Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo is currently nominated for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award and, in association with the award, we’re delighted to offer here a review of the novel by Charles Human, as well as an exclusive giveaway courtesy of Quercus Books. ETA: The giveaway is now closed, congratulations to the winners!
We have two copies each of both Redemption in Indigo and of Lord’s new novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds to give away. Simply comment below (making sure to include your e-mail address in the required field – this will not show when you post) and we will choose two people at random to receive them. Competition closes Friday!
Redemption in Indigo
Reviewed by Charles Human
I’m an appreciator of food in literature, being one of those strange few who are always very interested in the menus of the various inns and taverns visited in fantasy literature.
Redemption in Indigo features several stews, soups and honeycakes that sound delicious enough to make it difficult not to turn this into a Michelin review. Good thing too because it’s our heroine’s superpower.
Yes, Paama kills it as a chef and her husband, Ansige, can’t get enough of the fine dining experience that being her husband entails. Tragically eating is all he’s good for and Paama is eventually forced to leave the useless glutton and go back to her family.
That’s when a senior djombi, the powerful race of supernatural undying ones, become interested in Paama and gifts her with the Chaos Stick, a magical item with the power to nudge chance and tweak fate.
The Indigo Lord, also a djombi but not the human-liking kind, is a little peeved hat a nasty little homo sapien got given the best djombi tech and sets out on a mission to recover it from Paama. That’s when it all kicks off with human vs. djombi in a battle of wits for the ultimate prize.
Redemption in Indigo is a really fun book. It skips around like the story is not predetermined but happens according to the whim of the storyteller. It’s the experience of listening to a storyteller rather than reading that is captured so well by Lord in this book.
The narrator is really the central character in the book, his sly asides, in-jokes and preempting of audience concerns is one of the real joys, and one gets the feeling that if he were to tell the story again his choices could be different.
That’s also a good thing because choice is central to the story. The Indigo Lord’s choices, Paama’s choices, Ansige’s choices. Whether djombi or human they’re all subject to the forces of chaos and chance but also to those of predestination and perhaps even destiny. Sure, it’s not the not the orphan-born- under- a- special- star kinda destiny but the our-choices-shape-who-we-are kinda destiny that Lord is most concerned with, but it serves make the story very real and human.
My only criticisms are that having a narrator means that sometimes that action does lag and that changeable nature of the djombi means that, although they are interesting, the villains never seem truly evil and thus the stakes are not quite high enough for there to be real tension. Also there’s no recipe for honeycakes.
It’s an enjoyable read, both progressive and intelligent, and well worth putting on your TBR pile.
And we have winners!
I’d like to thank everyone who entered the competition this week, and everyone who’s visited the blog to check out our Haikasoru Week. I’m very pleased with the turnout, and hope we can feature another publisher highlight soon. In the meantime, the next Author Week is just around the corner!
As before, I used a random number generator to pick up the winners.
And the winners – of current Philip K. Dick Award nominee Harmony, by Project Itoh, generously donated by Haikasoru – are!
Jason Mathaisson, Joey, Pavel Itzkov and Rob Haines.
An e-mail has been sent to the winners.
Following our first Author Week – featuring Ekaterina Sedia – which was both a success and a lot of fun (with more forthcoming), we’ve decided to do, in addition, a series of weeks focusing on genre publishers of international fiction, starting with the most exciting imprint to come around in a long time – Haikasoru, the Viz imprint dedicated to publishing Japanese science fiction in English translations, edited by Nick Mamatas.
During the week, we’ll have an exclusive interview with Nick Mamatas; an original novelette by Tow Ubukata; a review of Housuke Nojiri’s Rocket Girls, and The Last Planet, reviewed by Anil Menon; and a guest-editorial, On Japanese SF, from Nick Mamatas.
And, to celebrate the first Japanese title to be nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award this year, we have four copies of Harmony, by the late Project Itoh, to give away!
As before, this post will remain at the top of the blog for the remainder of the week. To enter a chance to win a copy of Harmony, simply post a comment below with your name and e-mail address. We will choose 4 winners at random at the end of the week. And, this being the World SF Blog, we’ll ship them anywhere in the world.
We hope you enjoy’s this week’s unique look at current Japanese SF!