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[personal profile] paradox_dragon posting in [community profile] 25book_pwd
Urban fantasy set in Toronto. Several protagonists, one of whom is disabled, a couple of whom are queer. Stand-alone novel. I liked it.



The novel had an ensemble cast, including a social worker, a street musician/bard, an Adept of the Light (there is this whole epic battle between Light and Dark thing going on which I am kind of bored with, but I really liked the characters so I'm fine with that), a bag lady, a woman who bakes muffins (best job ever!), and a cat.

One of the protagonists, Rebecca (who bakes muffins and also has the Sight), has a developmental disability. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the way Huff wrote her through most of the book, as I was bracing for fail (your mileage may vary, since I don't share her disability and am quite possibly missing stuff). However, there is at least one violent scene I'd consider potentially triggering that revolves around Rebecca's disability, and a few problematic incidents that I noted (there is also a reveal at the end which, if I am reading it correctly--and I'm not sure I am--makes me very angry re: Rebecca's disability, and undoes a lot of the positives Huff had going, IMO), so you might want to proceed with caution. On the other hand, Huff writes about a lot of everyday ableist attitudes as well as framing disability at least partially as a social construct, rather than an inherent negative. And she questions the desexualization and infantilization of women with disabilities, including an explicit acknowledgment of sexual consent issues that gets a bit hand-waved by supernatural means, but which I was still glad to see. I also just really like Rebecca as a character, even though I'm not comfortable with all aspects of the way Huff wrote her; she's my favorite.

Daru Sastri, Rebecca's social worker, is also really kickass. Huff likes to write snarky, hard-headed women and Daru is definitely one of them. She's also very ethical and dedicated, which I like. Plus she's a woman of color, which I would love to see Huff write more of.

Roland is probably the main character in the ensemble--we see most stuff through his point of view, and he gets most of the moral and emotional development in the story. He's bisexual (as is Evan, the Adept of Light) and struggles with his sexuality in the novel. Like the bards in her Quarters novels (see my reviews here and here), he uses music to do magic and shape reality (though I think the Quarters novels were far less simplistic in exploring this). I like Roland, but he's definitely not my favorite. This is becoming a trend in Huff--I almost always like the protagonist less than the rest of her characters.

Side note: I did not like the way one of the minor characters, the large blonde lady from down the hall, was treated (that is what she is usually called, I think she was named at some point but I don't remember what). In short, I thought it was fat-phobic. She was fat, and laughable, and vain despite being portrayed as unattractive, and bigoted. I feel like "fat" comes too close to being shorthand for "despicable" here. Though I may be reading too much into it.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel a lot. It's some of Huff's earlier work (1989), and that shows, but I'd recommend it, especially if you like urban fantasy.

This is an older review of mine, but it's relevant so I thought I'd to ahead and post it.

Also yay! I am so happy this comm exists and I am looking forward to finding new reading material.

Date: 2010-11-15 03:38 pm (UTC)
geeksdoitbetter: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geeksdoitbetter
thanks!

this book was avail from paperbackswap, and will soon be mine

Date: 2010-11-30 09:48 pm (UTC)
geeksdoitbetter: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geeksdoitbetter
just finished reading last night

~huh~

i'm curious about your identification of roland as bi

was it coz he finally accepted the attraction at the end?

which, to my mind, makes him a straight guy waffling thru the entire book - not the bi character i was expecting

but, come to think on it, mebbe that just an issue of timing. mebbe i could reframe it as this week being his coming out story

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