Friday, February 5, 2010

Green (Arguably, this post contains spoilers.)

Green by Jay Lake is an odd book.

I really wanted to like it, enjoy it, and lose myself in it, but while the protagonist resonated for me to some extent, I was never able to sink in as far as I wanted to.

As a small child, Green is sold ... not exactly into slavery, but into a life which she does not choose, and she spends the next ten years or so trying to maintain a connection to what little past she can remember and searching for a way back.  When she is finally able to retrace her steps, she is not surprisingly disappointed, and discovers that she no longer belongs in this old life.

Once again adrift, she searches for purpose and meaning in her life.  She wants to find a way to protect other children from suffering her fate.  She wants to be independent and answer to no one.  She does not want to belong to anyone or anything lest that person or organization be able to lay claim to her.

She wants to save the world, but only if she can do it without letting it lay any claim to her, so she travels and learns and drifts, but never really belongs and is unable to work within any particular structure or adhere to any particular set of rules for long.

As the years pass, she becomes a sailor, a cook, a lover, a friend, an assassin, a god killer, and a deity creator.  She learns about independence and love and trust and betrayal.  Fairly standard coming of age lessons.

Somehow and for some reason which is never really explained (at least as far as I was able to tell) she is a lynchpin and a catalyst to great religious and mythological change going on in the world around her, but no one, even those who would try to manipulate her to further their own ends, is sure what her role is really supposed to be.

As she journeys, Green does learn a great deal about herself and the world, bringing about important change in the process, but by the book's end, her journey is far from over.

I have not yet decided if I want to know more, but the ending of this particular chapter in Green's history is satisfying while leaving plenty of room for a sequel without creating a cliffhanger.

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