Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flora Segunda

I read this book (or, half of it, anyway), Flora Segunda, by Ysabeau Wilce, because I read a brief review in Salon that stated, "Weird in the best possible way, Wilce's novels are what girl readers graduating from the Harry Potter books ought to be reading instead of the insipid "Twilight" series."

Having been sucked unwittingly into the Twilight series myself, and a big fan of YA fiction (as the faithful reader knows), I was a sucker for just such a recommendation.

For the 50 or 60 pages, I was riveted. Flora Segunda is young woman who lives in some kind of magical universe where, like Harry Potter, some people practice magic, some people are not quite human, and often our silly little laws of physics don't apply. I was most fascinated by Flora's house, which Wilce is always describing - a decrepit house so large Flora doesn't know the half of it; a house that changes, where you might get lost of a week if the elevator takes you to an unknown area.

Because Flora's mother (the general of the army [shout out for the ladies!]) travels, Flora essentially lives alone, with the exception of a drunken father-type that she calls by his first name and who mostly stays in his room. The house does have a butler, however, who would normally keep this falling-apart mansion glittering, but he's been locked away for many years. The butler convinces Flora to breathe life back into him, literally by pressing her lips to his and blowing into his mouth.

Wilce's universe is like a bizarro San Francisco - Flora lives in "Califa" and folks like me that lived or live in SF will get a little thrill by local landmarks with a twist. Wilce also uses creative language, digging deep into her wing-dings to create words that made me pause and wonder how they might be pronounced.

For some reason the book got a little boring for me around page 200 hundred, and there I've stopped. I might come back to it later on. Possibly it's just me - I can think of a couple of friends who would probably love this book. And, I should think it's absolutely terrific for teens and pre-teens that have just finished Harry Potter.


Hannah said...


I just found your blog by googling "classic tales podcast", and it looks like we have at least a part of our taste in books in common (I love Margaret Atwood, for instance, and graphic novels like Fun Home and Maus). I think I can get a few great recommendations here, so I'm going to subscribe - although your review of "Never let me go" had me doubting for a moment, that must be one of my favourite books ever. But these differences in opinion just make a blog more interesting, at least if I don't disagree with the writer all the time, so you got yourself a new reader...and since I think it's a little creepy to subscribe to a total stranger's blog without saying hi (feels a bit like voyeurism, if you ask me), that's what I'm doing here.

So, greetings from across the atlantic, and keep it up!

Special K said...

Hi, Hannah! Thanks for reading (and saying hello!)

E. L. Fay said...

Thanks for this. My mother and I both agreed that Twilight was inappropriate trash, so my 13-year-old sister is currently not allowed to read it. I don't have much money right now (being a recent college grad) and this seems like the perfect cheap Christmas gift for her!

Special K said...

Send me your address, EL Fay, and you can have my copy. My email is mrs_roark(at)Yahoo(dotyouknowtherest).