The blurb reminded me of Kate & Leopold, the movie that put Hugh Jackman on my radar as an actor. After reading the first three chapters, I put the book away. Not bad, but I couldn‘t work up much interest. August (Kate) mets Jane (Leopold) in the subway and eventually realizes that something fishy is going on, namely that Jane is from the 1970s. Nice idea, I‘m just not feeling it. DNF for now, around 19% and 70-odd pages. It‘s probably me.
P.S.: I really liked her previous book, Red, White & Royal Blue.
“What Earthsea and the Hainish Cycle have in common is maximal impact with minimal page count.”From the ebook introduction
After reading the first three chapters, I put this away, as I wasn‘t having fun with it. When this was published in 1969, it might have been a groundbreaking work. Now, after having read my share of gender-bending novels, this felt dated to me. The writing is dry, the style is not engaging me. Little plot progression, no exploration of the characters, to whom I felt absolutely no emotional connection.
It‘s probably also not quite what I was expecting. I read the blurb and thought „genderless society, lots of commentary and exploration about their personal interactions and divergence compared to our society“, but none of that happened in the first 60 pages.
The topic of loyalty and betrayal could have introduced more tension, but was told just as blandly. By the time I reached the supposedly more interesting part of their travel North, I had lost my will to continue. I am not interested to keep on going in the hopes of more.
One thing that irritated me deeply: The characters are all genderless, with brief exceptions of their „kemmer“, aka fertile periods / their Time / heat. Yet they are all being referred to as „he“. Which wouldn’t necessarily be an issue—Leckie does the same thing in reverse in her Imperial Radch novels and I had no issue with it. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite, I am not sure. I plan to re-read Ancilliary Justice this year, so I will pay more attention to that. However, when descriptions were made of someone appearing or behaving feminine in some way (irritating in itself), it was always with a negative slant. Maybe the point was to show how strange the situation was for the narrator, but it just made me dislike the book deeply. Why do female authors do that?
Another strange point was the narrator not seeming to be interested in what was going on in the society he was supposed to get to know. Odd.
Maybe I should have expected something slow and not obvious, considering that this was first published in 1969. This reminded me of Foreigner, which was also a book of only middling success for me. I guess in the future I should just stay away from the SF Classics.
DNF around 20%. No impact in too many pages. I might revisit this review or the book again at some point.