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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
Liar - Justine Larbalestier by Justine Larbalestier

Well, this just continues my ongoing trend of reading the books that everyone else read when they came out significantly after the fact. I don't do it on purpose, but it is interesting to read and react with some distance from the buzz that went on when they were first published.

For Liar, of course, the buzz started before the publication, with the cover controversy. The main character and narrator of the book is a mixed girl named Micah. She describes herself as having very short, very curly dark hair. And yet, somehow the original US cover art looked very different. You can read Justine Larbalestier's post about it here. Eventually the cover was changed to a more accurate reflection of the character, although some still feel that it isn't what it could be.

Anyway, the book itself is fascinating. I love unreliable narrators--Pip from Great Expectations (which I hated until I realized that he is completely unreliable), Gen, of course, from The Thief. I figured out one of the big twists almost immediately and felt scornful. And then in the beginning of Part II, Micah says "So, you've figured that out, right? And you feel all smart" (total paraphrase, because I don't want to go get the book and look up the actual sentence). That was probably one of the most effective moments in the book for me.

So, like I said, I found it fascinating. And yet, it was one of those incredibly frustrating books which almost worked, which was so close to blowing me out of the water, but which never quite did. I think the problem is that I trusted Micah too much at the beginning and not enough at the end. There wasn't enough reason for me to distrust her towards the beginning and at the end there were too many little tidbits thrown in without warning. I wanted some hint of them seeded throughout the story. A few more slip-ups, not so that we'd figure out what was going on, but just so that there was a sense of something not right. As it was, the slips we did have almost felt like throw-aways to keep us guessing.

The friend who recommended the book to me said that she had a similar initial reaction but that for her it settled down into some kind of sense. It hasn't done that for me yet, but it may.

There is definitely some content, for those of you who watch out for such things, but nothing horribly explicit. I think.

Book source: public library
Book information: Bloomsbury, 2009