September Books 4) The Ill-Made Mute

4) The Ill-Made Mute, by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Got this ages back (possibly as long ago as 2002) after it appeared on a couple of “best of the year” lists. I found it somewhat tough going. It is a fantasy novel about a disfigured, voiceless youth who endures a prolonged quest adventure in the course of achieving full adulthood. The adventures are decently enough recounted, and take us through a succession of traditional fantasy locales each of which has its own local twist – the castle, the ship, the treasure cave, the city, the enchanted forest; and the world is subject to peculiar “unstorms”, disturbances in the local reality. I wasn’t so engaged or convinced by the human geography of the world, and if anything a bit annoyed by Dart-Thornton saving the info-dumping to the middle of the book, while at the start there are lots of characters telling long and somewhat tedious stories to each other without really advancing the plot. I struggled through to the end but won’t bother tracking down the others in the series. Passes the Bechdel test with a section where two female characters are kidnapped and locked up together.

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