Jeweled Bear

No Comments » Written on October 10th, 2010 by
Categories: Plugs

I’ve just finished reading Bone and Jewel Creatures, by Elizabeth Bear, another handsome hardbound novella put out by Subterranean Press. The book’s been sitting on my shelf since it came out early in the year, shelved alongside other volumes by Bear that I’d purchased but never got around to reading.

Ebear packs a lavish amount of detail into this short work, lush and often meandering (but never tedious) lists of things things encountered in the street (animals, conveyances, odors, people), bricabrac in a wizard’s workspace, particulars of clothing and culture. Her use of pronoun play is both deliberately heavyhanded and exceeding deft, hinting and implying without every explicitly telling you what the significance is but making damn sure you don’t miss that there is one.

I was particularly impressed by how easily I slipped into the POV of her main character, a ninety-year old, female wizard, and how Bear quite naturally allowed me to see things through her eyes by the simple expediency of what was and wasn’t a part of her daily routine, where she placed her trust and why, and how she knew things that were understood but felt the need (I’m still talking about the character here, not the author) to explain them just the same.

Any author could learn a lot about writing vivid, breathing characters from reading how Elizabeth Bear does it in this novella. I certainly did.

Bone and Jewel Creatures


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