Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer

This book isn’t released until November 2017, so I’ll try and keep this brief and nonspoilery. Loosely based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, the story revolves around a young woman named Dorina Gray and her sister, Evadne.

Dorina and Evadne have a difficult relationship. When Evadne catches her with a girl and tells their parents, she is forced to chaperone her younger sister in London for the summer. They stay with their Uncle Basil, who is an artist. He introduces them to Lady Henry, who Dorina becomes smitten with, while Evadne views her hedonistic lifestyle as distasteful.

The two sisters continue to struggle to get along and eventually choose to mainly ignore each other. Dorina spends her time with Henry, while Evadne finds a fencing club. Fencing plays a very large role in this story. We find out that Henry has a secret club of her own that is occultic.

I thought this book was fabulous! It reads more like historical fiction at first, with the paranormal aspects coming to the front towards the end. It is well-written and focuses a lot on sensuality and appreciating the five senses, physical pleasure, art, food – and the philosophies revolving around a life lived in the pursuit of these pleasures.

Dorina is a lesbian and I got the impression that Henry was a bit of a cross-dresser. Sexuality was treated as a non-issue; the characters loved who they loved and lived as they wanted to live and no one made much of it.

Evadne was at first a rigid and unlikable character, but wow, does she have some surprises in store for the reader.

This book is very unique and I found it pleasantly, surprisingly FANTASTIC.

My review at Goodreads;

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review.

Advertisements

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

3.5 stars

Milo has lived almost 10,000 lives and if he doesn’t achieve an act of “Perfection” pretty soon, he is going to get poofed into nothingness by the universe. I mean, you only get so many tries.

Suzie is his girlfriend (who happens to be Death) of 8,000 years. They have an unconventional relationship and only see each other between his lives. But, it’s pretty epic.

Even though the story focuses on Milo and his many lives, there are actually two other major plots going on:

– Suzie’s evolution from Death to realizing she wants (and can have) more, and
– The story of their relationship (don’t worry, while this has romantic elements, it’s not a kissing book.)

We are shown the types of lives Milo has lived, chapter by chapter. A lot of the book reads like a collection of short stories. We learn about Milo’s lives hundreds of year ago and the ones that take place hundreds of years in the future, some in space and on space ships.

I felt sympathy for Milo because, if reincarnation is true, how awful is it to have to go back over and over without remembering anything in the hopes you stumble upon an act deemed as “perfection” by the universe. Not fair! 😛

The book is a combination of sci-fi and philosophical, humorous fiction. The book has more in common with Douglas Adams and Tom Robbins than Carlos Castenada or Paulo Coelho. (It also kind of reminds me of Patrick deWitt, who wrote the Sisters Brothers and Undermajordomo Minor. The books are nothing alike, but there is something about the writing style…)

The first part of the book was fantastic. It was funny and quirky, poignant, and even melancholy at times. Unfortunately, I felt like the book started to lose steam in the middle and the various lives started to blend together. I felt like the story could have been easily told in fewer pages, since the additional chapters weren’t really revealing anything new and was a continuation of what we had already seen.

However, this was well-written and I really enjoyed the author’s style of writing and humor. Along with the “funneh” and eccentric vibe, there are some good nuggets about philosophy and “dharma.” I am definitely putting this author on my watch list.

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for providing a digital copy to read and review.