Day 12 of Zero to Hero asked us to continue the conversation we started on one of our comments (hey, I’m almost caught up! Incroyable!), and I thought I would expand on the thought here and tell you all about the day I discovered what might be my favorite genre of literature.
It was about a year ago, maybe a little bit longer. After work, we were eating dinner in the employee dining room, and my friend Nati had a new book she had found somewhere on one of the various bookshelves throughout employee housing. The cover had a long-haired girl holding a sword, which caught my interest immediately. The title was “The Privilege of the Sword,” By Ellen Kushner.
I picked it up, and read the back.
Welcome to Riverside, where the aristocratic and the ambitious battle for power in the city’s ballroom, brothels and boudoirs. Into this alluring world walks Katherine, a well-bred country girl versed in the rules of conventional society. Her mistake is thinking that they apply. For Katherine’s host and uncle, Alec Campion, aka the Mad Duke Tremontaine, is in charge here—and to him, rules are made to be broken. When Alec decides it would be more amusing for his niece to learn swordplay than to follow the usual path to marriage, her world changes forever. Blade in hand, it’s up to Katherine to navigate a maze of secrets and scoundrels and to gain the self-discovery that comes to those who master: the privilege of the sword.
Then I promptly opened it up, and started reading.
At some point, I think Nati asked if I wanted to borrow it. I did, I very much did. I am pretty sure I had had plans for the evening, but I went home and read instead.
The story followed Katherine, a 16-year-old girl, as she goes form being a very proper girl to coming into her own as a person. There is swordplay, and tea drinking, and balls, and fights and death and social commentary. It. Was. Amazing.
Then I Googled the author and discovered it was an entire Genre.
Mannerpunk! (Well, “Fantasy of Manners”, but Mannerpunk is an accepted term as well.)Somebody has taken the fantasy novels of my childhood and combined them with a Jane Austen sense of propriety and decorum. HOW HAD I NOT KNOWN THIS WAS A THING?
Mom would have loved it.
I mailed the book to my brother (after I had given it back to Nati and she gave it to me; I didn’t steal it.) I don’t know if he read it. Then I promptly forgot about it until earlier this morning. So I Googled it again, to make sure I didn’t make it up.
If you are a fan of Jane Austen, OR if you are a fan of Fantasy, you should check out “The Privelige of the Sword”. But now, if you will excuse me, I have to go order a whole bunch of books. There’s a whole Genre to check out!