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Kushiel's Dart
Jacqueline Carey
Into the Closet: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Childrens Literature and Film (Children's Literature and Culture)
Victoria Flanagan
Jesse's Story (The Slave Breakers, #2) - Maculategiraffe This is two years on from Bran's Story, and in this book we meet Jesse, and Jesse is rather fierce and defiant and not at all like Bran.

When the book opens, Jesse has just found out that his lover is dead from his extremely sadistic master and he has lost all hope. Then he is bought by the slave breakers, and everything changes. For one thing, his lover, Quen, is alive.

Because of a variety of things that I don't want to spoil here, Jesse is not really their slave and, as such, is an interesting perspective for this story to be told from. He is a guest in the house, almost, and an outsider, but he is also extremely curious and pokes his nose everywhere it doesn't belong (i.e. Holden and Bran's relationship).

Jesse himself isn't being trained by Holden, so his story is kind of a waiting game. But whilst he's waiting for the promised conclusion to his misery, he makes it his personal mission to work out how Holden feels about Bran and then to get him to confess his love.

Because he's an ass and hasn't done so in the past two years. *frowns*

I really enjoyed the fact we got to see more of Bran and Holden's relationship (the stubborn butt that he is), but, on the other hand, I feel like it kind of came at the expense of Jesse himself sometimes.

I think Bran himself sums it up when he says: "He said... that, he said you were way too damn obnoxious to be merely human, so you had to be some kind of divine messenger, and he figured he'd better do what you said quick so you'd go ahead and disappear." Jesse darts into their lives, throws everything into chaos and fixes things, then darts back out again. He's a good catalyst, in a way.

Jesse's perspective also makes Holden really unlikeable, haha. To be fair, Holden punches him in the face for seemingly no reason at the beginning of the novel, and that... colours Jesse's perception of him a fair bit.

The characters were, like the last book, wonderfully constructed. Characters we knew gained added depth, and the new characters were wonderfully three-dimensional and believable. We started to learn more about the world Slave Breakers is set in as well, which was great.

Once again, there are some editing issues, but nothing too major.

Highly recommended, but definitely read Bran's Story first. :)