In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This continuation of the Orphan's tales very much continues in the same vein as the first. Stories within stories, sheer, unbridled imagination... a modern 1001 Nights with a very sophisticated and original sequencing of mythologies, from nagas, selkies, winged skeletons, and ever-present hunger, of leopards, broken unicorns, women pared away to replacement parts, and most of all...
This novel takes a more liberal superstructure approach over the first, continuing the tales of the Orphan in such a way that even the stories have stories and those have deeper stories still, and the recursion slowly rises back up until we can breathe in the ink under the eyelids once more, gasping, shuddering in relief.
There is nothing more that I can say that the book itself can't say better. It is lush, gorgeous, lyrical, and it rewards careful readers. Careful re-reading. Valente is something of a master storyteller and these two works are dense and epic. Amazing.
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