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a frog the size of texas

June 11th, 2009

08:19 am

I attempted to go to bed early last night, but was thwarted by thunderstorms all night. I put earplugs in, which killed most of the noise, but I then had a rather large kitten* who was completely freaked out by the noise and light and wanted to cuddle and be reassured, but at the same time was too skittish to stay still longer than 30 seconds. He was too easily freaked out by things like my foot moving under the covers, adjusting the pillow, or the mere existence of my wrist brace, which was OMG SPAWN OF SATAN and if I moved my right hand higher than his head, he'd leap up and run away. But then be back a few minutes later. Can't say that he did it *all* night long, but certainly every time I woke up and there was thunder, he was there trying to cuddle.

So, yeah, rather sleepy today. Luckily my one meeting was cancelled. :D

* His frame is now larger than Nefer's, although she's still got sheer poundage on him.

10:05 pm

The Fashion Show

Spoilers ahoyCollapse )

10:35 pm - Queen of the Orcs Book 1: King's Property by Morgan Howell

In Queen of the Orcs: King's Property, Dar is a young peasant woman sold to the army by her parents, to serve with the orc regiments as a camp follower.* Orcs serve as foot-soldiers and shock troops, sticking together and shunning contact with humans for the most part, but they will only allow women to cook and serve their food, so there is always a need for new ones.

Dar learns early on of the lot of the woman in an army camp - she best get a man of her own if she doesn't want to be considered fair game by every other man in the place, but she's not inclined to do that. She's pretty smart, and eventually figures out that her best chance lies in sticking close to the orcs, learning their language and culture.

Anyway, this book is a guilty pleasure for me: it deals with culture clash, with learning new languages and cultures, and also with tough, battle-scarred foot soldiers, and has a tough female protagonist who is able to think her way out of bad situations. I say guilty, because it's pretty obvious from the series title that this is going to be a What These People Orcs Need is a Honky Human. However, I think Howell manages to stay away from the usual nonhumans = PoC parallels because she's more interested in comparing and contrasting gender roles: the humans are patriarchal while the orcs are matriarchal.

The primary problem I have is that the orcs' society is a little too perfect, and there is not enough real dissent in the orc ranks about her. Howell seems to be trying a bit for a Black Company vibe and not quite making it, as her orcs aren't bad enough, if that makes sense, and there are whiffs of Speshul Chosen One about Dar.

None of that will stop me buying the sequels the next time I'm at the bookstore, of course, just will keep it from being as good as I want it to be.

* Camp followers include laundresses, cooks, wives, dependents, prostitutes, and everything else that an army needs or wants as it's marching and camping. Which isn't to say that a lot of women might not have turned to a bit of prostitution here and there as the opportunity struck, as women throughout history have done, but camp followers do not necessarily equal prostitutes. (Or even women, for that matter.)
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