Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Fire Horse Girl

So, I'm not 100% sure how I got this book. I remember seeing it on Unshelved's bookclub list and entering a contest there to try and get a copy myself. Didn't hear anything so I assumed I hadn't won a copy and then one showed up at my apartment on my birthday which left me quite happy. Until I realized a few days later that I had never had the book sent to my apartment and that UPS had somehow magically known to send it there instead of my PO box, they had even put a second shipping label on top of the original one. I'm still happy I got the book, I'm just now very confused how it happened, I guess I got lucky that I had them reroute a package of mine a couple of weeks earlier and they were able to look up my address again?

Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

Summary: Jade Moon was born in the year of the Fire Horse and she embodies all the traits of it: stuborn, reckless, and headstrong. Partially because of this horoscope, and partially through Jade Moon fulfilling it, she's lonely and frustrated so when a cousin arrives at their house with a plan to go to America for a new start eager to take it, no matter what problems they might find there. 

The Good: Bit of a different setting than I normally come across which was nice (although I did have to make sure I read this and The Broken Lands far enough apart that I didn't accidentally mix up Jin and Jade Moon), I liked how it was set in San Francisco in the 20s and the author kindly provided a list of sources which I'm going to check out since I realized that I really have no idea what the history of the west coast is like. And it was that not exactly novelty but different-ness about Jade Moon's situation, the setting, and how her new life in America turns out that kept me interested in the book.

The Bad: The pacing felt a little weird to me, although I think part of that was because the book flap talked about Jade Moon going to America and the cover showed that she was going to crossdress and as a result I expected both of those events to happen sooner than they did. Even taking that into account I felt like the story just lingered in a number of places for too long which is funny since it's not a very long book, if you were to pace it a bit more briskly it would have been a very short novel. As hinted at earlier, the characters aren't exactly original and they're a bit too flat to be compelling. I'm not surprised that this is Honeyman's first novel because in some ways it really feels like a first novel, there are some great parts and some needs work parts, nothing terrible but it's not a book I expect to win many awards either. 

In the end I'm going to give this book 3 out of 5 stars, it's the kind of book I'd check out from the library, read once, and not feel the urge to own/re-read. In fact, I think I'm going to swing by the local library and donate this in the hope that this book gets more use that way than it would just sitting on my shelves.

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