Grand Ellipse by Paula Volsky

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Grand Ellipse (Paula Volsky)

Teaser: As two countries are on the brink of war, a great race, across several lands and seas, is being held. The prize is extremely valuable; the winner gets an audience with the king of the 'outcast' country.

A strong-willed anthropologist (a profession and attitude that sickens her traditional parents) gets approached to compete in the race. Her audience with the outcast King is crucial to prevent the impeding war. She has an undeniable thirst for adventure and reluctantly agrees to participate. As she boards the first ship to start the race, she runs into a fellow racer who makes her blood boil--her pompous, traditional ex-fiance.

Short Thought: Very complicated, hard to follow 'world,' but enjoyable and interesting none the less.

Expanded Thoughts
: This was the first 'steam-punk' novel that I have read in quite awhile. The cover and the plot teaser caught me. (Dang those marketing people!) It had a pretty good plot, but all the long country and character names and such confused the snot out of me. I know that doesn't bother some people, but when you have 50 made up words in one paragraph it irritates me. I feel like I am back in history class and need to make an outline or relationship diagram to figure out the significance in what the freak just happened. (whoa, we'll stop this before a rant starts...heh).

The characters, albeit a little cliche, were great and entertaining. I always love a lead female who battles the societal, gender constraints put on her by the more traditional ways. The love story was very entertaining as well as the ideas of the fantastic "race around the world", but some items felt rushed and underdeveloped.

Especially Recommended For: Fans of 'Around the World in 80 Days,' Women Studies enthusiasts, Long Time Fantasy Fans Looking for a change of pace, Steampunk fans, and fans of non-vulgar romances

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