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A Daughter of No Nation, by A.M. Dellamonica - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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A Daughter of No Nation, by A.M. Dellamonica [Dec. 9th, 2015|06:23 am]
Marissa Lingen

Review copy provided by Tor.

This is the sequel to Child of a Hidden Sea, and I recommend that you read that first.  I am a sucker for a middle book; this is very thoroughly one. I am also a sucker for a portal fantasy, and this is that, too. The culture clash aspects of it run very high, not just for plot but also for humorous moments, the kind of humor that has some lines you can quote but some things that are character and situation, the kind that are hardest to read out to someone because they’re so embedded in the book itself.  Which is the kind I like best.

It’s not all about the humor, though–this is not the sort of slapsticky book that gets described as “humorous fantasy.” (I don’t like humorous fantasy–I say this a lot, I have said it again in an email just today–because I like things that are funny.)  There’s quite a lot of serious stuff about how to handle being in the middle of a culture doing something you disapprove of–in this case slavery–and figuring out the lines between people you like and people you trust.  And there’s also magic and complicated family relationships and questions of foreign ecosystems and science research when people don’t want you to do science research.  It’s a romp but not a brainless one.  First and foremost, though, I’m pleased to have a portal fantasy that’s doing interesting stuff, because you can pretty much always get me to sign on for that.

Please consider using our link to buy A Daughter of No Nation from Amazon.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: sartorias
2015-12-09 01:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, that sounds like fun!

It goes onto the wish list.
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[User Picture]From: autopope
2015-12-10 12:43 pm (UTC)
You will not be disappointed: as noted, start with "Child of a Hidden Sea" first, but I'm betting you'll want to buy this one before you're more than a chapter in.
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[User Picture]From: sartorias
2015-12-10 01:00 pm (UTC)
Okay, sold.
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[User Picture]From: nancylebov
2015-12-09 01:58 pm (UTC)
I describe a lot of "humorous" fantasy as being full of humor-shaped objects.
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2015-12-09 03:00 pm (UTC)
I hadn't realized when I requested the two books from my library that they were humorous (it was clear that they were portal fantasy!), and I have to confess that that decreases my initial interest; my reaction to humor is unpredictable and there is a nontrivial risk that it will leave me cold (for example, long ago I saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and found it unspeakably tedious from eggs to apples). The serious content you mention makes it sound more promising.

Portal fantasy as such is a bit old-fashioned as a genre—we have indirect exposition now, which makes it unnecessary to have a Dorothy Gale or a John Carter on a journey of discovery in a strange land—but I have to say I still find it enjoyable, perhaps because it's such a good model for my lifelong experience of the primary world. After all, "being in the middle of a culture doing something you disapprove of" has been my situation since I first came to moral awareness.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-12-09 03:11 pm (UTC)
I think portal fantasy can only be improved by being wanted for itself rather than as an exposition device.
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[User Picture]From: autopope
2015-12-10 12:45 pm (UTC)
It's not a humorous series. Rather, the author tackles her material with an appropriate level of wit. (And the premise of book 1 takes a fire-axe to one of the cliches of portal fantasy -- that the visitor-protagonist should be able to fit in seamlessly in the world they find themselves in.)
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2015-12-10 06:15 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that. I do read some humor—I could hardly be a Laundry fan if I didn't!—but my taste for humor is quirky; and I'm more likely to enjoy it if there's seriousness underneath.

I'm not sure I've seen much portal fantasy with what you call a cliché. It almost seems to me that "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" is the central theme of what I've read. But maybe we've read different books and series.
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[User Picture]From: avrelia
2015-12-09 07:27 pm (UTC)
I've actually recently started reading Child of a Hidden Sea and I find it immensely enjoyable - every character beat seems perfect to my taste, the people, the culture, and scientific curiosity, the politics... So the second book will be a must read for me.
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