Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kickstarter Day 22 (7 to go): a valley of trolls and unicorns and a fantasy about friendship

One week left on The Labyrinth of Flame's Kickstarter! Still have my fingers crossed for that interior art goal. Only a little over $1K more and I'll have the funds to hire an artist and give readers a truly special edition of the book.  So close and yet so far!  Thankfully, I've got tons to do today so I won't have the time to obsess over it (work is the best distraction!).      

For today's pic, it's back to the mountains...specifically, a beautiful but rarely-visited valley in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  Storm Gulch doesn't see many hikers because it has a relatively long approach and its upper reaches are trail-less.  The mountain at its head, Jasper Peak, has plenty of shorter routes to its summit from other trailheads.  But when I read the description of the Storm Gulch route in Gerry Roach's Indian Peaks guidebook, I knew I had to try it.  Every other route in the book is described in matter-of-fact, unadorned prose.  But for Storm Gulch, Roach waxes lyrical over its beauty and starts talking about unicorns and trolls.

Storm Gulch living up to its name.  As we didn't want to get struck by lightning, we had to turn around before reaching Jasper Peak (visible at right in the pic).  We didn't see any trolls or unicorns, but the valley was indeed beautiful, and a lot of fun to explore.
Rorschach-shaped holes in a Storm Gulch snowfield...I could totally imagine trolls living down there!
The heart of my Shattered Sigil series is Dev and Kiran's friendship, so I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I adore books that explore the bonds between friends.  Today's rec is for a book that fits that description perfectly: Pamela Dean's Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary.  The title refers to three sisters, of which middle sister Gentian is the protagonist, and the book is loosely inspired by the traditional ballad "Riddles Wisely Expounded."  But while Gentian's sisters and the dynamics of her family are important in the novel, the real heart of the book lies in her relationships with a close-knit group of girls she has known since childhood.  Like Dean's Tam Lin, the story has a slow build and the fantastical elements start out very subtle.  This isn't a book you read for plot, but because Gentian and her friends and family are wonderful characters, and Dean layers every scene with references to literature both classical and science fictional.  (Because of this book, I hunted down a copy of John M. Ford's Growing Up Weightless, which is perhaps the most insanely subtle book I've ever read, but that's a subject for a whole different post.)  Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary isn't a book everyone will enjoy; it's odd, leisurely paced, and not without flaws.  Yet still, I love it.  Perhaps you will too.

4 comments:

  1. Nope, never been to the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Pretty. :)

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    1. You came very close! It's only an hour outside of Boulder. :)

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  2. Storm Gulch is a dramatic name for a place that looks so tranquil. But I can see how the trolls wouldn't like it if they'd called it Unicorn Pond, 'cause then that'd bring in too many hikers.

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    1. Only if the unicorns put in a trail. (Colorado hikers are lazy! Always surprises me how few people here venture into trail-less terrain.)

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