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Green Hardcover – 6 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (6 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765321858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321855
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,674,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Lively and thought-provoking lake effectively anneals steam-punk with geo-mechanical magic in an allegorical matrix of empire building and Victorian natural science." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review for ESCAPEMENT)" --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

JAY LAKE lives and works in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of over two hundred short stories, four collections, and a chapbook, along with five previous novels. In 2004, Jay won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He has also been a Hugo nominee for his short fiction and a three-time World Fantasy Award nominee for his editing.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By southcoastreviewer VINE VOICE on 30 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
... though the issues are entirely due to characterisation, and not necessarily Jay Lake's storytelling ability.

The book does, admittedly, take a while to get going. Our initially unnamed central character is taken away from her village (geographically resembling perhaps mainland China) to a place across the sea (roughly resembling mainland Europe) to be brought up as a lady for reasons left mainly unsaid at the beginning of the novel, though obviously to be married off to a.n other nobleman.

Lake's writing is character driven, and he does build up diverse personalities in a rich world. Green, once it gets started, is a belting read with likeable leads and genuinely pleasing (if slightly obvious) twists. The prose is deep and although the graphic descriptions of some of the fights are a little confusing at points, I didn't find myself needing to re-read it and couldn't put it down much at all!

There are a few caveats that readers should be aware of, that sexuality is of no apparent importance in this world, and neither is the age of anyone participating. However, both aspects are, in my opinion, tastefully dealt with by the author and does lend credence to the mature nature of a lot of the characters.

The only unfulfilling part of the book is that the main character is seemingly never going to be left alone - whenever finding a little bit of contentment, she is torn away in quite cruel circumstances. Still, I suppose there wouldn't be a story without this, and I look forward to the follow-on!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 54 reviews
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
A bi-polar story that's constantly at odds with itself 26 Dec. 2009
By Keonyn - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is a three part story that tells the story of a girl sold in to slavery at a very young age, trained to be a concubine, only to escape and take and become a powerful assassin. That's only part of the story though, as a major part of the story in this book is actually the gods of her world, and their power struggles and manipulation of humanity. The story told at the books core is actually pretty sound and interesting, unfortunately it's constantly at odds with Greens more personal story, which is often weird and seems to consist of little more than pointless exhibition.

The first part is great. We live through this girls "training" to essentially become a wife so she can be married off in high society to primarily benefit her "factor", or owner. This first part is great, though brutal as one can imagine such "training" would be. It suffers somewhat from some pacing problems as it gets a tad redundant at times, but it's otherwise quite interesting. The part that makes it the most interesting is where the author is going with it, and how our main character is going to use this training to her advantage, since it's clear cooperation is not in her nature. The gods at work in the world are also hinted at points in this section, though this is left a bit vague yet.

Unfortunately the first part ends, and things start to go south in the second section, and on in to the third. The plotline with the gods and the cultures becomes more prevalent in the second part, and takes on an even bigger role in the third part. This part of the story is sound and well told, and I found it to be quite interesting as well. The difficult part is that in spite of it being the primary focus and direction of the book, it actually spends the majority of the second and third part of the book playing second fiddle to the weirder, sometimes disturbing, and altogether pointless aspects of Greens life.

At its core this book starts to feel less like a fantasy book about an Asian themed world with varying cultures and a power struggle between imperfect factions and gods, as well as the societies they are related to. It instead feels like an exhibitionist novel about a girl in her early teens and her sexual escapades, which ranges from everything to orgies to bondage/S&M to inter-species relations and so on. It could be with her fellow students in her Sisterhood, or her instructors, or in a jail cell with a fellow inmate while she's imprisoned, or just checking out some woman who helps her even if her life is at risk at the time, and there's even a man tossed in there for good measure; and all in her early to mid teens. If it's going to be a book about some little girls sex life in a fantasy world then so be it, but it comes with the pretense of a fantasy world and a greater story told about these clashing societies and the clashing gods, which pops up only now and again. Honestly, I felt more like I was reading an erotic novel than a fantasy book.

Now the other plot that sits in the backseat for most of the book is actually rather interesting, and I'm actually interested to see how that plays out. But all the unnecessary and strange erotic material makes me weary as it simply doesn't interest me, and it pretty much always felt completely out of place, as though it were just exhibition put in place just to prove the book is for adults.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Starts promisingly...and then just gets plain weird. 17 July 2010
By Black Butterfly - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am a very fast reader so it's unusual for me not to finish a book. It's even more unusual for me to get about 70% of the way through a book and then decide it's just not worth finishing. That's what happened with this book, and having committed so much time and energy to reading as much of it as I did I feel a review is justified.

