Tag: Malka Older

Review – The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles

Posted September 8, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka OlderThe Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, Malka Older

Recieved to review via Netgalley

It’s pure chance that I’d so recently read The Mimicking of Known Successes, but it definitely made me eager to read this follow-up. The setup continues rather Holmesian, but set on a planet full of dangers, not quite hospitable to humans, on which humanity has nonetheless made a home in a series of settlements joined by rails. Mossa is an investigator, looking into a disappearance — and Pleiti is her girlfriend.

The previous story’s shadow lingers here, with Pleiti definitely upset by her experiences, her worldview shaken, and with people around her a little wary and doubtful given her involvement in what happened. Mossa remains… well, Mossa, but her care for Pleiti shows in so many ways. I really enjoy their relationship: Pleiti has to guess a little at whether Mossa’s gestures are significant, is maybe over-reading significance into some things (and underestimating others); their relationship isn’t quite stable yet, but nonetheless, their careful attitude to it and to each other, carefully building things up, is enjoyable.

The mystery itself is less gripping to me: I enjoy it as a vehicle for understanding the world better, for seeing Mossa and Pleiti together, but any mystery would do, for that. The solution was actually a little obvious, when it came, but it was the getting there that mattered.

I enjoyed this a lot, and eagerly look forward to more novellas centring these two.

Rating: 4/5

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Review – The Mimicking of Known Successes

Posted June 19, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka OlderThe Mimicking of Known Successes, Malka Older

Received to review via Netgalley

This novella has one very Holmes-ian lead, Mossa, who is rather neuroatypical and has her own way of thinking and making decisions, and one Watson-ish character,  Pleiti. Back in their university days, the two were dating, and Mossa’s current case brings them back together, both unsure of what exactly they want from it. I could’ve done with just a little more focus on that and how they work together, but in general I think it worked quite well: Pleiti’s feelings all being stirred up again really shows, at least, even if it’s a bit less obvious from Mossa’s side.

As far as the world goes, it’s a fascinating idea — there’s a sense of plenty of world-building in the background, plenty more space in which other characters are living and working. Sometimes that’s the downside of a novella: it feels too constructed, there’s no room to imagine that other characters are out there… or it goes too far and reveals too much complicated machinery, leaving the story feeling secondary. I think Older walks the line quite well here: there’s enough to whet the appetite, without being overwhelming.

The mystery itself unfolds in a rather Holmes-ian way, where the connections Mossa makes aren’t always obvious — though Pleiti is an intelligent Watson, and one who knows her Sherlock, and thus she puts things together to catch up with Mossa just in time.

I enjoyed it, and would definitely read more.

Rating: 4/5

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