Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Novelette - "The Jewel and Her Lapidary", by Fran Wilde

"The Jewel and Her Lapidary", by Fran Wilde is about the end of a reign of rulers.

When I finished this story, I thought it should have been shorter, which is always a bad sign. There were a lot of good ideas, including a powerful ending that might have hit me hard - but I was a little tired by the time I reached the ending. It felt like there could have been a lot trimmed, and the story would have been stronger. Or, if not trimmed, condensed. It felt like a much shorter story taking up a lot of space.

The good: There are some clever twists and turns leading up to the finale, including the finale itself. The two main characters both are portrayed as brave and strong despite being raised and trained to be passive. There is some decent world-building as well, with both the "guidebook" chapter headings along with the reality the characters live through painting a full image of the location.

The bad: A lot of information seemed to be repeated over and over, like the fact that the gems talk to people and the oaths that the lapidaries make to the Jewels. Over and over again, until I wanted to say, "Yes I know, get on with it!"

Conclusion: An interesting story, with neat ideas and good twists, but the writing apparently didn't agree with me. This will take the third spot on my ballot for the moment.

Best Novelette: I've read "The Art of Space Travel", "You'll Surely Drown Here If You Stay", "The Tomato Thief", and "The Jewel and Her Lapidary". I need to read "Touring with the Alien". I do not plan on reading the sixth finalist.