Monday, May 30, 2016

A Tangle of Gold

by Jacqueline Moriarty

Story summary: Don't want to spoil too much from the end of the previous book. So I'll leave it vague: The royal family still has difficulties with forgetting who they are, the colours are still attacking in larger and larger numbers, and there are yet more political factions with their own agenda. How are the Royal Youth Alliance and a girl from Cambridge going to save the whole Kingdom?
Sequel to the other The Colours of Madeleine books: A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom.1

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Complicated human relationships
  • Dysfunctional but interesting and realistic families
  • Unique and beautiful fantasy world
  • Strange and unexpected plots twists
  • It's the kind of book that makes me want to research all these historical figures (huge plus for me)

And Why You Might Not:
  • The writing is somewhat stylized, in a way which usually doesn't work at all for me, so I can see it not working well for someone else
  • I liked the plot twists as well, but I did see many of them coming ahead of time.

Thoughts: Jacqueline Moriarty is, as far as I can think, the only YA Contemporary author I actually really enjoy. Now technically, this book isn't YA Contemporary--it's fantasy. But much of the series still takes place in an ordinary, non-magical England, and besides, it has the style. This certain kind of poetical style, these certain kinds of relationships. I can't define it exactly, but usually it does pretty much nothing for me. For Moriarty, I actually really like it, stylized writing and all.

In fact, the characters and relationships and writing style may be my favourite part, even considering the fantasy elements--though those are cool as anything. Those living colours... They are vaguely described and I still have no idea what they actually are. But they fit. They fit the poetical and yet down-to-earth tone of the books.

Note about a spoilery thing that bothered me a bit, but not enough to change my opinion of the book at all since it was so inconsequential (rot13 to translate):
Bx, fb Wnpx fcrag lrnef naq lrnef nf n onol, naq qbrfa'g erzrzore orpnhfr, jryy, ur jnf n onol. Ohg V qba'g guvax vg npghnyyl jbexf gung jnl. Onovrf ner abg ynpxvat va zrzbel naq vagryyvtrapr. Va snpg, dhvgr gur bccbfvgr. Gurl unir gb npghnyyl qvfpbire jung orvat nyvir zrnaf, gb abg bayl yrnea n ynathntr ohg gb yrnea jung ynathntr vgfrys vf. V'z cerggl qnea fher Wnpx jbhyq unir erzrzorerq, naq va snpg, orra noyr gb fcrnx naq guvax nf fbzrbar jub'q yvirq gung znal lrnef, qrfcvgr uvf onol obql. Zvaq lbh, V'z abg n puvyq rkcreg be nalguvat. Znlor V'z jebat? Nyfb, gurer vf zntvp ng jbex urer. Zntvp punatrf guvatf, boivbhfyl. Fgvyy, vg obgurerq zr.

Grade: 3 1/2 stars

If You Like This, You Might Also Like:
  • The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jacqueline Moriarty: It always feels like cheating to recommend a book by the same author, because if you liked this, you'll probably go on and read her other books on your own. You don't need someone to tell you to do that. What you want are authors you may not have heard of, or whom you didn't know were so good. But this book is just so good (my favourite by her, for sure--great main character especially), and I only have so many YA Contemporaries I can recommend. So here we go.
  • Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman: Because Goodman is also Australian! Ok, that is a bit a stretch, but there's more in common than you might think. Basically it's the speculative fiction with a contemporary YA feel thing. StDB is much more SciFi than the definitively Fantasy Colours of Madeline series, but there's still a focus on growing up and learning about life and YA stuff like that.

1This is totally not important, but it bugs me that the first and third books have the title format "A [Something] of [Colour]", and the second is completely different. Consistency! Have it, people! It makes me happy! (That should be a good enough reason, right?)

No comments: