Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
Equal of the Sun - Anita Amirrezvani Set in 16th century Iran, this rich and detailed historical novel follows Javaher, a eunuch who becomes confidante, spy, and vizier for the Shah's brilliant, passionate, and greatly underutilized daughter, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom. As the novel opens, Javaher has just joined Pari's household, and as the Shah's favorite daughter, both Pari and Javaher have enormous access to the Shah's household staff, the courtiers, and the other nobles. For Pari, this allows her to better understand the factions worming for power; for Javaher, it is an opportunity to research the man who caused his father to be branded a traitor, leading to his execution. Everything changes, however, when the Shah dies unexpectedly without naming an heir, and Javaher and Pari are no longer in power, but find themselves in a precarious place at the edge of court.There's a bit a culture shock at the start of the novel -- names, places, dynasties, factions all thrown at the reader with a minimum of context -- but by the third chapter, I understood the general gist of who to like and who to dislike, and I raced through this book. Amirrezvani's strength lies in her dialogue, her ability to convey character and morals in someone's appearance, behavior, or manner. Longer descriptive scenes, like battle or sex, felt a bit obfuscated and muddled. Court intrigue is here in spades, enough to rival the most sordid Tudor historical novel, and I think fans of Tudor fic will actually really enjoy this one (Elizabeth, reigning monarch of England at this time, is mentioned!). Javaher's life as a eunuch (and his life before becoming one) is explored as well, and it is horrifying and fascinating.Despite the heftiness of this book (340ish pages), I really did race through it in about two days -- I loved Pari and I wanted to remain with her for a long time. As with the best historical novels, I teared up at the end and I closed the book feeling as if I had to leave a friend. Best feeling ever.