Reviews for Midnight Robber


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 February 2000
The Caribbean colony-world Toussaint enjoys social harmony, thanks to a global computer that speaks to each inhabitant through a tiny aural implant. Those who violently break the social code are exiled to wild New Half-Way Tree. Proud, handsome Antonio, the mayor of Cockpit County, has an equally fiery wife, Ione, and a winsome daughter, Tan-Tan. He has always felt entitled to infrequent affairs, but when he discovers Ione in flagrante delicto with his friend Quashee, Antonio plots to disable his rival in single combat. But his handmade drug misfires, Quashee dies in the ring, and he is exiled. Tan-Tan stows away to be with him; avoiding poisonous plants and voracious wildlife, they survive by the sweat of their brows. Tan-Tan grows into a beauty, which, unfortunately, incites her father's sexual predation. Pregnant at 16, she fights back but must flee into the bush to avoid retribution. Hopkinson's exhilarating prose drives an exciting story that continues with Tan-Tan befriending New Half-Way Tree's natives and coming to terms with self-hatred. ((Reviewed February 15, 2000)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2000 January #2
Out-of-the-ordinary science fiction from the author of Brown Girl in the Ring (1998). Planet Toussaint, colonized by Caribbean islanders, has developed Granny Nansi's Web, a nanotech sentient interface that connects everyone; the inhabitants communicate with it in nannysong. Antonio, mayor of Cockpit County, catches his wife, Ione, in bed with Quashee. During Carnival, the two fight a machete duel, but Antonio cheats, poisoning Quashee, and is hauled off to jail. He s arranged to escape, though, via a nannysong device that he has his seven-year-old daughter, Tan-Tan, deliver. The device opens a gateway to New Half-Way Tree, a repository for criminals and undesirables, from which there is no return. Antonio forces Tan-Tan to accompany him. The planet is inhabited by dinosaurlike douen, one of whom, Chichibud, helps Tan-Tan and Antonio survive. Claude and One-Eye run the human village, Junjuh, and rigidly enforce the rules. With no machines or nanotech, life consists of unremitting toil. As the years pass, Antonio starts to sexually abuse Tan-Tan. With a friend, Tan-Tan tries to leave Junjuh, but Antonio beats and rapes her. She kills him. By the rules, she must hang, so Chichibud helps her escape to a douen settlement, where Tan-Tan's in for a number of surprises and finds her adventures only just beginning. Spicy and distinctive, set forth in a thoroughly captivating Caribbean dialect. Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 2000 February #2
As the beloved daughter of the mayor of Cockpit County on the planet Toussaint, Tan-Tan grows up spoiled and cherished until her father's crime leads to her exile with him to the prison planet of New Half-Way Tree. Forced to survive in a lawless world, Tan-Tan takes refuge in childhood games, becoming the legendary Robber Queen, whose daring deeds provide the young girl with the courage to overcome her harsh surroundings. The author of Brown Girl in the Ring once again draws from African, Caribbean, and Creole folklore to flavor her tale of a fierce and resourceful young woman determined to make her way in a world she has not chosen. Highly recommended. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2000 January #1
The sounds and rhythms of the Caribbean and Carnival suffuse Hopkinson's second novel (after Brown Girl in the Ring). On the Carib-colonized planet of Toussaint, Antonio Habib, the scheming, philandering mayor of Cockpit County, murders his wife's lover in a rigged duel and must then flee his high-tech planet, taking with him only his young daughter, Tan-Tan. The pair end up on New Half-Way Tree, Toussaint's alternate-universe twin, a primitive and dangerous world inhabited primarily by Toussaint's exiled criminal class and the douen, an alien race reminiscent of creatures from Caribbean folklore. There, Antonio's life lacks purpose, and although he remarries, he gradually degenerates into an angry, sexually predatory drunk. Growing to adulthood, Tan-Tan is deeply scarred by her father's assaults on her. Eventually she kills him in self-defense and, pregnant with his child, flees into the forbidding bush that surrounds their small settlement. Tan-Tan is kept on the run by Antonio's jealous widow, seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Hiding among the trees, Tan-Tan learns the secrets of the douen and gradually transforms into another figure out of Caribbean folklore, the Midnight Robber, who dresses in black, spouts poetry, steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Hopkinson's rich and complex Carib English can be hard to follow at times, but it is nonetheless quite beautiful; her young protagonist, at once violent and vulnerable, is extremely well drawn. Both Toussaint, a world almost awash in nanotechnology, and the more primitive New Half-Way Tree are believable, lushly detailed worlds. Like its predecessor, this novel bears evidence that Hopkinson owns one of the more important and original voices in SF. Agent, Don Maas. (Feb.) FYI: Brown Girl in the Ring won a Locus Award for Best First SF Novel. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2000 January #4
