Recently I filled out a survey and it asked what three books would I take if I was stuck on a deserted island. This book is one I picked. Made me think about why I picked it and that leads to my new plan. I'm going to review books I would take to a deserted island.
Tinker is a girl who is super smart. She has been doing for herself since she was a small girl which was a bit touch and go for a bit as she lives on an alien world where the aliens are elves. One night she is working in her scrap yard when an elf chased by crazy magical dogs. He gets mangled up by the dogs but in the end they defeat the dogs. Except they are now on earth and without magic they have to keep the elf alive long enough to get back. We have her helpful and artistic cousin and a pseudo aunt who is a professor of xenobiology at the local university. The elf Tinker rescued just also happens to be the viceroy and more than just a little but important.
WIndwolf the elf is also young and idealistic according to his people and when he finds a human woman who is smart has leadership in spades and moves heaven and earth to save him he falls in love. Of course things get complicated for that point on.
Why this book would be in my must read list for the rest of my life is a little tricky to pin down but I am going to try.
The world building is just bloody awesome. I love it when alien, shapeshifting or paranormal worlds have a society. People forget that. They figure out the magic and the science without realising people act based on their internal belief system. Wen Spencer is brilliant at working out how society will work. The only other person who I've seen do it so well is Patricia Briggs and her werewolves. The elves in this book of course have ties to human society to so any slip in the fabric of their world can be explained by this previous interaction with humans but also the elves are a society and live in a world of their own. The fact that Tinker, who has lived on the planet all her life and has only been involved in the elves peripherally, allows us to discover this new society through her eyes is fantastic.
Girls kick butt in this story. Put it this way this book could easily pass the bechdel test. There are almost as many female main characters as their are men. Instead of talking about men they often talk about science, making difficult choices and the future of the world. They argue, they agree and they are enemies as well as friends. The women aren't there to fill out a world populated with men instead the world is shared equally. Tinker is the main character and she is smart and clueless about relationships. She can literally move heaven and earth to get what she wants but has no clue how cute she is. Tinker is what makes this book a stand out. I can relate to her, how she is clever at one thing and clueless about others. Her leadership abilities are celebrated instead of ridiculed but also acknowledged as something different from what is accepted of women.
My mom once mentioned that she liked my own books because there were family members in my books. Tinker has family which I've noticed is missing from a lot of books. She has cousins, dead grandfathers. Unknown aunts and evil grandparents on her mother's side. it is all complicated and it is very messy with all the feelings that entails. Tinker literally was born without a mother or a father and yet family is still making her life messy.
Of course off all this means that you have a world that is real. Very real. I think that is why books like Game of Thrones does so well.
The other thing that I love about this book and has me rereading it at least once a year is the love interest. I admit I like my romance and I love a good love interest. But I also don't like when that is all the story is about. Yes, there is romance but it is just part of life not the entirety of the book.
So this year if you don't pick up more than one book, please make sure one of them is Tinker by Wen Spencer.