I am not sure yet whether I am about to find a new home for my bookshelves or not at this site, but I will stretch my snout around the corner and sniff ...
Why is nobody reading this book? It's so interesting - especially Mattie, the emancipated, intelligent, alchemy practicing automaton, who is still bound to her maker by the winding key he refuses to hand over. I keep picturing her soft curls, her metallic limbs, her clockwork heart and her porcelain face as the cute doll from that otherwise awful Oz movie although she is human-sized and an adult.
... Maybe because it's character-driven and a bit melancholically slow?
I resolved to hold my own hand and collect enough courage to finally read "No and Me". I am glad, because it has been a very beautiful and rewarding experience, although at some points I was almost too afraid to go on turning the pages. The ending is realistic and fitting, but also so very, very sad, uncomfortable and soul-haunting.
"Under Amber Skies" has been the most enjoyable story in this collection so far. It is situated in an alternative World War II Poland in a village on the Baltic coast.
The heroine's father is an inventor whose wondrous machines (like kitchen tools and agricultural vehicles) are secretly powered by amber stones. The heroine's mother is a tough patriot who wishes her husband would concentrate on designing new weapons able to destroy the Nazis, who employ metal owls to spy out the enemy.
When her father disappears and her mother grows more and more fanatic, the heroine and the boy she is not allowed to love become a target and have to use their wit ... and a special wrist-watch ... to survive.
'Oh, I am not supposed to have feeling for the other sex. Emotions were the downfall of civilization. Oh, the AI almost touched my cheek and my breath has accelerated to the speed of light. I don't understand ...' Such a disgustingly syruppy, mushy-gushy romance diguised as post-apocalyptic fiction ... Absolutely insufferable, bland, no-dimensional. I am shocked although cover and byline are quite clear about this.
25%: Good Gracious! Why is everybody so extremely interested in Becca's past sex-life? She is being harassed with money offers for blow-jobs and made fun of by girls puking their guts out at parties. So immature and so unbelievable! And she just blushes and cringes ... and swallows the drinks she is given by gossip-hungry classmates. If the book continues in that vein, the ride will be over for me soon.
39%: That's it. Book, we have to part ways.