Can we retroactively hand her all of the 2013 awards,
This review is from: The Best of All Possible Worlds (Paperback)
Have you ever had such glowing things to say about a book that you struggled to find the right words? Yeah. That. That's where I am with Karen Lord's [insert word of glowing praise here] novel. So, rather than try to find the right adjectives, let me note what I most loved about this novel. There may be some spoilers in what follows, so proceed with caution.
* Lord obviously respects her readers' intelligence. She doesn't take the time to infodump or explain everything. This is a true first-person narrative in the sense that the narrator knows things and her imagined audience knows those things too, so why would she explain them? Lord expects her readers to put the pieces together into a coherent whole and I love that.
* I love that this is a very human story set against a remarkable backdrop. The focus is on two people and the story of how they slowly fall in love. Lord explores a unique universe full of sci-fi awesomeness, but that is all just background for the relationship forming between these two characters we come to love, admire, and root for. Brilliantly done.
* The Best of All Possible Worlds. Wow. When the mindships' capabilities are explored for the first time, the title takes on a whole new significance. I don't know if Lord was exploring in story the philosophy and theology behind Luis de Molina's attempts to reconcile God's sovereignty with human free will, but that is where my mind went. The title and the tragedy makes me suspect this was Lord's intention and when I made the connection, I had to set the book down and think.
* And yet, the novel was so very readable! We're introduced to lots of new terminology and yet Lord helps us to understand as she invites us to inhabit this imagined world.
* It was funny, fascinating, fun, and so very enjoyable.
When award season rolled around, I would have handed over all of the 2013 awards to Lord. This novel deserves them.