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Occasional Media Consumption: Swordheart, by T. Kingfisher.



I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without saying it wrong.

I don't think I have been this excited for a new author's work since I was in the rapid process of discovering and then chewing through the back catalog of C.J. Cherryh, who at that point had just published Foreigner and grabbed me by my whiskers and screamed (metaphorically) "Look! Here is an author whose style of prose and choice of character speaks directly and entirely to you!" Or that moment in my high school years when I stumbled upon Melissa Scott's Trouble and Her Friends and I suddenly knew, with a certainty that has still not yet left me, that I wanted to be a part of the future (and the culture) of technology. And yet that's not fair, because T. Kingfisher, nee Ursula Vernon, is her own writer, her own voice, her own authorial person, and doesn't deserve to be compared to others. 

To say that Kingfisher's prose style and choice of genre (which is to say, a particularly dark and comedic bent take on various well-worn fantasy tropes and story types) fills the void that was left when Terry Pratchett died is unfair both to Pratchett (and his daughter, a brilliant author and collaborator in her own right) and to Kingfisher, whose approaches and technical craft are worlds apart from Pratchett. And yet, there is a particular thread, a particular viewpoint, a particular (and very-difficult-to-do-correctly) approach to finding the humanity and the heart and the humor even in some pretty terrible and trying and difficult moments in a story, which have not, and arguably cannot, been privy to any but those very few names in the rolls of authors of genre fiction. Pratchett, Gaiman, Adams. You can tell an Adams story by the absurdism. You can tell a Gaiman story by the gentle darkness. You can tell a Pratchett story by the puns. And you can tell a Kingfisher story by the utterly plausible, utterly mundane, utterly hilarious humanity present in the narrative. 

I'm glad I was able to read this new novel by T. Kingfisher. It's hilarious. It's moving. It's utterly charming. It's about a magic sword and a widow and a lawyer and arguably, it's a Road Movie of a novel (though it's mostly this one little chunk of road that they go back and forth on...several times). You will not be disappointed if you buy it and read it. But I will admit that I'm a little sad that I finished it, because it means I have to wait for the next one. 

And I will wait. Ever so patiently. Waiting. With patience. For the next one. Whenever it's ready. 

You should buy it, and then we can talk about it, and maybe help each other to tide ourselves over. 

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