I've been hooked on books since childhood, and still am. I usually have at least three books going at any given time. After nearly two decades teaching middle school, I've developed strong opinions about YA fiction. A married mother of many adult children, and a practicing Catholic, my moral paradigms do play into my reviews.
Voices: The Annals of The Western Shore #2, by Ursula leGuin
Memer was born after the invasion of Ansul, her city state, so she does not personally recall a time when her people were free... but those of her House, Galvan, do, and they have taught her the old ways. Outwardly, publicly, Memer complies with the rules of the invaders.....But Memer has a secret.
This is a beautiful tale of a half-breed semi-orphaned girl born into a captive city state, held rather fiercely by illiterate warriors from the east who worship a fire god. To the invaders, books are evil, demonic even, and thus forbidden in this once-cultured and educated place. To Memer, however, books are escape, travel, freedom, hope. Then two unusual visitors come to town, and suddenly the balance of power in Ansul is shifting.... dangerously.
In this second of the three novels of the Annals of The Western Shore, we will again meet with some of the characters from book one, but this is clearly Memer's story, not theirs. I fell in love with her, and with her teacher and guardian, the wounded and wise man who raised her once her parents were gone. It was fascinating to see the small ways the people of Ansul used to rebel, the carefully guarded activities they performed to keep their captors off their backs. You also see things, briefly, through the eyes of the captors, and discover that they are not, after all, completely bad people, and may even have honor. This is typical of Le Guin, forcing you to shift paradigms and see things through the other guys' eyes. Love it.
And you get to see a new side to Caspro Orrec and Gry, from book one.
Enough action to keep you engaged, but lots of wonderful questions as well, in true Ursula Le Guin fashion. Highly recommended, especially to those who love books.