I'm finding a weirdly specific trend, in fantasy at least: Books by female authors tend to have only one POV (MAYBE two, if it's the love interest), whereas books by male authors are likely to have a handful or more. 
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(Photo via Luc De Leeuw on flickr.)

I'm doing a skim of my Goodreads shelves (looking particularly at the high fantasy one), and although I read mostly books by ladies... I've only found about four that interweave 3+ perspectives. And most of those by men fit that requirement easily. Very strange.

I'll keep my speculations on why this seems to be a pattern to myself for the moment, but I'm curious: Anyone else have thoughts on this, or have a book in mind that breaks the trend?
 
 
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This review is for my second read of this book; I read it first in 2010. Loved it again, though I noticed a few flaws now that I didn’t then—of course, relieved of the suspense, I could dwell more on the actual writing. Still, there was much of literary merit in the book, as well as the enjoyable tale I remembered.

The story takes place in an alternate-universe France, following Phèdre, a young woman trained first at a highly-respected pleasure-house and later at the knee of a political intriguer. From the beginning, though, she is marked out from the other courtesans-to-be by a mote in her eye—the touch of the angel of pain, and a sign that she is an “anguissette,” one who derives pleasure from pain. As she comes of age and begins taking assignments, collecting information from her clients via pillow-talk and delicate manipulations of their emotions, she becomes steadily more embroiled in the conspiracies and machinations surrounding her country’s elite—and when the time comes that she knows too much, she (and her reluctant bodyguard) finds herself the target of more pain than she signed up for.

It is an easy thing, I think, for a book containing BDSM sex scenes to fall either into the "mindless erotica" or "rape glorification" categories of trash. (For example, A.N. Roquelaure/Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy I would call "mindless rape glorification".) This book, however, is resoundingly neither of those literary sins. It is far from being mindless or, I'd argue, even erotica—the sex scenes are not nearly as explicit as one might expect, and are far overshadowed by the intricacies of the novel's many plots and subplots. And, though there is nonconsensual intercourse, the main character's reaction to it is to be thoroughly repulsed, even as her masochistic nature leads her to feel pleasure in it. In this way, as in others, the book walks a fine line, but manages to maintain a steady moral compass.


 
 
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Sorry, Brandon Sanderson -- I've loved everything else of yours that I've read, but this one couldn't even inspire me to finish it.

And that's despite the fact that it's a middle-grade* novel that would only take a couple hours of dedicated reading to get through.

On paper (this is secretly a pun, because it has a drawing-based magic system), this book should have been awesome. An academy setting, fascinating alternate-history worldbuilding, and a Brandon Sanderson Magic System (TM)? What's not to love?


 
 
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SPOILER WARNING
This post makes reference to events throughout N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. If you haven't read it yet (and plan to), I recommend skipping this!

(For my spoiler-free review of the book, click here.)

Jemisin is clearly trying very hard to write a story with a feminist angle to it--the world is imbalanced largely due to the death of the only goddess; Nahadoth, our love interest, was a gender-fluid deity; most of the major players are female; Yeine comes from a matriarchal tribe of warrior-women—but in none of these cases does she take the story quite far enough. In falling short, she actually draws attention to these flaws, causing great irritation in those of us who care about this sort of thing.


 
 
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(I'll be posting a spoiler-ful feminist tirade about this book in about a week -- stay tuned!) (EDIT: HERE.)


This book is right up my alley—female protagonist thrown into an unfamiliar and extravagant setting with ulterior motives all around? Yes, please! It drew me in right from the opening statements:


I am not as I once was. They have done this to me, broken me open and torn out my heart. I do not know who I am anymore.

I must try to remember.