Review: A Fistful of Sky

So, it’s been a while since I’ve read something as sweet and innocent as A Fistful of Sky.  And I must admit, I found it very disappointing.  Yes, the writing was excellent, and I didn’t catch one typo (every book I’ve read in the past two years has had at least a handful of typos), but, well, the story pretty much sucked – for me.

In a Fistful of Sky, author Nina Kiriki Hoffman, describes a troubled but super-nice 20-year-old woman.  Our main character, Gypsum LaZelle (cool name, by the way), was born into a California family that are anything but normal.  Her siblings each develop powers as they transition from teenagers to adults, except poor Gyp.  Eventually, she does transition into her power, but, unfortunately for her, it’s the power of curses.

Now, mind you, if I got that power, I wouldn’t waste time figuring out who to curse – there are plenty of deserving folks out there.  But, Gyp is not like the rest of us.  She’s super nice and has difficulty owning up to her power.

And, I must say, so does this author.  Ms. Hoffman is a writer worthy of all the awards she has garnered, but, man, is she holding back!  The last scene when Altira asks her to marry her?  And they almost do it, but then don’t?  WTF was that?  They just go out into the sea and float?  I wanted to read them going at it (in a nice and loving way, of course), if nothing more than to experience something real.

Though it’s pleasant to be nice and all, I just can’t imagine a character like Gyp existing in any “real” fantasy setting.  I know, I know, that makes no sense at all.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that though I found many aspects of Gyp’s character that resonated and moved me, I just couldn’t believe she’d be so sweet all the time and that her curses would come out so “nice”.  Nor, for that matter, that the shadow that followed her would be so un-shadow-like.

I read another person’s review of this book, and something they wrote struck me as true about this book:

In short, it’s a fluffy and non-offensive coming-of-age story that’s rather unlikely to offend anyone except die-hard dieters (fat-acceptance shows up as a sub-plot).

Emphasis mine.

Anyway, once I read that, I realized what was bothering me about the book.  And there it is.  It’s too PC.

Highly recommended if you are between the ages of 9 and 13.  Happy Reading!

2 thoughts on “Review: A Fistful of Sky

  1. Going on three years later you get a comment! And it’s critical!

    Actually, though, I agree with most criticisms you made. Except that the book is on the whole disappointing. It’s one of my favorites. I re-read it a time or two every year.

    I DO have to regress to 9-13, however. And ignore the Lesbian subtext. Not that I despise Lesbians. (Some of my best friends, etc. etc.) But because it was so poorly integrated into the story.

    Nina is one of the unsung geniuses of modern literature. I am in awe of her use of words and metaphor and so much more. I do think she would meet great success, Stephen King & Peter Straub level even, if she’d go back to her horror roots. Some of her horror shorts gave me literal goosebumps as I read them and nightmares afterward.

    1. I agree. She’s an excellent writer, but the story just seemed to keep falling short for me. But, as you mentioned, absolutely nothing wrong regressing to a pre-adolescent. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, Lear, and for the comment! 🙂

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