I got this book as a birthday present from my sister.
As soon as I was done reading it (with that shuddering pleasure that only the absolute best books give you), I passed it back to her to read… and I still haven’t got it back, because when she was done, she gave it to her boyfriend to read (someone who is not the biggest fantasy fan), and he won’t read the very end, because “But once I finish it, it’ll be over!”
I’m considering buying another copy, to re-read it and pass it on again to someone else.
It’s amazing that ‘Black Wine’ is a first novel. The characters are complex enough to fully immerse yourself in their lives. The world is not some faux-medieval wish-fulfillment daydream, but a real, gritty and harsh land – that still somehow has the feel of one of your deepest dreams.
Recommended for fans of Ursula LeGuin, Margaret Atwood, and Sheri S. Tepper. (But having said that, I feel I should add that the “feminist” undercurrent of the book is neither distracting, nor does it leave you with that nasty “agenda” taste in your mouth.)
(oh, and they play Scrabble! Yay! (as Scrabble fanatics, both me & my sister got a big kick out of that!)