Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

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#1500
I'm almost halfway, and since there have been a few comments about it, I decided to get a separate thread and add my own.

On a story level, I'm enjoying it, although it took a while to get going (as usual, for me - it's a different world, after all). What's not to like about middle-aged women and men who'd retired from piracy, only to come back together for another adventure, looking for a runaway girl and/or a mythical object?

Regarding the world, it's opened my eyes (a lot!) about the underlying basis of most fantasy books:
* Religion --> christian-centric, with even made-up religions being mostly based on that, with their monks, priests, pilgrimages, feasts; or paganism, related to nature; or nordic
This book is unapologetically muslim and assumes the reader knows what the different prayers and names are (yes, I'm lost at times!).
* Location --> europe-centric, or westernised, even those with made-up worlds drawing on that heritage.
This one is centered around the Indian Ocean, mainly the west/north-west part, with real names of places (I've just been checking a map haha), and all the culture associated to those places, from clothes to food - they could be invented names, for all I know, but it must be nice for readers from those cultures.

Due to the above, I can see why many people wouldn't really be into it, as it requires some effort to get into the world - as for me, I'm going with the flow, enjoying the ride :happy:
xiagan liked this
#1504
I didn't love the book - I've come to the conclusion that Chakraborty's line and scene pacing just doesn't quite flow for me, all my fault, none of hers - but it was absolutely fascinating to hear her talk in more detail about it at the convention this weekend just gone. She was a history scholar before she was a writer, and this is her area of specialty, both in terms of geography and time period. A thing that particularly struck me was her talking about centering in this place, and putting the rest of the real world - for instance, the Crusades - in the context that these people would have had for it. (It's so massive for the history of Western Europe, but from memory in the story it's mostly a "vaguely hearing about something happening over there, whatever" sort of thing, with occasional flow-on effects in errant "Franks" showing up.)

Amusingly, the island of Socotra showed up in something Mr Dee was reading in a completely different context (there are so many species of plant and animal that only live there) and I was like, "oh wait, I know that one!"
ScarletBea, xiagan liked this
#1516
I really liked the characters of the book, it really reminded me a lot about Ketty Jay. And then as Bea mentioned the world and culture presented is much different than what we usually get which I found refreshing. However the more I sit after reading it the more I don't think the last third or so of the book does the characters and the world much justice and I think it was because the fantasy elements didn't work for me. They just didn't seem to fit everything about the world and these characters prior to that point, in some ways it kind of felt like I was reading two different stories put together. There was definitely enough there in the first 2/3 of the book that will make me want to check out a sequel at least.
xiagan, ScarletBea liked this
#1552
cupiscent wrote: May 22nd, 2024, 23:21 She was a history scholar before she was a writer, and this is her area of specialty, both in terms of geography and time period. A thing that particularly struck me was her talking about centering in this place, and putting the rest of the real world - for instance, the Crusades - in the context that these people would have had for it. (It's so massive for the history of Western Europe, but from memory in the story it's mostly a "vaguely hearing about something happening over there, whatever" sort of thing, with occasional flow-on effects in errant "Franks" showing up.)
This is super interesting to know, and it does make sense now after reading her "author's note and further reading" at the end.

I finished it last night, staying up late to finish, and I really did enjoy it.
Yes, like Hedin says, things changed after about 2/3, but I see it more as a progression in the story and plot, rather than a story split. Following arabian fairytales, we always get the characters getting more and more involved in magic.
At first I thought it was a standalone adventure (I hadn't read the back blurb, haha), and while the story does end, it sets up the scenery for more adventures, which I really look forward to reading! :D
And huzzah, I guessed that Jamal was Dunya! As soon as they had that conversation about gender, I immediately wondered about the scribe haha