Green starts off promisingly - a young girl from a poor family in the tropics is sold and taken far away to a city in colder climes, ruled by an immortal Duke. There she is kept in a court, alone except for her female teachers. She is to be turned into a 'great lady' - one of many such in training funded by the Duke. The training is extensive and harsh and most of her teachers are petty and abusive. She learns cookery, sewing, dancing, riding, calligraphy etc but is kept ignorant of the current political system/ruler/situtation. Anything to do with her past is forbidden including her name. She is called simply "Girl". Her only respite from her strict schedule are her sessions with the inaccurately named Dancing Mistress. The style is slow and dream-like, with hints that Girl will not be so easily moulded.

This all seems very promising, if a bit mystifying. It didn't really make sense to me that anyone would spend so much money and time (approx. 10 years) excessively training a girl to be some kind of mistress/wife/courtesan - and not just one girl but many (although they are all kept equally isolated in their own ridiculously resource-intensive courts). The pacing is quite slow throughout this part of the book with very little action. I was hoping it would be worth it when we got to see Girl being kick-ass at political maneuvering and saving future such girls or something of that nature.

Then, in one night Girl escapes and everything changes.


The pacing suddenly speeds up - The Dancing Mistress and her original captor engage her help to kill the unnaturally long-lived Duke of the city. This is all accomplished at the speed of light with minimal hassle or explanation, and then Girl (now known as Green) heads back to her original homeland. Once there she ends up at a temple and trains as an assassin and randomly gets into lesbian BDSM. And then the dancing mistress turns up again and they have sex in a jail cell [did I mention that the Dancing Mistress also happens to look like a furry Mouse-Human hybrid?] and then they go back to the city to save it from baddies who've set themselves up since the Duke's demise.

I kid you not.

By this point in the novel I'm feeling like I'm reading a really bad ripoff of Jacqueline Carey's 'Kushiel's Dart' (which I happen to like).

The weird sex wouldn't be a problem if (a)it felt like a realistic choice for the character (b) there was some build-up/discussion of the character's sexuality instead of jumping straight from virginal/naive girl to experienced lesbian/BDSMist or (c)it added to the story in some way. It didn't. It was just too weird and random and the character describes 'down there' as her sweetpocket. SWEETPOCKET. Worst euphemism ever. And given the first person narrative, there is no excuse for the reader not having the faintest clue why the main character is acting like this.

Aside from the random sex, by this point in the novel the plot was barely holding together. The random changes in focus create the impression that there is no overarching storyline, just a succession of ideas. I found I didn't really care what happened to Green and co. So I put the book down with only a few chapters to go. Possibly the ending makes up for everything else, but it would have to be the most awesome ending in the history of fantasy novels to make up for the journey - this is the opinion I'm going to need to hear in order to finish this book. 1 1/2 stars at the moment.
82 of 107 people found the following review helpful
Misogyny, Furries, Debauchery, Oh my! 31 Dec. 2009
By Bailey Arsenault - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In my defense, the cover is kind of cool, and green is one of my favorite colors. The ridiculously [...] anecdote was obscured by the library code, so I would have put the book back on the shelf if only for that-- "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." PLEASE.

Anyway, it's a story about a little girl from an impoverished farm country (with incredibly inconsistent topography and environment, let me tell you) who is bought by a man referred to as having skin the color of maggots. APPARENTLY, in her miserable country, there is nothing white to which she can compare this man but maggots? Are there not clouds? Nor froth nor snow nor ice or stars that are white?

In case you're wondering, yes, the cover is totally inaccurate. Green, the ~beautiful assassin~ is actually dark-skinned. It's pounded into your brain constantly. Exoticism at its best. Or worst, as you'll soon learn...

...Green is swept away to some foreign country full of ~maggot people~ and is trained to be a courtesan and completely holed away from any men except for Federo, the maggot man. He's referred to alternatively as a fop and a dandy-- for the record, that's offensive to both parties. Fops and dandies are NOT the same thing, Mr Lake. I know you were skirting around calling him gay, but really? Get your ostentatious socialites straight. (Oh-ho, a double entendre! I wasn't even trying!)

Anyway, so eventually she learns about ~sex~ and how she's expected to be compliant and please whatever man she's with without any regard to her own pleasure.

Why, yes! This IS written by a man! BUT IT GETS BETTER OR WORSE, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. The mistress who teaches Green about sex lets her play around with...


Get this...


Her sweetpocket. Let me repeat that.


Meditate on that a while. More craziness ensues. Green is taught to become a ninja at night by her dancing instructor, who is A FURRY. I wish there was a picture of this creature, but she's like a large, anthropomorphic MOUSE WOMAN.

Anyway, I skipped around and found a scene where Green is being flogged for having killed someone and promptly GETS OFF ON IT. Her hotpocket-- I mean, sweetpocket filled with heat and blah blah blah blah stuff ew. It was out of context (even with me flipping back a few pages to see what led up to it) and was a pointless, unpleasant scene.

