I just finished A FISTFULL OF SKY by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Loved it, definite recommend. This may be the best fantasy I have read this year and ranks up with my favorite of her's, THE THREAD THAT BINDS THE BONES.
The book is about Gypsum LaZelle, who has been born into a family of magic users. In her family, the children normally come into their gifts at the age of 12 to 16. It worked this way for her brothers and sisters, but not for Gypsum who has resigned herself to being the non-magical one of the bunch.
One Gypsum is 20, this changes. She finally goes through transition and comes into her gift - a gift nobody expected and Gypsum is not sure having her gift is better than not being gifted.
The book has a romance near the end, but the most important relationships in the book are Gypsum's relationships with the people in her family. She has been powerless for a long time among people who have power and are sometimes careless even with those they love. Gypsum's new gift forces her to reevalutate herself and how she has been treated and how she will in turn treat other, but it also forces her family to reevaluate some of their assumptions.
The vivid descriptions and the depth of the characters make A FISTFUL OF SKY riviting reading. I recommend it to everyone, but especially think that those among us that like YA fiction should read this novel. It is a coming of age novel of the best kind.
This goes on my keeper shelf.--Shelley (10 Nov 02)
By the most amazing coincidence, I read A FISTFUL OF SKY by Hoffman this weekend too and enjoyed it. Shelly did a great job summarizing it but I don't think it's really an SFR -- it contained the sweet beginnings of one. Hoffman did a great job capturing the frustrating, exciting, inexperienced beginnings of relationship. All the tentative moves. Are we on a date? Who pays? etc.
My only quibble with the book was that it felt a bit unfinished. I had *so* many questions at the end. Hope they're addressed in her next book.--Edith (12 Nov 02)