Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear

Ms Bear is fairly well known among genre fans, so I should be embarrassed that this is the first book of hers that I’ve read, but I’m not. My reasoning was, believe it or not, that I’ve already got too many “Elizabeth”‘s among the authors I keep up on, and I just could bear (heh) to add another.

Then Karen Memory came out, and folks were actually talking about the book, not the prolific author who is amazeballs, which was a bit vague for me. Also, my TBR pile eclipses the sun and I’m easily distracted, so… Reasons, alright? Anyway, the stars aligned, the book crested the wave of my mammoth library queue at about the same time that I was in the mood for a Steampunk-Western-Victorian-Mystery and lo, turns out that Ms Bear really is amazeballs, as is Karen Memory.

The heroine has a unique, compelling voice, and her history is totally believable. The world-building is deep and rooted in my home region/city, which gave Ms Bear a sturdy base to build on, that I found easy to accept and mentally navigate. I had a few bumpy moments with Karen’s stubborn temper–I thought she was a bit too inflexible at times for someone of her background and career, and that those moments weren’t sufficiently supported by the text, but I got over it. And the climax was rollicking good fun, which I want to read again, now that I’m writing about it, and also I should put Ms Bear’s Hammered on my library queue, so Ta!

2016 Hugo Eligibility: Yes, yes, yes! Feb 2015
Publisher: Tor, USA
Editorial: Beth Meacham
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Western Steampunk Mystery (whee!)

[See the Big Idea piece for Karen Memory on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, by clicking here!]


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