Book Review: Shades of Milk and Honey

I previously mentioned that I would publish reviews for books I have read, but unfortunately I have been so terribly busy that I have hardly had time to read- tragic, I know- let alone write and publish a review. The other day, though, I decided to sit myself down and work on reading the large stack of books from the library that has taken a seemingly permanent residence upon my nightstand.  This is the first novel I chose.

Shades of Milk and Honey written by Mary Robinette Kowal.  It is quite a jewel that I have stumbled upon.  I first heard of this remarkable novel whilst watching a Vlog from one of the famous Green brothers (Hank, to be precise). I decided that if he read it and recommended it, that I ought to at least check it out from the library, which for me is the first step in reading a book and akin to adding it to my reading list. I was not even certain if I was going to read it.

I am so glad that I opened this book.  I finished it in one day, quite literally.  I sat and read it for an entire day.  I absolutely loved it.  My favorite genre is fantasy.  When asked what I like to read, my answer is: “Fantasy or Fiction.  Truly, anything with magic in it.” (And romance, actually.)  This book was something I have never seen before.  To surprise me when it comes to magic is quite an endeavor.  I have read hundreds and hundreds of books with all sorts of magic in them.  From dragons to centaurs to stormwings, from spells to potions to superpowers to charms, from transfigurations to teleportation to telepathy, from amulets to talismans to invisible cloaks and caps, I really know just about all of it.  This book, though, brought something new to my attention.  I have never seen magic such as this before, and I LOVE it!  It is new and interesting and beautiful and still has such incredible literary meaning.

I often find that people think that fantasy and fiction novels (especially those containing magic) have very little literary depth and cannot come anywhere near touching classic novels.  This book, though, is a beautiful mixture of magic, romance, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  This novel is somewhat of a modern version of Jane Austen’s lovely novel, but with magic, more depth, and much more complicated intricacies.  It is much more than a “beach-read” as my English teacher puts it, and truly has literary depth.  This book questions what beauty is, what it means, the importance of etiquette, society’s standards (just as Jane Austen does), and sexist standards and thought.

While indeed being deep and erudite, it is also a fairly easy read.  This book is a page turner and not terribly complicated to read.  Simply put, if you love magic, romance, Jane Austen and her presumptuous and arrogant society, or any of the other things I mentioned (including the spectacular Green brothers) I highly recommend you read this book, even if you were not very taken with Pride and Prejudice.

And that is my very first novel review and recommendation!  If you have read this book or have any questions, feel free to comment, though please do not indulge in spoilers.  Happy reading!

~The Wise Girl