Monday, 8 May 2017

Review: The Door in the Hedge

The Door in the Hedge The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's Robin McKinley, so it is, of course, beautifully written (with a caveat I'll get to in a moment).

It's in the fairy-tale genre, so you need to be willing to accept that princes and princesses are (nearly) all wise, beautiful, good, brave, and kind. There is one commoner protagonist, but the rest are all royal, and noble in both senses of the word.

You also need to be able to accept that marrying people off to other people who they've never spent any time with is a reasonable thing to do, and that (in at least one case) the woman's consent is not particularly required for this. Leave your feminism, as well as your Marxism, if any, at the door. You could blame the source genre, but... eh. The author managed to give a female protagonist plenty of agency in The Blue Sword. I found the king offering his daughters up as prizes hard to forgive.

My other gripe is about the semicolons. An occasional semicolon is fine; it shows that two thoughts are linked together more tightly than two separate sentences would convey. But when the vast majority of your sentences include a semicolon (I am not exaggerating - far more sentences have one than lack one), and not a few of them contain two semicolons, at that point it's moved beyond a stylistic choice, and has gone all the way past an annoying tic to become an outright fault in the writing.

If none of those three issues bother you too much, these are beautifully told (or retold) stories by a highly capable author.

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