Review: Vermilion

Vermilion by Molly Tanzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #41 for 2016
Old Firehouse Books Summer Reading Bingo Square: A book that is out of your comfort zone.
Habitica’s Legendary Book Club Modest Reading Challenge Task: A book that you own but have never read.

I really enjoyed this weird west adventure and its use of Chinese mythologies. There was some cool world-building with the whole psychopomp gig, and I liked a lot of the characters.

It’s a good thing I liked Lou because for a third-person narrative, we spent a lot of time in her head. The interiority got to be a bit much sometimes, especially when I was reminded very painfully just how uncertain, self-conscious, and yes, stupid 19-year-old girls can be. But I can see how this could be very useful to a lot of readers. I can see how, if steampunk/weird west is a genre new to them, they would appreciate not having to read between the lines so much. Me, I like having to puzzle out motivations and conflicts, but I realize that I may not be typical in that regard.

I’m still not sure what I thought of the bears and the sea lions. On one level, cool, talking bears! On another, though, is this really necessary? Well, I suppose so, if you’re going to negotiate treaties and such with them, but it still felt like a really odd way of manipulating the plot. I also thought some of the erotica flourishes were gratuitous. And what was with all the blushing? All through the book, you couldn’t go but a few pages without somebody blushing.

All in all, though, a fun and interesting read, and I expect I’ll read the next book in the series.

View all my reviews


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