oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

Spiegler, THE AMETHYST ROAD

Louise Spiegler, The Amethyst Road

The Amethyst Road has an intriguing premise: an alternate world at about our level of technology whose culture is laced with gypsy culture (I use the generic term because the author draws from several tribes and I think has some original elements as well ). There's a smidge of fantasy (the protagonist sees the ghost of her father) but I think it's really science fiction. It starts out with poverty, prejudice, & protagonist's irresponsible sister but soon becomes a journey and coming-of-age story with a very satisfying (and not entirely predictable) ending.



The protagonist, Serena, is living with her older sister Willow and Willow's toddler daughter because, thanks to Willow's pregnancy, they were thrown out of their paternal grandmother's home and out of their mother's tribe as well. Serena is trying to be the responsible one around the house as well as attending a private school where she studies Romanae (essentially, Latin), the language of law. The various tribes are discriminated against in various ways, and when Willow's inattentiveness results in her daughter being taken away, Serena knows it's up to her to get the child back.

Serena's own anger at the child welfare agents results in an accident; not sure if she's killed a man or not, she flees and begs help from the tribe that cast her out. She ends up traveling with a young man named Shem, who wants to change tribes from musicians (he's a terrible violinist) to merchants (the tribe of Serena's absent mother). Along the way, Serena sees injustice (most notably, against a group of migrant farm workers) and finds herself working to overcome it. At the same time, her relationship with Shem grows more and more confusing.

It's a first person narrative, and I found myself really caught up in the story, enjoying the romance and enjoying Serena's voice. The ending was satisfying in many respects, several of which I did not expect.

I read it just before Christmas but didn't have time to write it up then. I'd be interested to hear what others think of the book.

Tags: books, sf/f, ya
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