Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Monday, September 25, 2006

5 stars at Curled Up

Curled Up with a Good Book has reviewed another of my books--Ingledove--hurrah! Unexpected and rather late reviews are always fun, especially when they pop up just before the paperback. I had a few late-but-good ones over the summer, and this one is almost perfect timing.

The reviewer, Sarah Meador, is pleasantly aware of my intention to go against the grain of current fantasy and write a very American story: "Adantis is an inescapably American fantasy realm, proud of its mixed magical heritage, quick to reward both independence and hospitality, and somehow boundless. Adantis may be the closest neighbor to Frank L. Baum’s Oz."

She also pays attention to something else I spent some time daydreaming about: how to deal with the erotic in a large and generous way without anything ever happening between a too-young character and a very romantic figure: "Youmans outdoes herself in Ingledove’s relationship with Witchfinder Jarrett. The chemistry between them is never forced or artificial, and their friendship carries the charge of future romance without ever becoming romantic, sexual, or frustrating for Ingledove or the reader."

And the conclusion is kind enough to hope for another volume: "This is a book of magical beauty, as captivating and dangerous as the magic of Adantis. Ingledove’s journey takes her through danger, pain, and sad farewells, but the beauty of Adantis softens the bitterest moments. The final farewell, when Ingledove has to be left behind in the turn of a page, brings all the sorrow that should come from leaving fairyland. There are two spells against that final farewell: one, that Ingledove will walk her hills again; and two, that Youmans might soon lead another voyage into Adantis." Those of us frolicking in the great unwashed mid-list can always use some spare hopes!

The paperback editions of Ingledove and The Curse of the Raven Mocker are forthcoming from editor Sharyn November's Firebird (Penguin) imprint on November 2nd and 7th. For a complete version of this review, click on the link above.

Oh, and that cover picture is by Renato Alarcão. His new web site and marvelous pictures are featured in the post below. He also did the new paperback image for The Curse of the Raven Mocker. It replaces the original Steve Cieslawski jacket, also lovely, so that the two paperback covers are a 'matched' pair.

11 comments:

  1. wow! thats rad!!!!

    Congratulations, they look like books that parents would also find interesting, and the cover art is really beautiful.

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  2. I'm glad my review was conveniently, if belatedly, timed. I shall take my cue from the cat, and pretend I always planned it that way.

    It's disappointing to find you're in the mid-lists, though. How can we get Adanta some of the attention it so richly deserves?

    Sarah Meador

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  3. Hello, Sarah Meador!

    How interesting to have your name show up! Please take full credit for the timing, and thank you.

    I'm hoping that the Firebird imprint will carry weight with readers, as I think there's an unusual degree of interest in the line as a whole.

    Beyond that, I don't know--I've never gotten a "push" from a publisher, though I've done the things one is "supposed" to do. It's a funny game, publishing, and I'm always open to bright new ideas...

    Hi Susanna--

    Yes, Renato is quite a master of illustration... The books often get "cross-marketed" comments in reviews fairly frequently--good for adults or children.

    The post below has a link to his website (scrumptious) and a couple of his pictures.

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  4. Congratulations, Marly - looks gorgeous on the outside and sounds gorgeous within - I have to see more. Just ordering them now.

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  5. That's lovely, Clare--hope you like the them! Nice to think of them in the Hodmandod domicile, marked with the silvery streaks of snails...

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  6. You will recall I absolutely hoped for a third book in this series. (if not a fourth and fifth as well). Glad to see Sarah agrees.

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  7. Thrilling and wonderful and champagne-toastworthy!!! And the reviewer is SO right, too! I.e., she thinks exactly what I thought.

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  8. Jarvenpa,
    Due notice has been sent to the muse, a whimsical creature.

    And thanks to Laura
    and all. It is fun to get a review after you think they have ceased...

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  9. Hi I read your book "The Curse of the Raven Mocker." I thought it was the best book ever!!! My friend Connie gave it to me. You wrote a message: "I hope you enjoy flying with ravens!" and oh yes I did!!!
    I can't wait to read the next book "Ingle Dove."
    I'm wondering about what happens to Adanta's mother & the baby birdling? will I learn in the next book?

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  10. Hi I read your book "The Curse of the Raven Mocker." I thought it was the best book ever!!! My friend Connie gave it to me. You wrote a message: "I hope you enjoy flying with ravens!" and oh yes I did!!!
    I can't wait to read the next book "Ingle Dove."
    I'm wondering about what happens to Adanta's mother & the baby birdling? will I learn in the next book?

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  11. Oh, I know the one you mean--the book, and the Connie, and the Robin. And you are a bold Robin to soar with ravens!

    No, Ingledove will be familiar in setting, but it takes place at a different time. But you will recognize--if you pay sharp attention--an old man who was a young man in the first book.

    My third child wants me to right one for him, so perhaps I shall revisit that birdling.

    Come back any time, Robin, and make sure you let me know how you like the next one!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.