May 16th, 2010

[info]seanlily in [info]book_discuss

A few reviews of what I've read lately

Ballad a Gathering of Faerie is a sequel to Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. Ballad switches focus and James is the narrator, and he and Dee are students at Thornking-Ash school.  Though they survived the faerie dilemma, their friendship is not quite the same and they hardly speak. James is befriended by Nuala, a faerie that lives by sucking out the life of humans, but she gives them amazing talent in exchange. James refuses but things get tougher as more and more faeries arrive waiting for some big Halloween showdown.

I liked James very much and Nuala was an interesting faerie, but like the first novel, I felt that there was a slow build up to a quick end and it felt unsatisfying when it was all done. I recommend Stiefvater, I just don’t rave about her.

Turkish Embassy Letters

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an interesting woman, a woman of her times, but also some modern views.  Lady Mary and her husband travel to Turkey in 1716 where he has been appointed ambassador. They travel through Europe (though parts are still of the Ottoman Empire), spend a lot of time in Vienna and she criticizes the politics and while they face hardships, they arrive safely. Lady Mary writes in great detail about people, clothing styles, food, politics, there is nothing that doesn’t catch her fancy.  Her letters are addressed to various people, family, friends like Alexander Pope. They stay in Turkey for 2 years and in her later life she and her husband live separate lives and she travels around Europe, dying in London at 73.

I found Lady Mary an interesting woman, intelligent, contrary views, inquisitive and her Turkish Embassy Letters are an interesting read, details of the times and a great insight into early travel.

Letters from India - Eliza Fay

Not much is known about Eliza Fay, but her Letters from India were used by E.M. Forster for information on India and his novel Passage to India.  I found Eliza interesting and her letters detailed about some things and full of adventure. She had an interest in travel even though on her first trip she was chased by brigands,  she was jailed, and then divorced her husband and was left to fend for herself.  She and her husband go to India where he is to be a lawyer, they travel across France in 1779, over the Alps into Italy and then Egypt and over to India where they were held prisoner for several months before being let go and settling in Calcutta.  Her husband proceeds to get involved with the “wrong people” among other things, and they end up splitting.  Eliza heads back to England, and later she takes another trip to India and also the Americas.

I enjoyed this, though I’m not that big on reading letters, I found Eliza interesting and enjoyed her enthusiasm.