There's also a short bit concerning homosexuality-- men together is SO DISGUSTING but ladies together is a-okay! Good to know our societal bearings on what relations are acceptable and which aren't reflect on this fictional world. This is justified by Green saying that the opinion was taught to her in the Pomegranate Court. Sorry, Mr. Lake. That's not good enough.

OH AND THEN LATER ON SHE HAS SEX WITH THE MOUSE LADY. I WISH I WAS KIDDING. They have been locked up in a jail together and apparently, the mood is just right and they 'do the deed'. You know what I mean.

I think the worst part about this book, above all, is that it's dedicated to the author's daughter. What kind of screwed up author dedicates a book about misogyny, sex slavery, furries, sadomasochism, and all kinds of other screwed up subjects to his DAUGHTER?

I can, therefore, conclude that this book (the writing of which was encouraged by Mr Lake's 'supportive blogging community', aka, LJ friends list full of Inu Yasha and Bleach fans) is a very, very poorly written RP that somehow, by powers unknown to me, was published.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Don't waste your time on this book 12 July 2012
By Meghan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was one of the worst books I have had the bad luck to purchase. Since other reviewers covered the synopsis, I'll just give my quick thoughts on this:

Characters: terribly written. Green is supposed to seem like some really wicked killer who is somehow still sensitive, deep, and smart. Instead, she comes across as a too-wise, whiney, nymphomaniac teen. She really doesn't manage to do much of anything herself, then later brags that 'bandits' are afraid of her. But hey, she bakes good bread! The other characters aren't any better. There is a lot of gay sex in this book, with some bondage thrown in for good measure. And did I mention much of it is older women with young girls? Yeah.. and the pedophilia is treated as though it were wonderful and sweet, instead of the disgusting perversion it really is. These characters are treated like play actors in a middle-aged man's sexual fantasies (especially since there are NO decent straight men in this story to invade that fantasy).

Plot: meandering. Disconnected. There are three phases in this book, without any sort of flow in between. Phase one reads like a typical 'girl being trained to do something wonderful' book, with child abuse thrown in (but with characters who ring anything but true). Phase two is about a temple where Green does little but explore her sexuality, is sexually abused, and discovers a love for bondage. Phase three almost seems like it's going somewhere.. but has laughably bad plot twists.

Setting: a decent element in this book, but nothing to write home about.

Writing: this is about the only bit of this book that has merit. The author *can* turn a phrase.. when he tries. Which is not often, and can't make up for the rest of it being so awful.

Morals: this is REALLY where I think the author got in trouble. Green makes statements that couldn't be made by anyone without world experience- and yet she fails to explain her reasoning or why we should listen to her. I would like to be able to just enjoy this as the fantasy book it is, yet the author invades that by involving religion, politics, sexuality, and the Human Condition: none of which he seems to understand very well. A GOOD author can cover a lot of ground in a novel, even a fantasy, and really explore real world issues. But this is not that author, and he stretched himself far too thin here.

Frankly, this one was SO bad I'm amazed anyone could remotely like it. If I hadn't bought this on my kindle, I'd be sending it into the woodstove.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Memoirs of a Girl Assassin 24 Aug. 2009
By Clarereads - Published on
Format: Hardcover
One of her earliest memories is being carried away by the tall man, while her father, who never meets her eyes, or says goodbye, accepts a small bag of coins. The girl is raised in isolation, trained through intense study and frequent beatings to become a concubine or to be a rich noble's wife. Addressed only as "Girl" from age three until age 11, she is raised under the sadistic and jealous eye of her jailer and tutor, Mistress Tirelle. Girl swallows her rage, her fire, her stubbornness and waits for something, anything to improve. Hope comes when the Dancing Mistress enters her life and teaches Girl how to move. The Dancing Mistress teaches poise, confidence and self-defense. This early section is only about a third of the book, yet it was the most fascinating for me. We move along with dread yet fascination, waiting for something to happen, something to change, as Girl's narrative, and the lessons of her many teachers make for a compelling read. When the factor visits her, and dubs her Emerald, I got excited about seeing Emerald maneuver through court life, politics and also be able to use her finely trained skills.

In one horrible night, Green escapes in an attempt to get back home, to the memory of her simple life before she was sold. Her journey home and beyond were quite touching and flowed naturally, but about halfway through, the book stops being enjoyable and just gets weird. I would have liked the book so much more if we had seen Emerald living the life she had been training for, and then perhaps using the marriage or courtship as a way to return home, rather than as a fugitive. The contrast then between her old life and new would have been even greater. All the lessons she received or had beaten into her were wasted, both in the characters life and in the storytelling. Is it lazy writing? Poor editing? There were brief scenes where the style and mood fit what I enjoyed earlier in the book, but I really was forcing myself to finish.

First part of the book? Five stars! Middle part? Three stars. Last part? One star.
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