Reading Notes

Tess of The Road by Rachel Hartman: Oh, I loved this. I liked it even more than Seraphina. And I started out absolutely not liking it—because Tess, our heroine, is absolutely not likeable when the story starts. She is full of self-loathing which makes her extremely uncomfortable to be around, and to read about.

I am just so glad that I stuck with Tess and her peregrinations. Tess’s journey is empowering. It is rejuvenating to see Tess crawl out of her emotional hell-hole, and become confident, and able to believe in herself.

The episodic stories, which form a part of the book and do not always further the action but do so much to heal and fill Tess up, are quiet, fun and lovely to read. Quiet. I’d call this a quiet adventure book.

I so so loved the juxtaposition of Tess and her relationship with her mother, with Pathka and her relationship with her daughter. Both are difficult mother-daughter relationships and the contrast between Tess, the daughter’s, and Pathka, the mother’s point of view was eye-opening. It made me look at Tess’s mother in a way I wouldn’t have thought of. There’s a point where Pathka says something to the effect of it’s always easy to blame your mother which made me stop for a moment and think about how often I take my mom for granted too!

Oh, this is just such a refreshing, wonderful read. Go, pick it up!

Semiosis by Sue Burke: A page-turner with interesting ideas about intelligence, and communication, Semiosis takes place on Pax, a far-flung planet in a distant future where a group of humans descend to start anew. The story unfolds in discrete chapters that are narrated by a character in each successive generation of humanity.

The thing that frustrated me the most was the way the author endowed the native sentient species with exactly human-like motivations and aspirations and fears. Which is ok, fine, but also really? (Yes, I’m being very articulate here).

On the other hand, the thing that caught my attention, and came across so clearly was how the act of communication between any two . . . I want to say beings, but the way the book depicts “communication” between and amongst the different species of Pax makes me a) re-think “communication” and b) re-think the definition of being-ness.

What I was going to say at the start of that sentence was that the book made me think about how communication and more importantly an effort towards understanding another, goes such a long way in eliminating fear of the unknown.

I also read and enjoyed One Good Turn by Carla Kelly, and The Right Kind of Girl, and Three for a Wedding by Betty Neel but don’t really have much to say about any of them!

4 thoughts on “Reading Notes

  1. Semiosis sounds like a good book, but it’s a little hard for a Firefly fan to see a planet called “Pax” without thinking of the Pax, a drug designed to make everyone on a planet peaceful. I guess that’s the rub when an author uses a Latin word.


    • Well. . . that’s interesting! There’s a flavor of this in Semiosis. I wonder if Sue Burke was aware of this when writing the book! I wonder if there are more such connections!


  2. Hiiiiii it’s always lovely and exciting to see you posting! I too really liked Tess of the Road, although I think Seraphina is still my favorite Rachel Hartman book. The idea of a suffix that means “the thing and its opposite” is such a good one, though, and I looooved seeing glimpses of Seraphina’s life with the royals.


    • and it is always lovely to read your comments! and yes, I loved the whole -utl philosophy and how it sort of posits combining the binaries rather than pitting them against each other.


That’s what I’m thinking. I’d love to know *your* thoughts!

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