I’m into chapter two now on Luna: La cité maudite by Élodie Tirel, and so far I’m having great fun with it. Not only because of the language geekery, which was part of why I wanted to try this in the first place, either!
Some of it turned out to be the surprise glee of reading a book where the language is mostly beyond me, but where I have just enough to get the general idea of what’s going on. This feels very much like when I was a child and grabbing any book around me to read, especially Stephen King or The Amityville Horror off my dad’s tables, just because OH HEY BOOK. And being all “ooh hey what’s this word? How about this one? And this one over here?” And looking stuff up if I don’t understand it.
And reading a thing in French without an English translation–and also without resorting to Google Translate or the reverso.net dictionary if I can help it!–feels like riding a bike without the training wheels for the first time. Sure, I’m wobbly, and maybe I’ll only make it a block or two down the street before I go skidding into a neighbor’s driveway and wind up skinning my knees on the asphalt. But that’s okay, because holy crap omg I was on the bike go me!
Language-geek!me is, however, still noting interesting words to look up. One was the verb songer, which is not to be confused with singing–it’s apparently a synonym of penser and means “to think about/consider/daydream”. And I also noted both forms of the word for “prowler”, rôdeur and rôdeuse, used to describe the drow that are the bad guys of this story.
And writer!me is amused by what I’m able to get out of the story, too–particularly things that I’ve seen industry professionals in the US markets advise against using, in no uncertain terms. For example, a prologue! Because there is one, setting up the backstory for how our heroine, Luna, is born. And for example, having our young heroine described to the reader by way of her admiring her own reflection in the water. (Complete with the obligatory description of how, of course, she is totally beautiful above and beyond the standards of her tender age, even for elves.)
But mostly, this is about amusing reader!me, and reader!me is finding this delightful so far. It’s making me have to slow down my reading speed considerably, because I need to be able to try to understand the words. And while I’m finding a lot of them still beyond me, a lot of them aren’t, and I’m getting the very basic gist of the action, just enough to let me build an idea of the plot. It will be amusing to read this again as my comprehension of French improves, just to see how my understanding of the plot changes!
Also, since I’ve been asked about this–the copy of this book I’m reading is a physical print copy, which I bought in Quebec in 2012. I will not be loaning this out, because it would be difficult to replace if anything happened to it.
But that said, if anyone else wants to try to tackle these books, they are available electronically for US readers from a couple of places. Barnes and Noble has a bunch of Tirel’s books for the Nook. Kobo has them as well. Interestingly, they are not available for the Kindle in the US, although Amazon seems perfectly willing to let you order the paperbacks. Amazon.ca DOES have Kindle editions as well as paperbacks, though.
If you want the paperbacks, though, I’d recommend either ordering them from Amazon.ca, or else getting a Canadian friend to scarf you copies and send them to you. Chances are good that I myself will be continuing this series electronically, though I may continue to purchase the print copies on general principles of ‘gosh this cover art is pretty’.
More as I continue through the book!