I love McKillip’s work, now that I’ve got into it; I actually found it a bit difficult to pick which of her books to read last night, and ultimately just went with Lynn‘s recommendation. It took me a little while to get the hang of how this world works: there’s cars and trams, but also ancient magic, a bit closer to the surface than it is for us. It’s nice to have a fantasy setting where there’s industry, where there are essentially grad students (trainee bards) and archaeologists (the princess and her team) and that sense of a past, present and future — some fantasy worlds neglect one of the three.
The twin narratives mostly work for me; you slowly realise what the linkages are. I liked that we also get to read Phelan’s thesis, as well; but then, I’m always a fan of texts-within-texts like that (see also: my love of the various texts mentioned in The Lord of the Rings).
As for McKillip’s writing, I found it a bit less dense and dreamlike than usual, and I’m not sure if that’s because I’m used to it now or because it’s genuinely more comprehensible. It’s still magical, either way.