Summary Kingfisher

What we enjoyed about the book:

  • “I liked that it was very gay”, sapphic
  • Raven really cool
  • Cute book, cute interactions
  • Tone of the book great
  • Way magic was introduced quite offhandedly
  • Slightly ironic tone of the book
  • Twist with G. nice, Kai lacks empathy, ending satisfying
  • Mousebones great fun, otters are wonderful, reindeers are wonderful
  • Animal parts great
  • Magic in the world enjoyable, maybe “even more than the characters”
  • Book got better once she left home
  • Wide range of magic covered: gentle magic (dreams of the plants) à peaceful, subtle enchantment; reindeer magic (brutal, gruesome); reindeer road (belonging, beautiful, contrast)
  • Favourite part: “if you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, it helps you shapeshift” à beautiful, amazing abilities with more ease
  • Shapeshifting somehow something innate, beautiful
  • Sámi culture introduced very well, well done, connected to the reindeer road
  • Fairy tale retelling keeps the fairy tale ideas of both wonder & violence
  • Mousebones’ gender handled very nicely, well done, characters corrected themselves, genderfluid raven
  • Protagonist character development satisfying: obsession with Kai and then sexual awakening and change of plans, “found herself on this journey”
  • Writing style: very easy to read, fits the story, gruesome parts not elaborated upon
  • Comfort read
  • Light reading
  • Writing style simplistic, fairy tale language nice
  • Atmospheric writing style
  • Sexual/queer awakening of protagonist well done
  • Same elements but modernised (Sámi culture, queer love story)
  • I wouldn’t have minded had Kai died, bit random
  • Sámi magic wonderful

What we discussed:

  • Based on the Andersen fairy tale (one of his weaker ones), this coloured how one of us perceived this retelling (not positively); reminded us of “Uprooted” (horror parts better) or “Stardust” (wittier), not hooked as a reader
  • Kitschy, “I don’t need romance”
  • Gerda “cardbox character”, Janna and Raven the best characters
  • Sapphic twist the entire mission felt pointless
  • Kai weakest character, nobody cared for him, didn’t appear in the main story
  • Plot kind of boring, journey great but overall plot weak, “what was the point?”
  • G. blushes all the time, embarrassed all the time, annoying in the beginning
  • Book almost too short
  • Book has so much potential, too short, could not realise all the great ideas in depth
  • Often two one-dimensional, flat characters sometimes
  • Can’t come up with a better ending though, but Kai sucks
  • Getting lost along the way actually a nice idea: realise that our quest or initial idea was not such a good idea (G. has a childish crush) and we change paths
  • Kai a twat in the fairy tale too, delightful that she also did not try to make him a good one, Kai not a good person but G.’s crush is too big to see that?
  • Gerda realising Kai is not worth it and going for the “sexy lady” was great
  • Gerda rescues him because she wants to see things through, but he is no longer the most important person for her anymore
  • Final showdown a bit underwhelming, Gerda already had her character development, so not needed but the big fight would’ve been cool too
  • “You can be crazy and not be a cannibal”; “that part also weirded me out”
  • Intended readership + age group dubious? Fairy tale duality: children vs. adults;
  • Children often find violence delightful in fairy tales; cannibals even funny but also add extra danger (did not work, only hilarious)

Rating in Reindeers, Ravens or Otters:

  • 2.5 / 5 Satanic Mirrorpieces in your eye; story lacks some of the stuff our other fairy tale retellings had, not as scary or witty as the others, “nice”
  • “didn’t knock me out of my chair”, “enjoyable”, 2.75 Mousebones out of 5
  • 3/5 reindeers; “didn’t particularly care for the story, I liked the queerness and the character development”; also don’t like fairy tales
  • 7/10 otters who pull the sleigh; “I did enjoy the book”
  • 4/5 Reindeers, bits of it nostalgia, TV adaptation nostalgia, revisiting it, queer twist nice, “comfort read”
  • 4/5 Reindeers, “really enjoyed the book as a light read”
  • 3.5/5 Reindeers, “short and sweet”, exciting at some points
  • 4/5 Reindeers, “short and sweet describes the story very well, I love fairy tale retellings”, “loved reading it pre-Christmas”, “lots of snow and reindeers”, seasonal rating
  • 5/5 Reindeers, lessen it down to 4/5, “something in between 4 and 5 à 4.5
  • 4.5/5 Reindeers, wonderful reindeer road
  • LET IT GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, LET IT GOOOO (Marthe still needs to watch “Frozen”)

Other books we talked about:

  • Expanse #9 currently reading, “recommend the first book”; “my introduction to science fiction”, so exciting, “flew through the first book”; recommendation seconded by Marthe
  • Far Sector graphic novel, “I dearly recommend it”, cyberpunk, superheroes, “bit drowning in zeitgeist”
  • “The Atlas Six” by Blake: dark academia; group of teenagers who have been chosen to join a secret society which has protected the knowledge of the burned down library of Alexandria
  • “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Hawkings: “Is there a God?”; continuous existential crisis
  • “Noor” by Nnedi Okorafor; African Futurism; interest take on cyborgs, disability, progress, bodily enhancement, what can the internet do, but CW violence
  • Movie recommendation: Encanto (Disney), set in Colombia, really cool
  • “Hinter verzauberten Fenstern” (Funke): wholesome Christmas read; magical advent calendar; portal fantasy, “my favourite Christmas read”
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