October 22nd, 2010


The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear

Review copy provided by Tor.

According to the information on the ARC, this is due out in February. I live in Minnesota and am going to spend a total of one night this year by the seaside. So the odds that I would read this book with the ocean crashing outside my window were pretty low. And yet here we are.

I think that "large" and "small" get used as pejorative too often when discussing the scope of a book, "small" in particular. When previous books in a series have been all about world-shaking events, for the natural end of a trilogy to be about personal healing and personal consequences is something it's hard to put in proper context. And it's not that personal consequences, in this case, have no potential for the shaking of the world. They always have. That's how this series goes. But the focus is very clear, very personal, in this one.

And it is focused. It is the "morning when it's that kind of cloudy day that's too bright but sunglasses don't work either" kind of lighting, not like the way I described By the Mountain Bound as high contrast between smoky dark of the mead hall and bright sunlight on snow. With By the Mountain Bound and All the Windwracked Stars, I could see--I suppose--some dispute as to which should be read first. But this should be read last. This is a going on and going forward book that needs to come at the end of the trilogy. The other two are tributary to it, emotionally speaking. By the Mountain Bound is still my favorite. But this one is an ending and a mending and an acknowledgment of other things that can't be mended and just have to be gone on with. And the recurrence of stubborn human girls continues.

"What's it like to be the family of the last and first einherjar in the world?" Well. Here you go, this is the book. The ways that family hurt each other, and the ways that family heal each other, and the ways that family sometimes have to step back and watch even if it kills them. And not having to bring about the end of the world all over again, we hope. Ideally not every time. Now that this trilogy is a whole thing, I can say that I like the whole thing. Go read, when you can.