Sunday, August 2, 2009

More lovely and Strangely Beautiful Reviews!

Oh my goodness.

I made it into Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show with a stunning-made-me-cry review by New York Times Bestselling Author, essayist, reviewer Alethea Kontis.

Here is the review, if you see it on the Intergalactic Medicine Show page you see all the beautiful graphics.

Princess Alethea's Magical Elixir
Book Reviews by Alethea Kontis
Title: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
Leisure / Dorchester Publishing EAN: 9780843962963

Percy Parker can see dead people. She can also hear dead people and, due to her remarkable fluency in almost ten languages, she can carry on conversations with them. Percy even looks like a ghost herself, with skin and hair like a marble statue and eyes so pale and sensitive to light that she must wear dark glasses at all times. But for all her unique characteristics, Percy is the typical mythic heroine -- orphaned, gifted, attending a mysterious Academy, and destined to fulfill a prophecy written back when the Temple of Athena still stood in one piece atop the Acropolis.

I fell in love with this book as soon as I read the title. It's one of those fabulous titles that adeptly distills the essence of the novel. Forget what's pictured on the cover -- to be fair, the title takes up most of the cover anyway -- this title is the best warning label of what you're about to get yourself into. Percy Parker's adventure promises to be poetic, wordy, Victorian, haunting, shadowy, subtle, and romantic.

But before I started Miss Parker's Tale, I met her author. I was invited to an intimate publisher brunch at BEA, and Leanna was the guest star. Now, I've met a good many authors in my time. If I like the author, I will make a whole-hearted attempt to read their book. (If I don't like the author then I don't attempt at all . . . but I can count the number of authors I don't like on one hand.) Similarly, just because I enjoy the author doesn't mean I'll love their fiction. I have some very best friends who know I don't care for their particular bent, and it doesn't affect our relationship one way or another.

All that said, by the end of said brunch Leanna and I were not only talking a million miles and hour, but we were also finishing each other's sentences. I couldn't wait to read the book. When I got back to Tennessee, I pestered the publisher until they emailed me a copy of the manuscript, and the second it popped up in my inbox, I dove right in.

I was in exactly the right mood to read this tasteful, gothic Victorian adventure. Its pages are like the petals of a rose: a many-layered tale gorgeously told. The reader immediately finds the strangely beautiful Percy Parker haunting the halls of Athens Academy along with her specters. We realize she is seventh in an ancient prophecy of gods and demons. It is up to The Guard -- the original six who have kept London safe from the otherworldy thus far -- to recognize their Prophecy and follow the path of destiny. Easier said than done, though, as The Guard is constantly distracted by an evil force they call "The Ripper."

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is Bullfinch's Mythology and Harry Potter and Wuthering Heights mashed in a blender. It is a historic, dark, fantasy mystery . . . Add Miss Parker's sudden and torrid love for her dark and brooding tutor Professor Alexi, and it also becomes a delicate and understated romance. A simple dance raised more goosebumps on my arms than the steamy scenes in most of the usual romance novels of today. I miss that.
I am happy to have been as impressed by this book as I was by its author . . . and happier still that Leanna is currently working on a sequel. Huzzah!

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And at FantasyLiterature.net, I've been given a gorgeous page replete with bio, backlist and author photo, and the following review by Kelly.

In part (or... Read with Synopsis and see the pretty page):

I had a lot of fun reading The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Leanna Renee Hieber creates a sense of enchantment from the very beginning, and the novel caught me up in its spell during a week when my real life went completely haywire. It has the feel of a fairy tale, which is not an easy mood to sustain in a full-length novel. The Strangely Beautiful Tale is elegantly written and chock full of interesting characters and mythic themes. I especially loved watching the development of Percy from a meek mouse to a woman who knows what she's willing to fight for.

I was briefly bothered by Percy's mathematical bumbling, since I've spent much of my life bristling at "girls can't do math" stereotypes, but when I thought about it a little more, Percy's lack of math skills makes perfect sense for her times. Because of those same stereotypes, a woman in the Victorian era would not have received much math education before enrolling at an unconventional school like Athens.The plot of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is satisfactorily wrapped up at book's end, but there's plenty of room for future world-saving.

Hieber has planned a series of four books. I'm definitely looking forward to them!Recommended for fans of historical fantasies like Marie Brennan's Onyx Court series and romantic fantasies like Maria Snyder's Study series.

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Thank you to Alethea and to Kelly at Fantasy Literature for making my day and back again.

2 comments:

C.J. Ellisson said...

Good for you Leanna! We meet at the FF&P dinner at National's and I was so happy to see you win a Prism award.

Your terrific personality and humble nature will serve you well in this business (and well, any business I bet).

Wish you the best with your latest release and may there be many more to come!

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

C.J.! It was so great to meet you! Thank you so much for your kind words, I know the same goes for you and your work, I can't wait to check it out!

I look forward to keeping in touch and watching your stars rise!