– goodreads –
ARC received from the publisher (Tor.com) in exchange for an honest review.
Sometimes, you know a book will be perfect for you going into it. Sometimes, like here, you stumble into it completely unawares. It was the cover that first caught my eye, and then the blurb – a woman with a perfect memory looking for answers. But it was the prose and the narrative style that won me over. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I still think it’s best to go in blind and knowing no more than that, but if you need more convincing…
The narrative is fragmentary, each chapter from the point of view of a different character telling something to our protagonist, who remains invisible. She moves through the story like a ghost, seen and spoken to, but never heard. A trick like that takes skill. I’m not sure it would work in a novel, but Polansky did it masterfully.
Along the way, we slowly learn what Manet, our protagonist is looking for and how the current state of affairs came to be. The setting and its history are a delight. I also loved how it played with themes of truth and the cost of learning it, propaganda, revolutions, power.
Since the hints are dribbled slowly, since none of the narrators is very reliable and many of them are odd, you have to do some assembly yourself. But oh, do I ever love it.
Recommended to: fans of literary fantasy, those looking for stories told in unique ways, if you liked The Gray House or City of Saints and Madmen but are looking for something shorter
Not recommended to: I don’t know, those who like their stories told in a straightforward fashion?