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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo I’m reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and, sadly, it does not work for me. This is partly a personal problem–I grew up with Russia, I took Russian in college, I have eaten Russian food and danced Russian dances. I will always be hypercritical of depictions of Russia & Russian culture. But it’s not just personal issues. There are major problems here, including the fact that Alina Starkov should be Alina Starkova. The Russian part is downright sloppy–Ruby as a personal name? Mal as a nickname? Mis-translations? (Moi soverenyi p. 43 is plural when it should be singular.) These things should have been edited. You can’t stick in a few Russian names and allusions to Rasputin and have a Russian-inspired book. It doesn’t work like that. And I know–BELIEVE ME–that it’s hard to write about a culture that’s not your own. That’s why you get someone familiar with that culture to read your ms before you publish it.

These are the exact problems I had with The FitzOsbornes at War–a decent story ruined by sloppiness. If I can’t trust the author to get something as basic as the proper form of a woman’s last name right, how can I trust them at all?

I know this is pretty harsh, but Alina Starkov? REALLY?