sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
sophia_sol ([personal profile] sophia_sol) wrote2017-08-09 07:12 pm

Everfair, by Nisi Shawl

Gosh, what a good book! A slow start - a slow most of it, actually, but very worthwhile. I love the way it shows over and over that there are no easy, uncomplicated answers for anything.

This book's premise is that it fixes the horrific stuff that happened at King Leopold's hand in the Belgian Congo, with bonus steampunk. I had started this book wanting/thinking it was going to be a utopian AU and was at first disappointed when it became clear it wasn't going to do that (though it DOES fix the worst of the atrocities as promised), but the further I got the more I appreciated what it was doing instead, with the complexities of reality.

And this theme is in part supported by the odd choice to have approximately a million main/viewpoint characters: it means you are always getting to see the other side of things that from one POV seemed obviously right.

All the viewpoints do make it a challenging read, since you have to remember about so many different characters, and also you never get to see quite as much of each person's story as you might want, but though a book with only one or two main characters would be an easier read and a more conventional choice, it would have lost the breadth of the story this book is trying to tell. That other book might also have been an interesting and worthwhile read but it would have been of necessity a totally different thing.

(And the book as it is very kindly gives you a character guide right at the beginning where you can't miss it! I definitely found it helpful.)