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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
Drowned Ammet - Diana Wynne Jones Drowned Ammet is startling, especially if you didn’t know that the four books all focus on a different character. We’d just gotten used to Moril and Brid and Dagner and Kialan and all the rest of them, when suddenly we’re starting all over with this Mitt boy, who’s someone completely different. Different, but wonderful nonetheless. There’s something about Mitt I really love. I think it’s his ability to do all the wrong things for all the right reasons and the right things for the wrong reasons. He’s also one of those characters who’s incredibly frustrating because he will be an idiot–not in smartness, but in personality, if that makes sense–but is incredibly rewarding when he does get it.

Anyway. Mitt. Born and bred in Holand, one of the South Dales. When things start going wrong, he and his mother do their best to survive and to do the right thing as they see it. It’s an interesting story in the way it details a group rebelling against a tyrannical overlord–a device which has certainly been overused, especially in fantasy–but in an unconventional way.

The other two main characters are the grandson and granddaughter of the Earl of Holand. The way their path intersects with Mitt’s and how the three grow to a relationship with each other is a fascinating one, but I can’t say much about it because that’s what Jones does.

One of the moments I found fascinating comes at the end of the book and is a major spoiler, but I’ll just say that it made me think a lot about how we construct stories for ourselves and how one person’s version of events is going to be dramatically different from another person’s.

As a side-note: I’m reading these books in publication order rather than internal chronology. I feel fairly strongly personally that this is the better order to read them in. I don’t know if Jones herself has expressed an opinion.

Quote from Drowned Ammet:
“Mitt did not quite forget his perfect land. He remembered it, though a little fuzzily, next time the wind dropped, but he did not set off to look for it again…When an inkling of it came to him in silence, or in scents, or, later, if the wind hummed a certain note, or a storm came shouting in from the sea and he caught the same perfect note in the midst of its noise, he thought of his lost perfect place and felt for a moment as if his heart would break.” p. 9