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 Of late I have read:

I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith

This has been sitting around on my to-read list since I was about eight years old, being the ur-example of that teenaged girl coming-of-age journalling genre that I read tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of when I was smaller. It's been there for so long that I no longer even think "Oh, I must read that," when I see it, because that thought is pretty much background noise in my mind.

But anyway, I picked it up at the library a couple of weeks ago, and started reading it, and it was super compelling. The characters are all weird and quirky and live in a ruined castle, and it's very much the ancestor of Montmaray, in particular. I took issue with Cassandra only in that she was Super Dramatic about unrequited love, and being sad about unrequited love is a fairly foreign concept to me - I kind of find having a crush on someone enjoyable, regardless of whether you get anything back out of it.

It was also nice to see that when she produced ridiculously long journal entries, it was acknowledged that she did in fact sit down all day and just write, or take several days to get one event written down, unlike, say, Beka "I'm so tired but I'm just going to dash off this 10, 000 word dramatic account of my day before bed" Cooper, who was I found a particularly egregious offender in that regard.

Anyway, it was an emotional wringer, but I liked it.


Void - Rhiannon Lassiter

This was a a YA dystopian trilogy which has been compiled into a single volume, and somehow had managed to escape my notice for the last almost two decades, in spite of the fact that the first book was published in 1998. Anyway, the premise is pretty much that some portion of the population are Hexes, who have a genetic mutation that allows them to....psychically commune with the internet, and there's an oppressive government (the European Federation (this looked much more like alarmist Brexit propaganda that it probably did when it was written)) who wants to kill them all because they're too powerful and will bring down the oppressive regime.

It is full of Ridiculous Characters - for a taste, the two main characters are a brother-and-sister pair called Raven and Wraith. Raven is a distant, aloof, I-work-alone magical hacker. Her hair is described as a cloud, and a dark veil, and her eyes are alternately described as obsidian and onyx. Sometimes we change points of view solely so other characters can talk about how her tragic past made it hard for her to learn to connect with people. Wraith has Dramatically White hair, for contrast, and while his sister was developing her reputation as a fearless hacker in Denver (???) ran with street gangs who had a strong honour code about loyalty, which still colour his ethics now, even though he's left that past behind.

Every time a new character was introduced, they were just as over the top as this pair. It was deeply silly. The writing was ridiculous. I enjoyed it a lot.

Also in its favour: There was not one single romantic subplot in the whole three books. Raven was allowed to hate people, while Wraith had parental instincts about the Hex children they picked up, which was nice and ungendered.

Apparently there was briefly talk of a movie in like 2011, and I am a little sad that this didn't happen, because it would've been a beautiful kind of awful.
 

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