Jo Walton’s Or What You Will is maybe the most Jo Walton book she’s written yet. Take the semi-autobiographical feeling of Among Others, mix in a big dose of the Renaissance Florence obsession of The Just City and Lent, and give it a heaping helping of metafictional weirdness.

It’s basically impossible to talk about without spoilers, because just figuring out what the heck is going on is at least the first third of the book. But also I find that I don’t really have that much to say about it. It was fine, for the most part. It felt a bit too much like a creative writing exercise (“write from an unusual viewpoint”), it felt much too meta, and I never really loved it, though I did breeze through it quickly enough.

Ultimately, this one goes into the “interesting curiosities” section of Walton’s bibliography for me—I’m glad that she keeps trying different things instead of just cranking out sequels to the books I like, but this particular different thing didn’t hit the mark for me. Recommended only to Walton completists.


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