Confession time: I never read any Ursula Le Guin as a child or as a teenager. The first time I picked up a book by her was when reading/torturing myself with The List.
So. The plot is…difficult to describe. Essentially there are gods and realms. Then this guy shows up to the Border Keeper (like a really strong god) and asked for help. They have to traverse different realms and ask permission and weird shit happens.
So, as the title suggests, this is a retelling of Frankenstein, except set in occupied Baghdad, post American invasion.
There isn’t a lot of fighting in this novel, it’s more about intrigue like in A Memory Called Empire. In this case it is Eolo, aide to the Heir to Raven’s Lease, has to unravel a mystery – but one that has its foundations long before he was born.
It’s not a chronological history, but tells stories about particular fights in the UK to advance the rights of women. I even knew some of the stories as they intersected with my PhD (like Marie Stopes being…eccentric).
The central premise rejects the claims that the women were all prostitutes, but more importantly it was to actually give space for their lives to be told. And they are just such heartbreaking stories: domestic abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, bereavement.
So I didn’t get on with The Stars are Legion, so much so that I can’t even remember what it was about (even the review doesn’t help). But anyway, I got on with this one much better. It’s less weird, though it’s all time travel-y and you have to piece things together as you go.
Nuns in space! What’s not to love?
In short, the plot revolves around Mahit, from Lsel station. She is summoned by the Empire, after the former ambassador mysteriously died. But everything becomes complicated very quickly and Mahit must survive on her wits and try to keep her station safe from the Empire.
This whopping great brick of a novel (700 pages and change) follows the members of the Athena club on an adventure to Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing, daughter of the famous Dr Van Helsing.