Saturday, November 08, 2014

2014 book 266

Jo Walton's The Just City
I was super excited to see a Jo Walton novel come out so soon after her last one, and this one had a concept that really appealed to me. It's about Athena deciding to create Plato's Just City (from his Republic) as an experiment, and after trying to understand why Daphne has turned herself into a tree, Apollo decides he can do with some time as a mortal and enlists as one of the children (the others are slaves purchased for this purpose). The POV characters are Apollo (as a mortal boy), a brilliant girl (one of the slave children), and one of the "masters"--a woman from the early 1800s who longed for a place where she could be an equal/intellectual. And it's all fascinating, and really well done, and Socrates comes into it (I always picture him as the guy from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)-, and I LOVED it-and then right at the end there is a LENGTHY philosophical debate (I was not enough of a philosophy nerd to really enjoy this) and it just ENDS. Apollo is all, "well, a bunch of other stuff happened too, see ya, but let me end on a philosophical note." So, like, as a WORK of philosophy, or as a thought experiment, it's interesting, but as a novel, that ending was less than satisfying. And I prefer to read a novel. (I take back all complaints if a sequel is forthcoming.)*

*Thanks to author Jo Walton for letting me know a sequel IS forthcoming. :) All my complaints are rescinded and my grade is now A-/B+.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in January.