This is not a holiday-themed post. Christmas so far is not at all let-downy. I was disappointed in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, but that's neither Christmas nor literature, so we're not going to talk about that.
But Ha'penny. Jo Walton. Sequel to Farthing. Sigh.
So I loved Farthing. You can't pretend that the ending was a happy one--the book is, from start to finish, about fascism winning the race--it's a world in which Lindburgh defeated Roosevelt and America is mired in Depression and isolationism, and in which Churchill was ousted early on in favor of a treaty with the Nazis. This is the world the book takes place in, and there is only the slightest hint that there is hope for anything or anyone.
The sequel, Ha'penny, has all these issues, but without the even tiny sense of uplift that you get at the end of Farthing. I'm almost sorry she wrote it. There were a few bits that didn't fly as well throughout--the main character's sex/love relationship and how it influences her actions, for example--but her voice and the police procedural guided me painlessly through those parts. Ah, but the end...I won't spoil it, except to say that the only sliver of hopeful sentiment it leaves you is pale and false. There is no hope here, only Zool.
And as for Pirates of the Caribbean, if there's another sequel, I'll forgive it, but if this is the end of the series, I'm taking my business elsewhere. Also, I hate movies where everything is monochromatic. Different scenes had their own color, but each one was just the one color. Blech.
Merry Christmas Eve!