Back in 2010, I was halfway through writing The Sleeping Life when I decided to embark on self-publishing my backlist, so I set it aside and distracted myself thoroughly in other worlds. I'm sure that the six-year gap led to some rather significant changes to how the book ended, but I enjoyed where I took this one.
I tell people, btw, that it's not a Sleeping Beauty re-telling, but then I point out to myself that someone is technically sort of awakened by a kiss... No spindles, however!
And, for the Touchstone fans, here's a bit of trivia that binds these two stories together:
back when I was originally writing Touchstone as a fiction blog, I had a scene where Mori is having a sleepover with Cass, after Cass has discovered she can "dream things real". And because what I was writing was "non-serious stuff I was throwing up on the internet", I cheerfully had Cass dream the facehuggers from Aliens showing up in her bedroom and leaping on poor Mori.
Because what else would a genre-savvy Earth girl dream when picturing the worst things she could inflict on a planet?
But when I came around to editing the blog for publication, I most definitely didn't want to get into any dubious copyright territory. This is the exact same reason why Cass summons a dragon instead of Superman, and why I don't include the actual text of Do Not Go Gentle.
So I cast about for something that I could use instead of facehuggers, and remembered the Kentatsuki from The Sleeping Life. And so The Sleeping Life became the book that Cass had been reading, and left in her room, the day she went for her last highschool exam. And The Sleeping Life is the book that Cass' Mum brings with her, when she finally gets to travel to Muina.
The publication dates don't work out, of course. ;)
Third book in the magical cats series, hitting much of the same notes as before: female friendships, sensible heroine, cats which are a bit magical. Fortunately no TSTL moments this time around.
A pleasantly relaxing read, snack food for the mind without being at all taxing.
"Shadows" is McKinley channelling Diana Wynne Jones, a fact which is foregrounded by the book's dedication. The focus on family, the combination of a magical and a technological world, and the cascading chaos of the story's climax all bring Jones' work strongly to mind.
The thrust of the story is dystopian - while it starts out seeming to be about a problematic step-father, it segues into a focus on the society (although this relies a little on the protagonist having paid very little attention to that society and tuning out in school a great deal).
I started out slow with the book, but settled into it around a third of the way in, when the action picked up, and stayed up way too late reading it. An enjoyable read (though a little overwhelming, with a great deal of teen-speak, alt-world slang, Japanese and "Old World" terms spilling over the pages).