Eva Fairdeath – Tanith Lee

Today I counted and I have 21 Tanith Lee books. I only (just) have more Tamora Pierce – but I have all of her books, and only a fraction of Tanith Lee’s – none of her vampire books, for example. I have been reading her since I was in primary school and got out Black Unicorn from the library. Because I was very into unicorns. But I went on from there, mostly buying her books secondhand.

What I wanted to talk about was Eva Fairdeath, which I picked up from Ace Books in Levin (oh, the wonders of secondhand books that are actually cheap!). Eva Fairdeath was a weird reading experience, because the main character was crazy. Actually crazy. I would sit there wondering what the hell was wrong with her, although it’s not like the introduction didn’t warn me. But you’re usually not in that person’s head – it’s kind of amazing.

Eva’s raised in a future where woman is object, and Eva herself is treated particularly bad, being albino. She’s grown up nasty as hell and with nothing to enjoy, so when she encounters the man she names Steel, who ‘sells death’, she inflicts her presence on him and runs away with him. Steel is also crazy, and watching them interact is quite fascinating.

The other member of their threesome is Sail. If Eva is scared of Steel leaving her, Sail she’s scared is going ’round with other women. Maybe, but he’s mad about her. Sail seems like the sanest of the three, being the charming rogue type, rather than the cold-blooded killer, or hysterical woman. But the sense is that only together do they make a whole. Yay for functioning threesomes! You know, sort of. You certainly wouldn’t want to cross them.

It’s a very disconcerting read, but a worthwhile one.

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