Extemporanea (extemporanea) wrote,

just another brick in the wall

I woke up spontaneously at a quarter to five this morning, which means it must be a random day ending in "Y", and bugger insomnia, anyway. Since I am functionally incapable of getting back to sleep once I've woken up, I did the usual, which entails stealth!tea (the plumbing in this house makes loud, weird noises in the neighbour's roof if you don't switch on taps strategically and in carefully-observed patterns, so obscenely early tea-drinking requires care) and climbing back into bed with two cats, a mug of Earl Grey and the Ipad, whereon I am currently reading Kindle books because the screen is larger. And I had just randomly bought the new Naomi Novik, which is called A Deadly Education, and which I thereafter read cover to cover in a giant, ravenous gollup between 5am and 8am, at which point I exhaled, muttered "She's so good! she's so fucking brilliant" in slightly resentful tones, and staggered off to work.

(Parenthesis: staggering off to work is so much better when it's literally staggering into the study to switch on the computer, and does not require dressing, driving, brushing one's hair or actual coherence).

I completely adored Naomi Novik's fairy tales, Spinning Silver (Jewish take on Rumplestiltskin; brilliant) and Uprooted (really dangerous darkly magical forests, also wizard's towers; brilliant). I also completely adored A Deadly Education, which is what you'd get if you crossed Lord of the Flies and the Hunger Games with A Wizard of Earthsea and executed the result with considerable verve in the mode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while flipping a giant Up Yours over your shoulder in the general direction of J K Rowling. Which is to say, it's a very dark magical school story about what happens when both magic and magical education are carnivorous and predatory.

It's also about power and privilege. Everything Naomi Novik writes is about power and privilege, she's actually an extremely and deceptively political writer. She also did Napoleonic wars with dragons, remember? You are so busy being charmed by her tough, pragmatic protagonists that you don't notice the politics until it's socked you between the eyes with a brick. (She also severely does crossovers, apparently, which I suppose is logical enough given the fan fiction.) I was not so half-asleep this morning that I could not detect that this dark magic school story is also a more than somewhat searing critique of capitalism.

Anyway, I recommend Deadly Education,if you don't mind your school stories with a side order of death and really nasty politics. In addition to the politics, it has really interesting people. I am now more than somewhat slavering for the sequel. Sigh. This entry has been crossposted from my Dreamwidth blog at https://freckles-and-doubt.dreamwidth.org/. The comment action is all over there, and supports OpenID.
Tags: books, fantasy, reviews, sleep, tea. earl grey. hot.
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