Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
As promised (well promised via twitter anyway), I'm reviewing Palimpsest.
Palimpsest follows the journey of 4 different people, who have entered a city in their dreams. Dreams that are super-realistic. This is a city of wonders and desire. Those who get here yearn to stay, but they wake up and are taken back to this world.
For perhaps the first third of this book, one wonders what the hell is going on. It parallels the confusion that the characters are going through, which is artfully done. Unfortunately, this also makes the first part hard to get into because the story threads don't seem to gel together. Once there is a bit of understanding though, this is a really good book.
There is a lot of sex in this book although it is used as a conduit and not really the main focus of the book. I felt that it made sex feel really cheap although it added to the intrigue of the story.
What makes this book really great is the sense of discovery, wonder, and even despair that you feel for and with the characters inside the book. This book feels whimsical, weighty, gritty and fleeting all at the same time.
While this book falls into the category of urban fantasy, I would describe it as cyberpunk meets alice in wonderland fantasy style. It deserves its 2010 Hugo Nomination although I haven't read The Windup Girl (the Hugo Winner 2010) yet so I have no opinion on whether that one was better.
Star Rating: 4.0/5.0
For an explanation of the Star Rating go here.