I could just go on and on about how much I adore this series. I'm still in awe at how well Hambly balances the historical realities of the time period she's writing about (particularly since most of the protagonists are free and black in the Deep South) with swashing and buckling and Murder Most Foul and pirates and all the other fun stuff that one wants from an adventure novel. And the characters -- eeeeeee. These books have found so many of my fangirl buttons and mashed them down SO HARD. I can't pick a favorite character because they're ALL my favorite at different times, and they all get to be awesome.
(Though I must admit Rose is the one that makes me squeak and go ROSE HOW ARE YOU SO AWESOME the most, mostly because she is just so cheerfully herself, in open defiance of everything that a woman in her place and time is supposed to be, particularly a woman of color - she's a soft-spoken geeky schoolmistress who quotes Greek philosophers, and she ALSO has her own set of lock picks, and loves to blow stuff up, and pretends to be her "evil twin sister" in a femme fatale dress, and can shoot a gun and ride a horse and herd cattle and be adorably snarky with her boyfriend and OH ROSE HOW ARE YOU SO AWESOME.)
(And, having said that about Rose, I find it completely hilarious and adorable how the series' resident damsel-in-distress is TOTALLY one of the male characters - and one of the only major white characters in the series, to boot. He's been poisoned on multiple occasions, drugged, kidnapped, tied up and left to die in burning buildings MORE THAN ONCE, framed for murder, thrown down a well, nearly sacrificed on an Aztec altar ... the only reason why he hasn't been tied to the train tracks, I suspect, is because they don't have railroads yet.)
At the same time, I'm kind of glad that I can now recover a little bit of my brain for writing again, because these books are so big and intense and rich in detail that they've been eating up huge chunks of my time as well as my mental real estate. And I have novels to write in 2011!
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