Review – Without a Summer

Cover of Without a SummerWithout a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal

When I’m just reading this and not thinking too much about it, I love it. If I try and pick nits, I’m less enthused — like sometimes I just think about Jane’s behaviour for a moment too long, and want to slap her down. She jumps to conclusions, acts like Melody is brainless, dismisses her… If I think about it too much, my frustrations with Jane take the shine off things a little.

So: why I like it — it’s so easy to read. I love the relationship between Vincent and Jane, at least as far as he’s concerned; I think she could stand to trust him more, but I also think that there’s reasons she doesn’t and that she works on it, which helps. I love the small ways the trauma of his past is made clear: very little is said about his father, it’s all in the way he acts, in the little tells like the nervous whine at the back of his throat… I liked Vincent’s mother’s part, the way her actions speak of the same traumas, and yet also of love and determination.

I like the political plot behind this, too: the use of real history interwoven with the magic of this world, the issues with Irish people and problems of interaction between aristocracy and working people… It works pretty well, for me at least.

Rating: 4/5

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8 thoughts on “Review – Without a Summer

  1. I really liked this one, and I lean back and forth on Jane’s attitude towards Melody. Sometimes I’m like, okay, it makes sense for her to treat her that way, and other times, well… I just want shake some sense into Jane and it’s hard to read.

    Everything else about this book is interesting and it flows and is really cool, so *shrugs?*

    • Yeah, I hear you on that one. Like I said, if I don’t think about it too much it’s okay, but then I do and I’m like, really? You never noticed your sister is shortsighted? You just blamed it all on her being, what, lazy?

  2. That’s true with so many books. If we stop to really analyze things we’ll find all sorts of problems. I try to go on how a book makes me feel, but if something about the author’s style pisses me off or annoys me at the beginning I’ll keep noticing more things and all the nit-picks will ruin the book for me.

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