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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Caves of Steel
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 86/270 pages
The Blue Sword
Recorded Books LLC, Diane Warren, Robin McKinley
Progress: 73/735 minutes
Daughter of Mystery
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 251/399 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages
Sleight of Hand - Katrina Strauss I was browsing a review blog when I came across Sleight of Hand's cover art, which caused my “ooh, pretty” reaction to kick in. I read the review and was intrigued. I was a little concerned by the bit in Samhain Publishing's “warning” that mentioned “dubious consent,” but I decided to take my chances. I'm glad I did.Strauss is an excellent author, and (disclaimer time) I liked this novella (short story?) enough that I actually contacted her and told her so. To my surprise, she emailed me back, which is how I ended up with one of her shorter stories, which later led to me buying more of her works. I wrote a post a while back about Strauss's Some Kind of Stranger, the third work of hers that I've read. She's an author who has yet to disappoint me.So, what did I enjoy about Sleight of Hand?The first thing I noticed and really appreciated was the setting. Little details about the train and information about Edwin's experiences with depression gave me a good feel for the world this story was set in. I suppose that those who go into this story expecting a hot sex scene right from the start may be a bit disappointed. To those people I say: just keep reading. The sex scenes in Sleight of Hand are on what I'd consider the “smokin' hot” end of the heat scale.As far as Samhain's “dubious consent” warning goes...well, I agree with that, and usually that sort of thing would make me at least a little uncomfortable. I think one of the reasons why I was okay with the “dubious consent” aspect was because it was presented as a lowering of Edwin's inhibitions, rather than as Satori making him do something he wouldn't have otherwise done (slight spoiler: Edwin's first time with Satori happens while he is hypnotized, something Satori told him he could do to help him with his depression and inability to sleep soundly). Edwin's initial reaction to Satori made it clear that he was attracted to him to the point that he had to struggle to hide it. Had Satori and Edwin ended up in each other's company often enough, I think they could have become a couple under more normal circumstances, although Satori probably still would have been the one to initiate the relationship.I do think this novella had a few weak points. One of them was Satori and Edwin's relationship. I could understand why Edwin fell for Satori, but I couldn't understand why Satori fell for Edwin to the point that he was willing to spend all of eternity with him. Edwin seemed overly young and immature for someone like Satori. A good example of his immaturity: Alma agreed to marry someone she didn't even remotely like because she knew Edwin couldn't be counted upon to hold himself together enough to support the family (because of his history of depression). Edwin felt guilty about that for a little bit, but then, when Satori asked him if he would be willing to leave his family so the two of them could be together, he readily agreed. Not only that, he had the gall to think "that if his sister truly wished for his happiness, then she would understand when, upon reaching their destination, he elected to stay on the train and continue his journey elsewhere" (p. 36 on my Nook). It made me wish that Alma could have punched him at some point before the end of the story. He kind of deserved it.As far as Satori and Alma went, I was left wanting more. Both characters had huge secrets that were revealed right near the end, and I would have loved to continue to read more about the two of them. Edwin was the most fleshed-out character in the story, but I thought Satori had the potential to be more interesting, and Alma showed signs of being way more awesome than her brother.Overall, I really enjoyed Sleight of Hand and hope that Strauss will one day publish more works featuring Edwin, Satori, and Alma. In the meantime, I still have several of Strauss's other works to read.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)