I'm currently behind on reviews, so don't be surprised if the recent reviews are a bit sparse.

The Door Into Fire

Cover of The Door Into Fire.

I loved The Door Into Fire by Diane Duane a whole lot. It’s incredibly character-focused fantasy, to the point of reminding me strongly of Lois McMaster Bujold for its strong characters and Ursula Le Guin for its sensitive, almost lyrical descriptions of magic and nature and the relationship between everything. It’s set in a fascinating world that clearly follows a set of rules of magic and mythology (gods! Excellent gods, and all kinds of other beings), but the rules are sufficiently mysterious to feel consistent, yet not clinical. I’m writing this review more than a month after reading the book, and the characters are still very vivid in my mind, which is probably the highest praise I can pay the book.

Also, because this may impact some of my readers’ decision to read the book: This world is wonderfully archaic in many ways, but it is also very emancipated and queer. The protagonist is in a same-sex relationship, and there are open relationships, discussions of how children are brought up, and all female characters have very much characters, opinions, and arcs of their own. The story is not such that I think this needs to be a selling point – it is really good! – but sometimes you just want to read queer-friendly Fantasy, which is a bit thin on the ground.


β€œThe death is inevitable. But we have one power, all men and beasts and creatures of other planes. We can slow down the Death, we can die hard, and help all the worlds die hard. To that purpose it behooves us to let loose all the power we can. To live with vigor, to love powerfully and without caring whether we’re loved back, to let loose building and teaching and healing and all the arts that try to slow down the great Death. Especially joy, just joy itself. A joy flares bright and goes out like the stars that fall, but the little flare it makes slows down the great Death ever so slightly. That’s a triumph, that it can be slowed down at all, and by such a simple thing.”