Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lev Grossman's "The Girl in the Mirror"

Unlike the previous few stories this one did not awe me in the same way, and I know why - because the concept of a wizard's school is so ingrained as a Harry Potter thing that it is quite hard not to envision Hoggwarts when reading about these girls studying magic. The rooms we see are similar to Hoggwarts too. And I realize that this might just be the author doing it on purpose, but for me it doesn't quite work. He employs a few tricks to take us away from happy Potter-land, though, like fouler language, but in the end, this story could have worked as a small Potter episode, featuring other students at Hoggwarts. Naughtier students. This school is in the USA however, and the author does employ some good ideas that made reading it entertaining; especially the sequence where the main character, Plum, ends up in a transdimensional kind of world within the school. It's all very magical, while the plot itself is decidedly mundane (though fun): a group of girls calling themselves the League are pulling a complex prank on another student. The author nails Plum as a young female character, the way she talks and thinks is spot on, and the best part of "The Girl in the Mirror". The ending left me more confused than thoughtful, though. If you could explain to me just what the heck happened toward the end there, I'd appreciate it. So in conclusion it is certainly a well written little tale, but the trappings made it hard for me to immerse myself, which is my fault, not the author's. It was funny and engaging, and easy to read (for a non-English-speaking fellow like myself).

This puts me about halfway through Dangerous Women, and Martin's piece is looming nearer but so far I am quite content with what I've read so far. From regretting the impulse purchase to being happy I bought it, after all.

There are rumors floating, by the way, that Martin is almost done with The Winds of Winter. This mongering of rumors appears to have been born out of an interview with Roy Doltice or whatever his name is, the guy who did the audiobooks and played the pyromancer Hallyne in Game of Thrones. Maybe this is why Martin can so comfortably state on his site that he's going to relax with some football on TV? Or maybe it's just crock and we're still years away from a sixth novel., as the author himself has indicated in various interviews. It is so easy to cling to hope, when reality is disappointing.

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