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The Left-Handed Fate

de Kate Milford

Altres autors: Eliza Wheeler (Il·lustrador)

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1015205,423 (3.69)5
"A quest story to find the three pieces of a magical engine which can either win the War of 1812 ... or stop it altogether"--

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I was all set to love this, because [b:Greenglass House|18222716|Greenglass House|Kate Milford||25656381] is one of my favorite books of the last few years (and because 18th century sailing ships but with steampunky magic!). Unfortunately I found the first half a slog. The characters are chasing around after a few plot coupons, other non-point-of-view enemy characters are chasing after them as well... basically everyone was shuttling back and forth around Baltimore Harbor firing at each others' ships and boarding each other, and the stakes were too mysterious for me to care.

I persevered because I trust Milford, and the book did pick up for me when they arrived in the strange city-state of Nagspeake (also the setting of Greenglass, 200 years later). Her gift for creating quirky, cozy settings with a hint of danger was able to shine there -- I can read about Nagspeake hot cocoa and jam all day.

The end was a bit Diana Wynne Jones offbeat to work perfectly for me ([b:The Homeward Bounders|47570|The Homeward Bounders|Diana Wynne Jones||2771] is probably the one I'm thinking of here, though it was a general feeling more than any specific title)... I adore them, but I'm not sure anyone can do DWJ endings but DWJ. And I'm not convinced Lucy and Max needed to fall in love rather than just being friends. Overall: reasonably satisfying, but I kind of wish I'd reread Greenglass House instead. ( )
  SamMusher | Sep 7, 2019 |
Max is following in his father's footsteps, searching for the three parts of a machine that legend says will end all wars. He's engaged the help of a ship, the Left-Handed Fate, and her crew, including the captain's daughter, Lucy Bluecrowne. But there are others in search of the machine pieces - not to mention that they're in the middle of a war that puts a 12-year-old lieutenant of the U.S. Navy in their path (and on their ship) - and the race to solve the clues, find the pieces, and figure out how to put them together is on. Plenty of fun to be had here: the mysteries, the stories-within-stories, and the magical realism are great. It doesn't quite measure up to her Greenglass House books, though (this is a prequel, of sorts, to those), mostly because I found some of the explanations related to the machine itself to be a little hard to swallow/slightly confused. Still, a good, fun read. ( )
  scaifea | May 24, 2019 |
I lived in Fell's Point, where The Left-Handed Fate begins, and still consider it home. To find it captured in time between these pages, and well in the grip of plots and contorted mechanisms was a complete joy.

More soon, once I wrest the book back from a young friend.
  sussura | Sep 29, 2018 |
This is the story of Lucy and Liao Bluecrowne and Oliver Dexter, who all wind up aboard the Left-Handed Fate after a battle on the water leaves Captain Bluecrowne dead and twelve-year-old Oliver prize captain of Lucy's ship. Also aboard is Maxwell Ault, who is carrying on his father's life's work of finding the pieces of an engine so powerful that the mere threat of its existence will put an end to all war. The Fate ends up in Nagspeake, where Max continues to work on the puzzle of the engine, with Lucy and Liao's help.

The Left-Handed Fate is a marvelous adventure story, a perfect companion to Greenglass House, but also good for fans of The Expeditioners or Patrick O'Brian's naval adventures (which helped inspired this story, according to the author's acknowledgements).


Say the words:
Of these the world is made, by these is the world contained. From the singularities is built the great engine that in turn builds the vision of the dreamer and rains down upon the others the end of dreaming...

"If I have to translate something to understand it - or to make someone else understand me - the actual words aren't always enough, Max. They're only clues, signs that point you toward what they're trying to say. You have to pull the meaning out of them by how they all work together." (Liao, 26-27)

"That's what translation is - making choices in hopes that you get the right meaning across." (Max, 27)

"...if the technology you're trying to re-create has truly existed for thousands of years, have you not asked yourself why the ancients who invented it concluded the experiment by dismantling it and doing everything they could to be certain that it was never rebuilt?" (Jeton to Max, 53)

But it was exhausting, this constant pretending he didn't have any questions. (Oliver, 205)

"But why is it strange that they're old? Everything gets old, if it survives that long." (Lucy, 210)

They're only clues, signs that point you on toward what they're trying to say. You have to pull the meaning out of them by how they all work together. (231)

"Perhaps the problem is that we are all dreamers...and so we are dreaming different things." (the element of Iron in the Spinster's story to Lucy, 286)

"The five elements put their individual dreams aside for a time, and together they designed a built a device capable of - well, not so much of creating great things, but assisting in the creation of great things. It could not dream on its own, but it could fill in the missing pieces that dreams always seem to have." (286)

"She is my sister, my mother, my home and my country." (Lucy to Oliver, 305)

"My father died for this device - I was ready to die for it - and now we've built it and suddenly I'm afraid I've done a terrible thing." (Max to Lucy, 331) ( )
  JennyArch | Mar 27, 2017 |
This book was provided to me as an uncorrected digital review copy by the publisher, via Edelweiss.

The Left-Handed Fate is a ship like no other; rumored to be faster than any other ship on the seas, and carrying a crew of the best seamen on the planet. Captain Bluecrowne, his crew, and his ship have been hired by Max Ault to help him locate the pieces of an ancient weapon; a weapon to end all wars. Unfortunately, Max isn’t the only one on the hunt for the artifact, and some of his competition seems to have the ability to appear out of nowhere. How does one evade an opponent who can show up without warning?

The Left-Handed Fate started out a little slow, and a little confusing, but the longer I read, the more I appreciated the story’s creativity and complex characters. At first, it appeared that maybe I had missed reading another book in the series, but it turns out this is not the case. In order to keep the book from being prohibitively long, Ms. Milford has chosen to condense certain events from the past and presents the beginning of the quest as something that occurred several years previous. The reader is caught up through memory flashes and dialogue between Lucy Bluecrowne, her father, and Max Ault. The book’s main characters are all children who have been pressed into situations that their ages should have dictated were impossible. However, the author has created characters who are not only capable of handling situations far outside what children their age should have been able to withstand, but she does it in such a way that it doesn’t seem strange or out of place. It is very obvious that Ms. Milford did her due diligence when it came to researching the customs and rules of seafaring folk from the Revolutionary War period. The sense of honor and duty she expresses through Lucy Bluecrowne and Oliver Dexter doesn’t come across as contrived, but rather seems like exactly what one would expect from children with their backgrounds and circumstances. I enjoyed this book, and would consider reading other books set in Ms. Milford’s Nagspeake (she has written a number of books with this setting, however this book is intended to be read as a standalone). I would recommend this book for kiddos 11 and older who enjoy historical fiction set on a boat with a steampunk vibe.
( )
  khaddox | Feb 6, 2017 |
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Kate Milfordautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Wheeler, ElizaIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
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"A quest story to find the three pieces of a magical engine which can either win the War of 1812 ... or stop it altogether"--

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