Today's half-assed review is The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente.
This is the first of a two book series, but I don't think it ends in a bad place.
I took several weeks to read this book because I was very distracted. I enjoyed the story as I poured it out, usually only a few pages at a time, a couple of times for longer chunks. Wonderful fairy tale material, poetic language and imagery. But it's a really complicated web of stories, little stories leading one into another, and as much as I loved them as they washed over me, they just weren't sticking with me. I can't remember enough of the details to write a plot summary, or to remember how the little pieces really fit together to tell a bigger story. I know the bigger story is there. Usually, if I feel like I came away from the book without really getting the point, I blame the book, but in this case, I really think the problem is mine. This book needed and deserved my full attention and I just didn't provide it.
It's recognizably by the same author as Palimpsest (which a fair number of people seem to like since it's up for a Hugo, and I did read it but it apparently fell into the black hole where I wasn't writing reviews); I think the writing has the same good things as Palimpsest but it's less weird, more mentally comfortable for me.
8 out of 10. I think, if I'd read this book with better focus and really remembered it, I'd rate it higher. But I can't be completely certain that the mental fog I experienced it through didn't hide things I wouldn't like.