Edgerton, Teresa: (01) Goblin Moon

Look, a book I liked!

I went looking for Goblin Moon, by Teresa Edgerton, after a positive review of the sequel by Rich Boyé (whose booklog has vanished into 404 oblivion). This is a fantasy of the Regency-with-magic sort, though unlike Patricia Wrede’s Mairelon the Magician and Magician’s Ward, this is set in an imaginary world rather than in an alternate history, if that makes sense.

I really enjoyed this, not the least for its setting. I can’t possibly have liked every fantasy with either a courtly or a city setting, but at the moment, I’m not thinking of a strong counterexample. This book has both, one for each plot thread: on the courtly side, there’s something strange about the afflictions of a sickly society girl; on the city side, a sorceror’s coffin washes up, leading a pair of old friends back into dangerous experiments.

Therein lies the major flaw of the book: it suffers from the “A Plot, B Plot” problem. There are some connections between the two plots, but the main one seems to be that their convergence forces our protagnoists to flee the country at the end of the book, setting up the sequel. It’s possible that this book and its sequel, The Gnome’s Engine, are actually tightly woven together and thus the A and B plots end up being part of the same plot; I don’t know, because I haven’t read the sequel yet. I should add that except for the minor fact of fleeing the country, the book is reasonably well-contained.

The two plots are enjoyable, revealing their information and world-building at a good pace. And the characters populating those plots are good too: not stunningly original, but solidly drawn and engaging. This book is also further proof that I really do have a weakness for Lymond-types (in fiction only, I hasten to add); this one gets off most of the best lines, like

“Lord Skelbrooke . . . what a turn you gave me,” said the little apothecary, but a mischievous twinkle indicated that she had seen through his disguise immediately. “Might one ask what this . . . astounding costume . . . is supposed to portend?”

“Bad men, ill deeds, and (if I am successful) vengeance of no mean order,” said Skelbrooke.

Actually, when I typed that, I heard the Dread Pirate Roberts in my head, but it’s still a great line. There’s also:

“I have killed scores of men,” said Skelbrooke. “And there used to be a practice, among wild young men of good family, to ride the Imbrian countryside in the guise of highwaymen, and rob carriages and mail coaches . . . merely for the thrill of the thing.”

The Duchess was smiling now, a warm intimate smile. He was not certain whether she believed him or not, but at least he was keeping her amused.

“Heavens above!” said the Duchess. “I believe that I have fallen into the hands of a rascal. And tell me this . . . among your other vices, have you perhaps experimented with . . . the more intricate forms of sexual dalliance?”

Skelbrooke shook his head. “You see, I am not yet five and twenty,” he said apologetically. “I thought it wise to save something for later in life, lest I grow too soon bored.”

I just had fun reading this book. I look forward to seeing Skelbrooke, and the rest of our protagonists, in the sequel.

[ And then I will re-read Sorcery and Cecilia in honor of its being reprinted and because it’s also Regency-with-magic; and then I’ll read the Sector General omnibus with the only Sector General novel I haven’t read yet; and then I finally found a copy of The Element of Fire at a reasonable price (yay! But Patrick, if you’re reading this, I still think Tor should re-print it), so I’ll re-read that in celebration; and then there’s the sequel to Deep Secret and the new Bill Bryson; and at the pace I’ve been reading lately, I won’t be through these before the new Harry Potter comes out . . . I’ve pretty well got my reading planned out through the summer. *wists for the days when this list would be two weeks’ worth of reading* ]

[ Also, prompted by certain discussions, I’ve finally got around to trying an RSS feed with just the title of the post. Let’s see if it works. ]

6 Comments

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  1. Yay!

    I *knew* you’d like it. In addition to the sequel, Edgerton’s website indicates that she is mulling over expanding a plot abstract detailing the adventures of Lord Skelbroke.

    And, I just got and read _Sorcery and Cecilia_ on the basis of your persistent recommenations. Great fun. Kate Tagarth joins my favorite heroine collection, just below Susan Voight and Phillipa Sommerville.

    It really makes me think about a short story that I read in Omni magazine once called “Resolve and Resistance,” a sorta of sequel to _Pride and Prejudice_ in which the Bennet sisters serve as spies and resistance leaders in an alt-history England where Napolean succeeds in conquering all of Europe.

    In fact, I had such positive, vague memories of that story that I was somewhat let down by a reread when I finally tracked down a copy. Still think it would be a great idea to be expanded into a full fledged book.

    (Oh, and the Book Log is down again. More ISP headaches and I just *cannot* find the time to keep it updated on anything close to a timely basis. It was becoming an eyesore.)

  2. And glad to hear you liked _S&C_, too.

    (The Wrede Regency fantasies are in the same universe, without overlapping characters.)

    Query: *which* Bennett sisters?

  3. Sounds like this book might work for me. I’ve never wanted to meet a Lymond-type in the flesh, myself. Though he would probably be kind since I would no doubt act like the village idiot.

    You do know that there is a follow-on to Sorcery and Cecelia called the Grand Tour due out sometime next year by Wrede and Stevermer.

  4. Unfortunately it’s out of print, though not as comprehensively so as _S&C_ was. I didn’t have any trouble finding it inexpensively, at least.

    Yes, I know about the _S&C_ sequel and I’m thrilled. Not the least because it will be the first new Wrede in several years, IIRC.

    Stevermer is also working on another book in the same world as _A College of Magics_, in which Jane appears.

  5. Query: *which* Wrede Regencies?

    Anyway, as I recall, Lizzie and Jane were more of strategists in the resistence (running out of Pemberly Park, of course – either Darcy or Bingley was killed in the invasion, and the other one was serving to defend the Carribean Colonies, or something), Lydia was of course serving as a courtesan, seducing French officers to learn military secrets, what with the feckless Wickham leaving her and deserting the army as well, and I do not recall what was Kitty’s fate, but I do think I recall bookish Mary was serving in a workshop developing new types of explosives. The really juicy bit was Caroline Bingley, who was a collaborator, cohabitating with a French military governor. :Hiss!: Oh, and a severely crippled Lord Nelson wanders into the story, and hooks up with the resistence after washing ashore from some naval defeat. I think, actually, that is how it happens – Lord Nelson is the protagonist and runs into the Bennets, not vice versa.

    I tell you, that would be a great book. I think I shall go hunt it down and see if I can e-mail the author.

    Meanwhile, I am also looking forward to _A Scholar of Magics_ and _The Grand Tour_ (the follow-up to _S&C_). Does anyone know if _The Grand Tour_ will also be an epistolary novel? If so, I wonder how that works? Which of the cousins is on the tour and which is stuck back in England?

  6. The Wrede Regencies that I link to in the post–the Mairelon books. Reprinted as YAs by Tor, I believe.

    According to this page, “It will not be a letter game this time. One character keeps a journal, one is being deposed [ for a trial (?)].”

    The concept of “Resolve and Resistance” sounds lovely, even if the story didn’t live up to your memory of it. Google tells me it’s by S. N. Dyer and collected in the ninth Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology (Windling and Datlow), which I own and apparently have not read all of. I shall have to do so forthwith.

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