasting them. That afternoon, however, Chough had fallen out of love with him just as quickly and completely. Word had spread that a visitor to the magistrate's house had exposed Clent as a notorious trickster and cheat.
....are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Of course you are.
I. Love. Eponymous Clent. LOVE. Oh my god, he is my heartsong. He's more accurately the lovechild of Harold Hill and the Wizard of Oz (and doesn't that describe Eames anyway), if such a creature were born in a whimsical yet dangerous, beautifully developed pantheistic AU version of the 18th century. The author writes: "The eighteenth century is a lovely mix--disreputable, cynical, dangerous, gleefully irreverent."
Our heroine is Mosca, who accidentally becomes Clent's adorably rageful, sharp-eyed, quick-witted, lonely, insufferably wonderful thief-apprentice. YES. THEY ARE A THIEF AND A (CON) ARTIST! AND THEY HAVE ADVENTURES. <3333 Oh my god I love them so much. They are two rapscallion vagabonds alone in the world, forced to depend on each other, and how that turns into mutual respect, protectiveness, and love is the most wonderful thing to watch.
Also there is a MURDEROUS GOOSE :DDDDD
ALSO ALSO, CLENT ADDRESSES MOSCA AS "MADAM." <3 IT'S LIKE DARLING, IN A WAY. <333333
The plot of Fly By Night is a study in how incredibly satisfying good plot can be when it's carefully, delicately constructed and intricately woven--interwoven, in this case, with Hardinge's phenomenal worldbuilding. I'm fascinated by the Fractured Realm and the Beloved and the interplay between faith and reason in an emerging AU Enlightenment.
And none of this touches on how wonderful the writing is. (I had a whole bunch of examples typed up for you but then Semagic crashed and I lost them, so they will be delightful easter eggs for you to find on your own!) As miscellanny said to me earlier today, "frances hardinge uses the best personification I've ever encountered." To which I replied that her figurative language is jawdropping. Both of these things are true. And also there are just amazing moments like everything the Smugglers quote in their review, and so much sheer delight in words, spoken and written.
Which makes sense, because this is, ultimately, a book about words: what they mean and what they do to us.
People always talk about how such-and-such book makes them experience joy in the act of reading, but it's so rare that I feel that way when I'm reading a book, taking delight in the way words fall on a page. But I know I'm going to feel that way with all of Frances Hardinge's writing, so: heads-up, there may be more incoherent babbling from me about this author in the near future.
At the very least, I am nowhere near done babbling about my opprobrious love for Eponymous Clent.
Webseries rec: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
I've never really gotten into web series before this. I watched nearly all of The Guild and was like, meh. Then The Lizzie Bennet Diaries happened, omg.
They're exactly what you'd expect them to be from the title: that is, a modernization of Pride and Prejudice in vlog form. But they're also witty, cute, modern without being ~edgy~, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious. Bing Lee is a doctor who carries around stuffed elephants and wants to watch period romance with Jane. Charlotte is a pedantic film school nerd, Collins is a blogger who awkwardly follows Lizzie around Vividcon :DDDDD!!!, the coming of the Regiment has now become Swim Week :D and Jane is........... still Jane and Lydia.............. is still Lydia. :D
It's so so brilliant, and fun, andover 30 eps in we haven't even met Darcy yet, and I'm just enthralled. Caroline is not a bitch REPEAT, CAROLINE IS NOT A BITCH!!! AND SHE AND LIZZIE are FRIENDS and they MAKE FUN OF DARCY TOGETHER AND IT'S THE GREATEST THING EVER!!, and Lydia and Lizzie love each other so much (okay I totally ship Lizzie/Lydia in this P&P AU, but not as much as I ship Lydia/Goth Nerd Cousin Mary ahhhh) and can I just say this is THE GREATEST THING IN MY LIFE right now I love it so much. Deep down all I really want in life = endless quality retellings of Pride & Prejudice. Right now, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is on its way to becoming the best non-fanfic fanfic of P&P I've ever seen.