Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shades of Milk and Honey

So. Shades of Milk and Honey is the first book in the series I recently fell in love with "The Glamorist Histories" by Mary Robinette Kowal. I read and reviewed the second book before reading the first one. You can check out my very favorable review here.  I was of course very excited to read the first book in the series. 

As I expected it was not as good. However seeing as it was the author's first published novel and that the second book was amazing I decided to love it for what it was and not be disappointed.

Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite this key change in history, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men.

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right--and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.
As with Glamour in Glass the worldbuilding was beautiful. The descriptions of how glamour worked were harder to understand but aside from that I found the setting well described and delightful. It had a real Jane Austen feel to it.

In all honesty I don't believe I would have tried the second book if I had read this one first. The plot was cliched, rushed, and the side characters lacked development.  The book seemed to rely on concept rather than on plot, characters, or writing. Don't get me wrong it's a great concept Jane Austen with magic, {read my review of the second book to see how I felt about the magic part of it} but it wasn't enough to carry the whole story.

Because I had already fallen in love with jane and Vincent I got a certain "yessssss!" feeling out of their romance but the writer side of me was increasingly frustrated by the lack of development.

I would not suggest reading this book first. Overall I had a blast reading it but I could see very clearly that if I wasn't already invested in the characters I would not have enjoyed it. I would instead suggest that you do as I did. read the second book and then try the first one for kicks.

Overall rating? Two and a half out of five stars.


Melody said...

Waaaaaait there's a character named Melody? Do you realize how seldom that happens in books that are anything I'd want to read???


Although for the Regency era that's nooooot very accurate, but let's ignore that detail. (The cover looks more like Edwardian though, really...

Ashley said...

I just read this, and wasn't very sure I wanted to read the second one, but I'll try it. I liked the first book because of the glamour, but that was basically it. And yes, the only reason I kept reading was because of the concept, not the plot.

P.S. Your cover is waaaaaay better than mine.