Reading a really, really, really good book is pretty much my favorite thing in the whole world—it’s right up there with rainstorms and purring cats and Chopin Ballades. The only thing better is reading TWO really, really really good books right in a row.
Enter Starcrossed, by Elizabeth C. Bunce, and Plain Kate, by Erin Bow, both of which I had the pleasure of nabbing at the library a week and a half ago. Seriously, WOW.
Starcrossed follows the story of Digger, a thief-turned-lady’s-maid who’s being blackmailed to spy on a bunch of nobles in a snowbound castle. Set in a Renaissance-inspired fantasy world awash with religious persecution, magic and secrets abound…
I adored this book. It’s like the Attolia series and Crown Duel meets BBC’s Merlin, which is all kinds of amazing. Fabulous character development, fantastic writing, lots of interesting-and-unexpected-plot-developments, and an all around beautiful and compelling story. I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel, Liar’s Moon, due out next fall (I think?).
Plain Kate is an exquisite gem of a novel that captured my heart and then proceeded to wrench it thoroughly. It’s the story of Kate, a skilled wood carver accused of witchcraft, who trades her shadow for the means to escape her town. It’s Russian in flavor, and filled with color and heart; the prose is deceptively simple and as gorgeous as it is unusual. The story itself just about made me break down sobbing in several places; it has real resonance and depth. I finished it last Thursday and still can’t quite stop thinking about it. Also, there is an amazing and adorable TALKING CAT, for whom I fell completely head over heels. (Heart you, Taggle!!) A really, really wonderful book.
Both are HIGHLY recommended, and are for sure going on my “Best Reads of 2010” list.