This book, y'all. Oh my word, this story. These characters! Quincy grabbed my heart pretty quickly and then never, ever gave it back. I heart Quincy so, so much! As well as every other character inhabiting this beautiful and heart-wrenching world of Beth Brower's! Oh friends, where do I even begin? (Perhaps I'll start by directing you to Angie's review, which convinced me to try it.)
Quincy is the reason I downloaded the rest of the book after trying the first couple chapters. She is one of the most compelling and fascinating characters I have ever read! I am nothing like her, yet I felt the strongest connection that I was unable to shake. I'm not sure I even have words to describe what I felt, other than she became a part of my very heart. She has layers upon layers that slowly peel back as the story develops. She knows she is different from other folk and she embraces that, her confidence in who she is is one of the first things you notice about her. Yet don't ever suppose you truly understand her, there are a rare few that do. The second thing you notice? Her love for The Q.
It didn't take long for me to fall in love with The Q myself! What is The Q, you ask? It's a place that must be experienced. Full of the quirkiest and most wonderful of people, who all adore Quincy (and rightly so!). (Well, except for one, but they eventually come around. Just you watch how it happens! ;) The Q is Quincy. Quincy is The Q. These two entities do not exist without the other. It is a world like nothing else, when you enter the doors of The Q, you are entering Quincy's domain. She inhabits every single part of this place, it is the very breath she breathes day in and day out. But it's not just the place, it's the people. All the workers that know their jobs intimately, as well as all the myriad of people who walk in the doors planning to share bits of their hearts, albeit unknowingly a lot of the time. There is no part of Rhysdon society that is not affected by The Q, and thus is affected by Quincy.
One of the best things about her is her ignorance of just how awesome she is. There are deep wells of thought and emotion that only the most truest of her friends get to see, yet even those who only get glimpses of it are drawn almost reluctantly into her orbit. Especially one such James Arch! I loved each and every barbed interaction, the way they struggled to understand each other, even the way they hurt each other. The journey of their friendship involves two steps forward and three steps back. It's a tangle of chaos, and requires a lot of work as well as forgiveness, yet they attempt the hard again and again. That's the beauty of friendship with Quincy, she may hurt with her bluntness, yet once you see beyond her initial sharp edges, you cannot help but want to know more, want to try and really understand her. Like Fisher does. I loved their friendship! I loved that no matter what, they always had each other's back. When you've survived the things those two have, it creates a bond that cannot be broken in any way. Not even when they hurt each other. Which Quincy does the most often because the girl in no way understands how to be tactful. At all. Yet all the hard they've been through, and even the hard yet to come, only makes them stronger together. Even distance can't break it! :)
See? I keep coming back to Quincy. She is the heart and soul of this story. Once you become one of 'her people', you become privy to things she only shares with the worthy, and then you become protective of her and she of you. The family she creates around her is little, but mighty. She, herself, one of the mightiest! (Don't let her fool you, that small body houses a fierce mama-bear!) She is an irresistible force that made me want to hug her so many times, even though she'd have hated every minute of it. Her quirkiness, her bluntness, the way she struggled to understand the hidden cues of society, the way she didn't fit society at all, just the very fact that a character such as her exists!
Yet it's not just Quincy that I love, the writing is exceptional! I kept highlighting so many phrases on my kindle, I fear I'm going to have trouble narrowing down which to feature below. Thank you, Ms. Brower, for this story. For creating the gloriously imperfect Quincy for me to fall in love with! For these words that necessitated I stay up entirely too late reading. For The Q and this world that felt so much bigger than just a building and a few streets in the city. For this engrossing story that inhabited my mind and every moment of my life until I finished the final page! (And even for days after that.) For making me wish I could enter the pages and become a part of the story myself. This book is going on my top ten reads of this year, no doubt about it. It's incredible! You should read it. Trust me, you really should.
Quincy stood before the black casket, hands behind her back, a ruined pile of rusted thoughts and sharp emotions torn up and left in her empty chest.
In all actuality, Quincy knew that, when riding in a wagon, your thoughts had plenty of room to wander and move and never bump into those of your companions. But in a carriage, with its confined space, people often felt compelled to speak with one another, even when their companion didn't wish it. And Quincy did not wish it. She thought that the truest test of humanity was riding in a coach and saying absolutely nothing to one's traveling companions. Few, if any, had ever succeeded.
And his conclusions as to the meaning of Boy Blue's question felt layered and restless. This was opposite from her modus operandi of comfortably tabled ink and gears, and she did not like what she did not understand. So Quincy did what she knew always gave her the same results, she shut him out by locking her interior doors.
The song reminded her of grief, of emotions that were simpler as a child, more straightforward, that were now taken and turned into something she was hesitant to touch but could not forget.
There weren't as many lights here as there were along the more respectable streets of Rhysdon, but those that were present, half tilting and thoughtful, hung their mystery well. Quincy and Fisher walked through all this in silence. Silence was the most common stock-in-trade between them, and the portfolio of their friendship was thick with it. So, without words, they stepped across the streets, their feet pressing the pavement with the same sounds, their toes turned just so; they knew what life was like at each other's side. Sometimes he would speak, or she would, small offerings on the altar of their joint survival.
She kept thinking that a time like this required words--one million lines of type, laid out perfectly, with no ink stains, no backward letters--to say what should be said. But that couldn't happen, and she didn't know what else to put in its place.