Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hammer & Air, by Amy Lane

Reids Rating: Milk Chocolate

This was a difficult one to rate. Lane makes a point of labeling it a fairy tale, and like any such story it has a fairy tale "happy ever after" ending.

There is little this reader was able to find light and fluffy, however, about orphaned friends who learn to discover and define the meaning of love for themselves and each other when they've no parameters to base it on. There's nothing light-hearted and white chocolate in that.

Lane, however, is my latest shocking discovery of a writer who possesses pure, unadulterated craftsmanship. Her story is told from the first person POV of one character for the entire duration, and after a few chapters you grow accustomed to the quaint peasant language and the consistent use of "were" instead of "was". She sinks you into the character with such ability and prowess that you'll find yourself thoroughly immersed and unable--unwilling--to pull yourself away before you reach the final page. (If you can, you're made of sterner stuff than me, and kudos to you for it.)

There's little in the way of plot twists in this one. It's largely character driven, the main source of tension the romantic relationship and its development, maturation, between Hammer and Air. Even knowing that it will resolve happily, that they'll be together at the end--for they must be, it's a fairy tale after all--Lane kept this reader, at least, on the edge of her seat and turning pages to devour the story ravenously.

In the end, I had to wipe away a few tears. I can't say for certain what emotion triggered them. But rest assured when you reach the end of Hammer & Air's tale, you'll be looking in the mirror and reassessing those relationships you felt sure were based on "love".

For that reason, I struggle over rating this one. It feels like pure Dark Chocolate to me. And yet it's not. It's Milk Chocolate, and White Chocolate too. They aren't blended together into a massive puddle of cocoa mud though. But swirled together to make a vivid tapestry that delights the palate with the contrasts at every turn. For simplicity's sake, though, I'm giving it a milk chocolate and we'll leave it at that.

Wanna taste? Get it here.

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