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Review by Caleyna
I loved this book, but the ending (like most of Tepper's) was just a little too much for me. I would highly recommend it, but be prepared for the totally bizarre to happen at the end. I should of known that Tepper can't write a nice normal story. I should have learned. Not that there is anything wrong with bizarre, but it just doesn't feel at all realistic to me and I like at least some presumption of reality.
I love the characters in this book. They are very realistic. Genevieve is a charming leading lady, and her leading man is worthy of her affections. The evil villians are evil indeed and worthy of great contempt. There are some very colorful secondary characters around who lighten up the mood. Jeoffry Bottoms just might be my favorite character in the whole book (other than Jenny), though we only see him in three scenes.
This is a very scary world imo. When Earth died people settled the stars. Rich folks were able to buy planets and rule them as they pleased. Our story is set on Haven, ruled by the Lord Paramount. The founding Lord decided the world would be peaceful and wonderful if it was non-techonological. It is also more peaceful if women know their place and are quiet, obedient and stupid. Men rule over all with no concern at all for their women. They control the women with the a strict religion that doesn't seem to speak to spirtual matters, just behavior.
This is really a mystery novel. From the beginning we know that Jenny ends up in a very bad situation out in the desert, but then we suddenly find her in a girl's school learning proper behavior. That quickly changes when the Prince decides he wants her. We know the Prince is evil. We know that there is something very very bad going on with the young women nobility. We know that Jenny is going to end up in trouble. We know there is something crazy going on with the old men of the nobility. We just don't know what it all is. We get little pieces of the mystery as we go, and it is a lot of fun figuring it all out. However. . . . once we figure it all out, things go majorly downhill imo. Of course, this book is both feminist and ecological. The whole way Tepper works in the ecological messages are off-putting. She just goes beyond what my mind can comprehend. The resolution of the story doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It's like she said "Ok, now let's have the magical cure all come in and fix it". Not realistic.
The first 2/3 of the book get a perfect five, but the last third only gets a three. I loved loved loved the first part. I couldn't get enough. I'm just sad that Tepper had to end it all like she did. The ending was just TOO sci-fi for my taste I guess.
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