I had an opportunity to read and review an ARC of Tremontaine: The Complete Season One By Ellen Kushner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Racheline Maltese, and Patty Bryant.
Tremontaine is the prequel to Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint series. It’s a story published through Serial Box, a service providing serialized episodes of written stories similar to old time radio shows. Each episode is written by a different author or collaboration of authors.
This review is for the complete first season of episodes.
I loved so many aspects of this season that it makes me sad that I couldn’t connect completely with it.
I first started reading it for the Diversathon hashtag event through twitter. I chose the title because I know one of the authors through twitter chat and interactions.
I also chose it because it’s LGBTQ and Diverse.
As much as I reveled in the beautiful level of diversity (and I’ve never read anything I Haven’t Written Myself that has this much diversity in it, it’s wonderful!) I couldn’t connect with the voices of all of the authors.
Some episodes I tore through and felt like I lived the lives of the characters, Especially MICAH! Oh I love that girl so much and I cried at seeing my aspie nature depicted in adult fiction. I’d never, ever seen that part of me before and it meant so much that (even as a heap big writer chick) I can’t find the words to express how much it meant to me.
Some episodes I slogged through because I didn’t connect with the voice of the authors. I wanted to, for so many reasons, but this was a huge problem for me in reading these episodes. I love the world, I love the characters, but voice is so important to me. (I’m notoriously picky and a hard reviewer. I’ve spoken with several others who’ve read the series and they did NOT have the same problem. Take this part of my review with a grain of salt please.)
The beautiful intermeshing of high society manners and reality with gritty life and personal character motivations is addictive in this world. I highly recommend trying it for yourself.
I also highly recommend having chocolate on hand. 😉 I’m not a chocolate lover, I don’t crave it like many people do (though I enjoy it) but I absolutely HAD to make some traditional hot chocolate when I read this series. (I learned how a long time ago, but hadn’t wanted any for a while, until I read this season!) So, um, yeah… have chocolate on hand.
Readability: 3/5 (Silent screams ’cause I don’t want to rank it this low because I loved the diversity and other aspects of the series so much) Some of the episodes I tore through and you couldn’t have pulled me away for love or money. Some of the episodes I had to make myself continue reading. I think this is largely an issue of the different voices of the authors. The ones I connected to deeply are completely different from the ones other readers connect to, so I’m not going to divulge names of which episodes I adored and which I didn’t. Unfortunately I have to give the entire season a low score on readability because I had to make myself read at least half of them. Others I need more of right this very second!
Arcs: 5/5 The character arcs and plot arcs are extremely well developed and beautifully paced. Realistic motivations and reactions resonate with all of the characters. Even as I didn’t connect with some of the characters as deeply, I still need to know what will happen in season 2. I’ll be approaching it from a different methodology, (I’ll listen to the audio version for season 2, in hopes I can connect better that way).
Writing Craft: 5/5 Lol, yeah. Developmental editor me can’t bitch about a thing in regards to craft. This is easily the best crafted book I’ve read this year. (I’m behind on my normal reading amounts this year due to life, but I’ve read probably 70 books in 2016.) I didn’t once cringe at a poorly worded sentence, my editor brain stayed asleep the entire time I read. Whoever did the editing on these really knows their stuff.
Overall score: 13/15.
Would I buy it for a friend? Yes, yes, yes!
I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.