Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

A Fistful of Sky

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Fistful of Sky (2004) Nina Kiriki Hoffman

At loose ends last night I picked up A Fistful of Sky because it was a single book and not a series. (I picked up the first book in a series by Mindy L. Klasky, and was so annoyed by the main character I put it back after 12 pages. Michael says it gets better, but I didn’t have the patience.) I started the book sitting at the edge of the sofa, thinking that I’d read through a few pages to see what it was like, but it probably wasn’t what I was in the mood for.

Four hours later I was stretched out on the sofa finishing the book.

I can’t quite place what it is that I liked so much about this book, except that it drew me in, despite the fact that initially I wasn’t sure it was what I was in the mood to read.

Set in a non-specific current time in Southern California, the main character, Gypsum, comes from a family of true magicians (I have to admit that initially the fact she was called Gypsum annoyed me and made me wonder on earth Nina Kiriki Hoffman was thinking, but it eventually grew on me). Witches whose magic is genetic, and whose strength is variable, even skipping the occasional family member. The book starts in Gyp’s adolescence, although the majority of the book takes place when she is twenty.

Although this is a coming-of-age story, it isn’t an angsty one. Gypsum comes from a crazy family, but despite the craziness, she loves her family, and is close to her siblings–something I particularly enjoyed reading. It’s always a nice to read about characters who don’t hate their families, while not having perfect, wonderful, and completely unrealistic families.

But what I liked best was Gyp. Anyone who thinks that “Ultimate Fashion Sense” is a curse, is all right in my book. And it was the little things like that, which made the book. The interactions between Gyp and her siblings, her difficult relationship with her powerful mother, and the things she finds important.

It’s a wonderful book, and although it may well be a “girl” book, I still highly recommend it.
Rating: 8/10

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult     Comments (0)    

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