Sholio (sholio) wrote,


I just finished the fourth Benjamin January book, Sold Down the River, and all I want to do is flail around happily. These books are so good! I need to write up a proper rec post for this series, but all I have right now are incoherent dolphin noises. I was thinking this one wouldn't be as good as the others, since he's out of New Orleans for most of it, and I'm so hooked on the whole cast and on the way Hambly writes the living, breathing city itself. But I needn't have worried, because oh wow, that book was awesome. *FLAILS*

I think one of the things I loved most about this book, besides all the new characters in the Mon Triumphe slave quarters, is the way that even though most of Ben's friends aren't present in most of this book, they're still an active presence -- his wistful longing for Rose, his coded messages to Shaw and limited contact with Hannibal. I adore how these books are so very focused on connections between people. Ben is willing to pose as a slave at Mon Triumphe not because he wants to save the plantation owner Simon Fourchet -- who is a horrible person and kinda has his murder coming to him -- but because the rest of the people on the plantation don't deserve what would happen to them if someone murders Fourchet. It's not about saving Fourchet so much as the fact that actions have consequences and you can't just remove an evil person without hurting other people, anymore than Ben can be severed from his network of friends and family in New Orleans.

People's lives touch other lives. These books are so very much about the web of human relationships that holds us all together, and the way that kindness and charity and goodness exists in the midst of despair and horror -- and yet they do this without downplaying or trivializing the very real horror and pain of slavery, generational poverty, and war.

I really ♥ them a lot.

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