Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
Spoiler level: not at all
Note: both passages from heroine youth flashback.
If you haven't read Bourne, start with The Spymaster's Lady and The Forbidden Rose, the two jewels in her crown, though My Lord and Spymaster is not so shabby, and features an awesome ferret sidekick and Lazurus, one of my favorite dark characters.
I am savoring her latest, The Black Hawk. Look how early I am in the book! I may be reading it through Christmas. So, without further ado, a short great moment from last night:
If Leblanc were compounded of farmyard dirt and rancor, Madame was spun of steel. She wore a pale lavender dress, cut so low across the bodice that her breasts were clearly visible. Her dignity was such that it did not seem indecent. It was as if she came from a pagan time when the human form was sacred and nudity was without shame. Her hair, black and smooth as ebony, was swept up with silver combs and allowed to fall free in the back. She wore no jewelry whatsoever. Not the least ring or trinket.I just died over this description, especially the pagan time reference. I so get that, so have known people like that, whose personality or presence--or whatever ineffable quality--is so forceful that what might be uncool or uncouth on one person is transformed, altered, made right. Oh, but why am I trying to re-explain this lovely passage?
Now I'm remembering descriptions I was wild about last night instead of doing my own writing. Here, this one. The passage opens as, in reference to a the heroine Justine's earlier comment about not knowing what to expect, Hawker says:
"Let's go expect it somewhere else. I don't like the smell of blood unless it's a throat I cut myself."
Hawker was in many ways like a fine gun. At rest, well made, efficient and even beautiful. Pull back the cocking piece and the gun became deadly. This boy, elegant in motion, perfect in feature, cold as carved crystal, was the cocked gun. He was, in fact, rather frightening.
"One does not slit throats in a public square."
She had never, in point of fact, slit a throat, but she would not admit this to Hawker. He was the entirely genuine murderous spy, and she was not. With a small pang, she envied him.
He strolled beside her, his pace relaxed, his posture all ease and enjoyment. His eye were amused and sleepy. Lies, all of it. The energy contained within this skin hummed in the air between them like a sound. He was more alive than anyone she had met. It was as if he carried an invisible top in the center of his chest, spinning strongly, that made her own nerves buzz in sympathy. He was not a restful person.Uh, I could keep typing out wonderful passages from last night! I just love where she goes with both of these descriptions: instead of cataloguing features, she reaches into imagination and the life swirling around these characters, and uses the things they'd be thinking about, or maybe have read about, or little bits from deep in the psyche of a street-smart French teen.