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Midnight robber by Nalo Hopkinson

Midnight robber (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Nalo Hopkinson

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Title:Midnight robber
Authors:Nalo Hopkinson
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Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson (2000)

  1. 10
    Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (nnicole)
    nnicole: Both are about incest survivors who must discover their adult identities and carve out their own place in the world.
  2. 00
    Bone Dance by Emma Bull (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Very different science fiction stories, both tapping african myths

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Tiptree shortlist 2000 ( )
  SChant | Apr 29, 2013 |
Uh. I'm not really sure what to say about this... something like: "Nice writing. Nice setting. Shame about the incest."

It's not an awful book. I like the two worlds Hopkinson creates and the way she's fleshed them out, and the characters, even the bit-parts. Her writing's very tight, her use of language excellent. I particularly like the douen, a species unlike anything I've read about before (well, in fiction, there's plenty of real biology there). And I did like Tan-Tan, the heroine.

But it wasn't really the book I'd been led to expect, in some quite important ways, both by previous comments and the cover blurb. "...Here, monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds. Here Tan-Tan must reach into the heart of myth - and become the Robber Queen herself. For only Robber Queen's legendary powers can save her life... and set her free." Just a snippet, but the blurb in general implies that it's an adventure story about Tan-Tan's life in this alien wilderness, and how she becomes the Robber Queen, who'd probably lead some great social change or do a Zorro or something. I was maybe expecting something with a slightly cheerful, maybe John Carter sort of tone, full of wildness and colourful scenes.

Admittedly wilderness, adventure and the Robber Queen are in the book, but in practice, structurally and thematically, the story's about Tan-Tan surviving deception, incest and patricide, and the enduring consequences of those things. Those determine the course of her life and activities, exert unsurprising but overwhelming influence on everything she does, and the climax of the book is all about finally overcoming those influences, rather than some great adventure. In context it's not surpising, but it's really not the book I signed up for.

The Robber Queen isn't the fantastical figure I'd been led to expect either - something like the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Stainless Steel Rat, I think - but a sort of occasional girl scout-cum-vigilante act, whose main purpose in the book is finally enabling her to face down her demons, in the shape of her father's widow and her own self-loathing. Perfectly good things, absolutely, but for me there was a taste of false advertising about the whole business. I would not have picked up this book knowing what it actually was. I finished it, I'm glad I did on the whole, and it had some things I really liked, but this is not the kind of story I want to read. ( )
  Shimmin | Jan 9, 2013 |
I found Midnight Robber a thoroughly engaging read. The closest description I can muster is a Caribbean-flavoured sci-fi coming-of-age tale, which probably makes it sound very niche. It's really not. Hopkinson's futuristic backdrop is a fabulous setting for the tale of Tan-Tan, sent into exile with her father as a young child and forced to make her way in a very foreign land. The novel is really a psychological study of Tan-Tan as she grows up, and the realism of her development juxtaposed with her exotic surroundings was what really made the novel for me.
  frithuswith | Jan 18, 2011 |
I wanted to like this book. Many readers will love it, no doubt about it. There was just nothing unique enough to pull me in. I may give it another chance. ( )
  Radaghast | Nov 10, 2009 |
Beautiful, painful, and an ending that completes, but that I didn't see coming. The plot is done, the characters are not, which I find very satisfying.
Tan-Tan's story is full of upheaval and resettling, people who love her, and pursue her despite herself. Hopkinson takes a trope of child abuse and makes it something other than an objectifying angst-fest, delving into implications and psychology usually left untouched in favor of wallowing and sanctimony. The Robber Queen is a power, and I dearly appreciate her getting her own folk-history, though the melding of that folk-history with Tan-Tan's own narrative and thematic path made it all the sweeter. ( )
1 vote storyjunkie | Apr 27, 2009 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nalo Hopkinsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446675601, Paperback)

Nalo Hopkinson's first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, was selected from almost 1,000 entries to win Warner Aspect's First Novel Contest, and after publication it received the Locus Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. So expectations have been pretty high for her second book, and Midnight Robber lives up to them; it's a beautifully written, innovative, demanding, and wonderful novel.

On the Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint, Carnival is a Lollapalooza of music and dance, a Mardi Gras, a masquerade; and the Robin Hood of Toussaint legend, the Robber Queen, is just another costume, Tan-Tan's favorite. Then Tan-Tan's corrupt politician father commits a crime that sends them into exile on the extradimensional planet New Half-Way Tree, Toussaint's untamed quantum twin. As she struggles to survive the violent criminals, mysterious aliens, and merciless jungles of New Half-Way Tree, Tan-Tan finds herself taking on--or being taken over by--the mythic persona and powers of the Robber Queen. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:57 -0400)

It's Carnival time and the Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance, and pageantry. Masked "Midnight Robbers" waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. But to young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favorite costume to wear at the festival--until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgivable crime. Suddenly, both father and daughter are thrust into the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree. Here monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds.… (more)

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