Short works

Books : reviews

Jay Lake.
Tor. 2009

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 4 February 2014

Her exquisite beauty and brilliant mind were not enough to free her from captivity. That took the power of a goddess ... and her skill with a knife.

She was born in poverty, in a dusty village under the equatorial sun. She does not remember her mother, she does not remember her own name—her earliest clear memory is of the day her father sold her to the tall pale man. In the Court of the Pomegranate Tree, where she was taught the ways of a great lady, the ways of a courtesan, she was named Emerald, the precious jewel of the Undying Duke’s collection of beauties.

She calls herself Green.

Sold at the age of three by her father, Green is taken to a distant land and raised to be a courtesan. Frequent punishment fails to break her spirit, and at the age of 12 she escapes, and finds her way back home. But she discovers that you can’t go home again, and this is just the beginning of her adventures.

This starts off rather slowly, as we get a lot of details of Green’s training, parts of which become useful to her in her later adventures. It is like a very unpleasant fantasy boarding school story. Once Green escapes, and we see more of the outside world, things get more interesting. The world is complex and diverse, both politically and ecologically, and Green’s actions have real consequences, for others, and for her later self. But it is not a world to which I particularly wish to return.