Review: The Folded World

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The Folded World (A Dirge for Prester John, #2)The Folded World by Catherynne M. Valente

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I am slain.

I didn’t start the second part of this tale with the best of auspices. I admit that, while I loved The Habitation of the Blessed, I found it often hard to move through, as if I too were John struggling with a new world.
But this book. I don’t know what his book is.
The second part of a trilogy is usually the weakest, being by nature the thread between two worlds, the beginning and the end, the exposition and the resolution, and therefore not exactly a creature on its own. The folded world plays on this, presenting us over and over with the theme of two worlds colliding: Anglitora, the daughter of John and a crane, whose left arm is a wing; Sefalet, the daughter of John and Hagia, with no face but two mouths on her hands and two voices in her heart; the two Pentexore, divided by a Wall, so close and yet so distant; Pentexore and Jerusalem; the past and the future, the past and the now; and so on, and so forth.
In so doing, The folded world manages to be even better than the first book, unfolding in front of us these four stories, which are really just one, giving us barely time to breathe as one chapter rushes into another and our heart gets broken over and over as it all tumbles down towards the end.

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