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Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
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Flora Segunda

by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Flora Segunda (1)

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Publishers Weekly
In her first novel, Wilce imagines a living castle—a kind of blending of Gormenghast and Hogwarts—and she breathes life into her tale with a wry sense of humor. The book opens as narrator Flora Fyrdraaca, the heroine of the title, is about to turn 14, a rite of passage that qualifies her to enter military training. She spends her days mostly alone inside her family's castle, Crackpot Hall. Its 11,000 rooms have started to decay since Flora's mother, the Warlord's Commanding General, fired the magical Butler. Flora's father "only comes out of his Eyrie when the booze and cigarillos run out." Rushing to avoid being late to school, Flora takes the forbidden Elevator and ends up lost within her home—and meets the banished magical Butler, Valefor, in a forgotten library. Valefor convinces Flora to give him some of her "Anima," her "magickal essence," and he grows stronger. The plot detours into a convoluted back story about warring kingdoms; this leads to the tale of the "Dainty Pirate," whom Flora and her friend Udo then rescue from the gallows. The pirate warns Flora that Valefor is actually sucking her "Will" away, and the two friends begin a hunt for a "Semiote Verb" that will restore Flora's strength. Wilce takes the kitchen-sink approach to storytelling—at times the narrative borders on self-indulgent (e.g., "Oh ugh and disgusting and yucky-yuck"); hence some readers may feel that the book is overlong—though certainly good-natured and enjoyable. Ages 12-up ( )
  EBurggraf | Mar 4, 2014 |
Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.

I've re-read this book (and the others in this series) so many times my paperbacks are starting to look pitiful.

Honestly, I don't understand how this book isn't topping all bestseller's lists, is it lack of promotion? I really don't know and it bothers me because the universe Ysabeau S. Wilce created is so amazing, so flawless, so addictive... Her characters are just perfect, her plots -- look I'm a picky bitch and I cannot find a fault!

For the love of whatever you hold sacred, go read these books! It breaks my heart to see mediocrity topping charts while jewels like these are ignored. ( )
  Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
4th Time Reading:

This book doesn't really have the can't-put-down attribute that some of my other favorites do, so it took me a bit longer to get through it this time. But nevertheless, it -is- still one of my favorites. The world of Ysabeau S. Wilce is enthralling, but so casual. The story doesn't get bogged down with descriptions of the city or explanations of the Current or the levels of the military. It just continues on, describing the relevant things and letting you slowly form the complete image. Honestly, one of the main reasons I want to read more of the series is to find out more about Califa.

Flora also is great because she's not the typical heroine, and she's not one of the stereotypical un-heroine heroines either. She's a pudgy, lazy, pacifistic 12-year-old. But she's still pretty cool. And of course, there's Udo. And Valefor has a certain likeability as well.

And don't get me started on Hotspur. He is definitely my favorite character. I'm a sucker for tortorued souls living in dark depression. And can I just say that if there was ever a Flora Segunda movie, Gary Oldman would be the perfect Hotspur.

And the plot itself is great. Flora somehow gets into so much trouble and the fact that it's all connected makes it that much more amazing. And then you add the Dainty Pirate and Paimon and Lord Axacaya into the mix, and it's brilliant. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jul 21, 2013 |
Flora Nemain Fydraaca ov Fydraaca was the second Flora - Flora Segunda - born to her illustrious family, one of the most powerful in the city of Califa. The legacy of that other, earlier Flora - the one whose loss in the War had driven her father, Poppy, mad - hung over the great Fydraaca household, Crackpot Hall, with its eleven thousand rooms, all falling into disrepair in the absence of its magical Butler. As Flora (Segunda) reluctantly prepares for her upcoming Catorcena, or fourteenth birthday celebration, after which she will be considered an adult, and sent off to the Barracks, where all the Fydraacas - being a military family - are trained, she finds herself being drawn into the mystery of Valefor, the magical denizen of Crackpot and her family's banished Butler, as well as an adventure involving the Dainty Pirate - aka Boy Hansgen, the sidekick of Flora's own personal hero, Nini Mo, erstwhile leader of Califa's Rangers. Can Flora, together with her best friend Udo, triumph in her efforts to free both Valefor and Boy Hansgen, or will this new connection to Valefor drag her into Nothingness, and the Abyss...?

