Uehashi, Underwood, Ursu

With this post, I’m caught up on the women in science fiction and fantasy posts, and Wednesday, posts resume their regular schedule. Today, I talk about books by Nahoko Uehashi and Anne Ursu, as well as a short story by Laura J. Underwood. Lots of fun this week. As ever, if you’ve read anything else by these authors, have other authors to recommend, or just like the sound of these, leave a note in the comments.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi

This book reminded me very strongly of my friend Beth. The strong main character, Balsa, is a woman warrior in a fantasy world based on Japan. There are conspiracies, attempted murders, and the Star Readers, who control the Mikado and his family through their interpretation of the stars. Balsa saves the life of the Second Prince and as her reward, must keep him safe, first from his own father.

This is a beautiful tale, with a well-crafted world and characters whom I wanted to spend time with. Very enjoyable, and recommended.

I couldn’t find a Website for Nahoko Uehashi, but Wikipedia does have an entry for her.

“Song of Frogs” by Laura J. Underwood

A simple story (find it here) about a bard on a journey who takes a detour to visit Frog Lake. One person has warned him; another said there was nothing to fear. His harp urges caution, but he wants to check it out anyway. What he finds and what happens is charming.

There’s nothing terribly deep about this story: The characters are believable but not largely fleshed out, and the world as a whole is barely hinted at. The descriptions, however, are lovely. I’ll be happy to read more by Underwood.

Laura J. Underwood can be found at www.sff.net/people/keltora.

The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu

A rollicking fun read! I started reading and didn’t want to put the book down. I love the characters, I love the voice, I love the way we hear about Charlotte’s attitude and how her mother goes on about it. I love the intelligent animals, the Greek mythology — oh, and how about this line from chapter 2? “Eight of the girls in her class, whose names all began with A, had left for the summer as brunettes and had come back as blondes. They paraded through the hallways like an eerie airhead cult . . . ” (For the record, Charlotte worries about them, thinks they’re fading from being themselves and wonders if it’s possible to bring them back to the way they were. It’s not all snark.)

This is the first book in the Chronus Chronicles, and I’ll definitely be reading the rest. So much fun!

Find Anne Ursu online at www.anneursu.com.

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  1. Loved the ‘Song of Frogs’. Sometimes their night-time cacophony does take on patterns that could be called music!

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