Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

On lighter notes

I spent this afternoon with helenraven at Fearless Jet Li is a heroic martial artist who puts his career ahead of other obligation and Learns A Valuable Lesson by going off and being a peasant for a few years. He uses martial arts to achieve moral victory over foreign invaders by beating British, American, German(?) and French(?) challengers before being poisoned by an evil Japanese bureaucrat. The noble, and only half-Japanese, martial artist declares him the winner and Jet Li dies nobly, for China with a vision of his blind peasant girlfriend watching him do martial arts practice on a starry night. Sentimental sports tosh, and worryingly nationalistic, and yet so very well done that I enjoyed it anyway. Not up there with the best movies he has done, though.

And I read ellen_kushner's new novel. I have always been a fan, but The Privilege of the Sword strikes me as the best of the Riverside books because it is the one most informed by a real sense of what it is to stand and have swords shoved at your face. PotS is the story of Katherine, the niece of Alec from Swordspoint who comes to town when he offers to have her trained in swordplay because her branch of the family is broke. And he is conducting a moderately callous experiment on her and turns out to be entirely right to do so, in his own terms, and in what become hers. It is wonderful britches role Heyer stuff and Katherine is a delightful viewpoint character who grows up, a lot. By centring on her rather than Alec and his various lovers, most of them male, it avoids the slight male-centredness of the other two books - I don't think either of those is remotely misogynist, but this one just is not even a bit vulnerable to that charge. At the same time, it is intelligent about how if you tell women they are little fluffy-heads, that is what you get. And if you tell them something else, you may be terrified by what you get instead. This is not a review, just a fannish squee.
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