Despite its undeniable virtues - its highly original (and convincing) world-building, its fascinating use of language - I was convinced for approximately 90% of my read that Flora Segunda was going to be no more than a solid, enjoyable three-star title for me. I did appreciate the aforementioned world-building, of course - the alternate Californian/Mexican setting, with Califa being dominated by the Aztec-like Huitzils - as well as the mixture of Spanish, Italian(?) and Icelandic language, in the vocabulary of Califa. As someone who's studied Icelandic, I was thrilled to see that the eð - the Icelandic letter ð, pronounced with a voiced "th" sound, as in the beginning of the English word them, and distinguished from the unvoiced "th" sound, as in the English word thorn, which is represented by the letter þ - kept appearing, in names like Landaðon and Haðraaða!

I also appreciated the fact that this was a world of true gender equality, in which women held the same rank as men (Flora's mother is the Warlord's general), and was delighted to learn, through our discussion of the book, over in the Children's Fiction Club which I run on another site, that the idea of "Califa" is actually taken from the work of fifteenth-century Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, who wrote a series of adventure stories about the explorer Esplandián, and his encounters with Queen Califia, of the island of California (thanks, Bun!). I think I may have to track down some of these stories...

But despite these undeniable virtues, and my interest in the city of Califa, its customs and history, I couldn't say that I was emotionally involved with the characters, to any great extent, until the final section of the book. It was only when Flora met the earlier incarnation of Poppy, while fleeing through Bilskinir House, that I suddenly found myself gripped with any sense of urgency, or concern for the fate of the heroine. Then, on the very last page of the book, when Flore reflects upon the fact that, despite the challenges still ahead, and the failures behind, she had escaped from the worst fate of all - that of Nothingness - it all snapped into place for me, and my appreciation for the book rose dramatically. It suddenly seemed to me that this was the story of a common teenage experience - feeling as if one were a "nothing," being afraid that one would never be anything but a "nothing" - clothed in an appealingly fantastic shell. I've no idea if that was the author's intention, but it lent the entire story an emotional significance, for me, that it hadn't previously had, and convinced me that I needed to read the next installment, Flora's Dare!

I don't know that others will interpret the story as I did, but I think that all fantasy lovers - particularly those who relish intricate and entirely unfamiliar worlds - will enjoy it. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 17, 2013 |
An entertaining romp - a bit long (too much running around aimlessly) but very good. Tiptree shortlist 2007 ( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ysabeau S. Wilceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fortune, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jackman, JenniferCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The Maiden caught me in the Wild

Where I was dancing merrily;

She put me into her Cabinet,

And Lock'd me up with a golden Key.


—William Blake
Dedication
For Two Furies, Ooo & My
First words
Blasted heck, I'm supposed to be writing my Catorcena speech, where I am supposed to be celebrating the fabulousness of my House, the glory of my family, the fantasticness of my future. But I can't think of what to write because Crackpot Hall isn't fabulous, and the Fyrdraaca family is not much glorious anymore, and my future is hardly going to be fantastic.
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Book description
Flora Fyrdraaca, a Girl of Spirit, is approaching her 14th birthday when she'll celebrate her Catorcena, coming-of-age party that she has certain tasks she needs to complete before then or her Mother, the General will give her the Look that has reduced colonels to tears. But it also means that next semester she'll be old enough to go to the Barracks and follow her mother into the military, and she doesn't want to, but hasn't mustered the courage to tell her mother that. On top of that the family home which has 11 thousand rooms that move around randomly, due in part to the fact that her mother has banished the family "Butler", a magical creature bound to the family for centuries. Flora finds Valefor, the banished butler and he helps her with some of her tasks, but seems to have some ulterior motives.

She also has her occasionally mad father, Poppy to deal with, a mass of exuberant dogs, a fashion plate of a best (boy) friend, Pirates (well, one anyway!), murderous bird creatures. Thank goodness, Flora has some magic skills of her own to help her along, even if they are occasionally undependable
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152054332, Hardcover)

Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall--the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler--and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever.
    
Full of wildly clever plot twists, this extraordinary first novel establishes Ysabeau Wilce as a compelling new voice in teen fantasy.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fourteen-year-old Flora Fyrdraaca, whose mother is the Warlord's Commanding General and whose father is mad, kindly helps her house's magical--and long-banished--butler, unaware that he draws strength from the Fyrdraaca will.

» see all 3 descriptions

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