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The Moon and the Sun (1997)

por Vonda N. McIntyre

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7092524,130 (3.41)42
In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition, yet the Sun King's appetite for glory knows no bounds. In a bold stroke, he sends his natural philosopher on an expedition to seek the source of immortality, a rare, perhaps mythical, sea monster. When Father Yves de la Croix returns with the shrieking creature with the gargoyle face, Marie-Josephe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in his scientific experiment. But struck by the creature's gaze and exquisite singing, Marie-Josephe finds herself contemplating actions that would defy every institution in her life: king, country, church, and even family. Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart and her convictions, even at the cost of changing her life forever.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Illusion por Paula Volsky (feeling.is.first)
    feeling.is.first: both books are set in alternate French court, complex politics & difficult moral choices
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This is the kind of book, that in the wrong hands could have been a very boring and uninteresting read. Writing about Versailles and court life is hard to make interesting. I feel like if you are not entirely familiar with the historical context and the intricacies of court politics that some interactions might not read very well, but if you are familiar, the balancing act of emotionally affecting character work with real history is incredibly impressive. This book follows the exploits of a naive girl, Marie-Josephe, who comes to the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV to visit her brother, Yves from the French colony of Martinique. Yves is a Jesuit Priest, who has captured a mermaid for the Sun King. Why does the Sun King want or need a mermaid? He is dying, and he thinks eating the mermaid will be the key to gaining immortality. Everyone assumes that the mermaid is an unthinking beast, but Marie-Josephe realizes that her brother has committed a grave mistake, that the mermaid can understand and talk to her with song. One of the things I think is kind of clever in this book is the idea of cages within cages. The Sun King famously kept the aristocracy under his thumb using the trappings of Versailles, just as the mermaid cannot escape its cage, just as many other characters including Marie-Josephe are trying to escape their respective cages. ( )
  Kittyfoil | Apr 7, 2021 |
An alternate history that focuses on the manners and psychology rather than grand scale political affairs. A few times I felt it veered towards preachy when the reader is shown how little power almost everyone, especially women, had but then again, it's only showing the historical truth. A rich, immersive world pushing the limits of what fantasy can achieve. ( )
  missjudgment | Aug 3, 2020 |
I enjoyed this a great deal, though it's a gentle, historic, thematic story more than a rollicking tale of kidnapped mermaids and romantic derring-do (note presence of both kidnapped mermaids and romantic derring-do in story however). For me, the strongest theme and greatest strength of the story was its depiction of the war between Catholicism and the Divine Right of Kings, and the fulsome exploration of nature and truth.

Our heroine is perhaps a little over-accomplished - she's a natural philosopher in her own right; exchanged letters with Newton; composes music; draws exquisitely; is only sixteen, or perhaps seventeen. But she is, with all that, more intelligent than she is wise, and her limited experience is wonderfully shown through the tale of her getting of wisdom.

Gentle, intelligent, magical, elegant, and I'm looking forward to the movie. (For all the faces I make at some of the character names on that castlist, it's hard to go past Fan Bingbing as a mermaid...) ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
Father Yves de la Croix has been commissioned by Louis XIV, the Sun King, to find a sea monster. Louis, well into his reign in his fifties, believes he will obtain immortality by eating one of these creatures, and Yves, his Jesuit natural philosopher, knows where to find them. He succeeds, returning with a live female and a dead male for dissection.
Yves sister, Marie-Josephe, is also at court. She is intelligent and helps him in science experiments but also naive in the ways of the sophisticated French court. She befriends the live sea creature and learns to communicate with her.
This is an alternate history book about Louis XIV and Versailles with a tremendous amount of historical detail. As someone interested and somewhat knowledgeable about that time period, I found this book extremely interesting, but I suspect others might find the historical aspect a bit dense and too detailed. The book won the 1997 Nebula award versus books like A Game of Thrones, King's Dragon, and How Few Remain, and I believe it was well-deserved. The author has captured well the character of the many persons depicted in the book. Most of them were real persons and have their own historical record. The settings and descriptions are excellent, displaying all the opulence of Versailles.
Some might think the writing a bit stilted, but I thought the formal tone fit the period and setting. The world of the sea creature is suitably fantastical. I especially like music as the medium of communication between Marie-Josephe and the creature. I also liked that the sea creature was the Ariel-type version of a mermaid and more of an alien creature.
I found this an excellent read and truly enjoyed the book. ( )
1 vote N.W.Moors | Feb 19, 2018 |
Marie-Josephe is a naïve young woman suddenly thrust into the spotlight of Louis XIV’s court at Versailles because her brother Yves captures a mermaid for his majesty’s menagerie. She befriends the sea-woman and tries to save the misunderstood creature from Louis’ plans to eat her and gain immortality.

While I enjoyed the story, I skimmed (extensively) because the painstakingly researched and lavishly depicted court at Versailles overwhelmed the characters to the point of being distracting.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Vonda N. McIntyreautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Fields, AnnaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Halsey, GaryArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Midsummer Day’s sun blazed white in the center of the sky. The sky burned blue to the horizon. The flagship of the King crossed abruptly from the limpid green of shallow water to the dark indigo of limitless depths.
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In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyant ambition, yet the Sun King's appetite for glory knows no bounds. In a bold stroke, he sends his natural philosopher on an expedition to seek the source of immortality, a rare, perhaps mythical, sea monster. When Father Yves de la Croix returns with the shrieking creature with the gargoyle face, Marie-Josephe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in his scientific experiment. But struck by the creature's gaze and exquisite singing, Marie-Josephe finds herself contemplating actions that would defy every institution in her life: king, country, church, and even family. Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart and her convictions, even at the cost of changing her life forever.

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