The sounds and rhythms of the Caribbean and Carnival suffuse Hopkinson's second novel (after Brown Girl in the Ring). On the Carib-colonized planet of Toussaint, Antonio Habib, the scheming, philandering mayor of Cockpit County, murders his wife's lover in a rigged duel and must then flee his high-tech planet, taking with him only his young daughter, Tan-Tan. The pair end up on New Half-Way Tree, Toussaint's alternate-universe twin, a primitive and dangerous world inhabited primarily by Toussaint's exiled criminal class and the douen, an alien race reminiscent of creatures from Caribbean folklore. There, Antonio's life lacks purpose, and although he remarries, he gradually degenerates into an angry, sexually predatory drunk. Growing to adulthood, Tan-Tan is deeply scarred by her father's assaults on her. Eventually she kills him in self-defense and, pregnant with his child, flees into the forbidding bush that surrounds their small settlement. Tan-Tan is kept on the run by Antonio's jealous widow, seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Hiding among the trees, Tan-Tan learns the secrets of the douen and gradually transforms into another figure out of Caribbean folklore, the Midnight Robber, who dresses in black, spouts poetry, steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Hopkinson's rich and complex Carib English can be hard to follow at times, but it is nonetheless quite beautiful; her young protagonist, at once violent and vulnerable, is extremely well drawn. Both Toussaint, a world almost awash in nanotechnology, and the more primitive New Half-Way Tree are believable, lushly detailed worlds. Like its predecessor, this novel bears evidence that Hopkinson owns one of the more important and original voices in SF. Agent, Don Maas. (Feb.) FYI: Brown Girl in the Ring won a Locus Award for Best First SF Novel. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2000 June
YA-Hopkinson regales readers with a tale in which West Indian folklore and cadence are combined in a futuristic fantasy set on a planet that borrows from both Haiti and Canada in its geography and cultural history. Sixteen-year-old Tan-Tan, the victim of incest, murders her trespassing father, only to become a permanent runaway from her society on the planet of Toussaint. Her childhood heroine, the Robber Queen, becomes something more personal to Tan-Tan as she fights to survive in New Half-Way Tree, a land of exile and horrifying creatures: Tan-Tan learns to emulate her heroine. In this compelling and literary novel, the author provides fully developed characters of both genders and all ages. Tan-Tan's allies include her old godmother and a male peer who quietly took the implied blame when Tan-Tan became pregnant at 14, although her father was that aborted baby's sire. The beasts of New Half-Way Tree are also fully realized, making Tan-Tan's world seem less like one of a horror story and more one of myth. While the language consistently blends Creole with standard North American English, teen readers will have little trouble following the linguistic nuances. As she did in Brown Girl in the Ring (Warner, 1998), Hopkinson provides an engaging nexus of science fiction and folklore.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2000 June
Fresh on the heels of her first success with Brown Girl in the Ring (Warner/Aspect, 1998/VOYA August 1998), winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, Hopkinson creates another captivating story set in a richly imagined world. When herinfluential father commits an unforgivable crime, Tan Tan is exiled from her privileged life on the Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint. The planet of exile, New Half Way Tree, is a world of mythical beasts, thieves, and outcasts. As Tan Tanattempts to adapt to her new environment, she struggles not only with her alienation from family and home but also with an abusive father. Having lost its focus in the early chapters, the story regains momentum at this point when Tan Tan findsherself on New Half Way Tree. Here the narrative takes on the quality of a told story as Tan Tan reinvents herself as the powerful Robber Queen to survive and finally is able to come to terms with her past and her future. Hopkinson's writing is rich with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and magic realism. The author populates her novel with fascinating characters and intriguing descriptions of the advanced technology used on Toussaint. Although Hopkinson hasbeen compared with Octavia Butler, it is hard to slot this novel into a particular category. Adventure, SF, and fantasy readers all should find something here to interest them if they can adapt to the sometimes difficult-to-read dialect and thenovel's slow start.-Alison Kastner. Copyright 2000 Voya Reviews

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