A translation of a Mexican gothic Dracula retelling, focussing on the Captain of the Demeter.
Ring Shout takes place after World War 1, where in the southern United States, the Ku Klux Klan are on the rise. Except in this stories, instead of being just monstrous humans, they are monsters.
The novel has a pretty fun concept, basically the French Revolution but with magic. And that rights include the rights of commoners to wield their magic (parallel with voting rights see?) And we see the action from three points: Robespierre in France, Pitt and Wilberforce in London, and Toussaint (again through the eyes of Fina, who is a slave who escapes Jamaica).
The first thing I appreciated was that even though it takes place in The Terror of Revolutionary France, the details that build the universe are all very personal to the characters.
We follow a group of bandits, who inadvertently get hijacked by a nun, Guet Imm. It is a fairly straight forward plot – going to delivery some good – with somethings going awry in the process.
The story itself was just very well woven, told through different artefacts (which again helped with the world building) that had belonged to the empress during her time in exile. Rabbit and Chih had very different personalities, alongside the Empress who we se through the eyes of Rabbit.
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.
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.
The Poppy War uses the general frame of Chinese history in the 20th century, but reshapes it with its own fantasy elements. So there’s an invasion from an island nation (Japan), the influx of opium and heroin but then the fantasy elements of being able to call upon gods and become shamans are mixed in with all that.