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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Currently Reading: The Glamourist Histories

So you like historical fiction and stories with magic huh? First of all, can we be best friends? Second, if you haven't heard of/read The Glamourist Histories series then you are missing out.

I've made a commitment to read more this year - you know, self-improvement and being a writer and everything - and finding the right books can be so difficult because I can be so picky. When I found The Glamourist Histories I felt like the Literature Gods had created the books just for me. Read on to see if this series was written for you too!

**This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase goods or services through links contained in this post I may be compensated by the website, brand, or product. All the opinions in this post are my own. 

Currently Reading: The Glamourist Histories - A little magic and Jane Austen can go a long way

The Background
The Glamourist Histories is a 5 book series from award winning writer Mary Robinette Kowal. Set in England during the Regency era, the books are equal parts Jane Austen societal commentary and fairy tales with just the right notes of magic. I am currently in the middle of the fourth book, and I am as interested as I was from book one, page one. Each book has a unique plot centered around the series heroine, Jane, and problem solving that involves the use and study of magic as the key resource for solutions (and sometimes the cause of the problems too).

Each of the novels is distinct in subject and characters, but the familiarity of the writing as it relates to classic English literature makes the books easy to get into quickly. Kowal has certainly done her research. Thankfully, though, the writing isn't too authentic so it makes for a comfortable read in the modern age. The problems presented in the books are realistic for the time period and they aren't predictable so it makes for compelling reading.

The Best & The Bad
The real triumph of the books is the fantastic job Kowal does of making magic, called "glamour" in the series, fit effortlessly against the backdrop of the customs and culture of early 1800s England. You wonder why the capabilities of glamourists are not possible in reality as it feels more than appropriate and useful, given the setting. I also appreciate the representation of intimate relationships within the books. Jane's relationships are extremely important to the development of her character. To have them presented to an adult audience that isn't too racy yet also not condescending is a relief.

While I admire the series overall, the plot lines of the first two books have a disjointed build up to the climax in my opinion. The key mysteries seem to suddenly flare up and then dissipate just as quickly. By the third and fourth books the transitions between story elements are much smoother. The background information plays a much bigger part in the problems to be solved. Either way, though, I'm sure the intrigue of the individual books will draw you in!

More Books
When I finish this series I think a logical next step would be the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies route. I'd also like to look into other periods of history with magic woven in. Actually Mary Robinette Kowal has one coming out in July about a spiritual medium set during World War I. Sounds like a page turner to me! You can find more on Kowal on her website here and on Twitter

Ready to get started on some manners and magic? Explore the books below. And share your book suggestions in the comments!

Shades of Milk & HoneyThe Glamourist Histories: Glamour in GlassThe Glamourist Histories: Without a SummerThe Glamourist Histories: Valour & VanityThe Glamourist Histories: Of Noble Family

Prefer using an eReader? Find the The Glamourist Series digitally using these links:

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Kristyn here. I'm really good at Googling, dreaming, and thinking outside the box. Someday I'm going to save all the puppies and perform on a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.

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