January 6th, 2011


The Boy from Ilysies, Pearl North

The first book I read over the holidays was Pearl North's The Boy from Ilysies, a sequel to Libyrinth. Boy left the characters a bit more in the air than Libyrinth (see my review) did. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

The coolest thing about this book was that the title character, Po, comes from a country where men are, essentially, the property of women, and are not safe economically or physically unless they are the property of a woman or women. Men in his country are also reputed to be more emotional and uncontrolled than women; they are freer to express emotion, whether that be crying when they're sad or getting into fights when they're angry.

This cultural difference provides some major conflict for Po. At the end of Libyrinth, he is the only male from his country who's part of the new world of equality the Libyrinthians (I just made that word up) are trying to foster even as they struggle to feed all of their new residents. Po gets into a lot of fights and suffers through a lot of misunderstandings that grow worse and worse, until he meets a woman of his country and finds some comfort and confidence. But then things get worse (I'm trying to avoid spoilers), and Po hits the road with a group whose aim is to find more food for the Libyrinth.

Then things get worse. Even success is tainted. Though some good comes out of their journey, this book is pretty much The Empire Strikes Back. And I am really looking forward to a follow-up.