readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

The Lily and the Horn – Catherynne Valente *****

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The Lily and the Horn
The Lily and the Horn by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In a fairytale-like future, wars were eschewed as pointless, wasteful exercises of violence. Battlefields merely resulted in mass death – why not instead settle conflicts by a contest of poison?

Thus began the tradition of wars fought at a dinner table. Of course, human nature being what it is, it wasn’t long before these toxic dinners no longer involved merely two rival leaders. Soon, the leaders sent proxies in their stead. Then, many proxies. So – mass death of the innocent is still bound to occur, but some things have changed. Since poison has always been the traditional realm of women, he now have schools where some women train to be well versed in the uses of exotic poisons – and others who become experts in ways of combating poison’s effects and knowing the antidotes.

In this world, Valente tells us a tragic love story.

Lush and lyrical language encases fascinating and well-developed ideas – and a plot which is moving and lovely in itself. Loved it.

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