Sunday, 19 August 2007
Crime and fantasy
Never the Bride by Paul Magrs: this was set in Whitby, a fairly amusing, noir twist on the Dracula story. The story was rather episodic, though it did draw together at the end. The author left the possibility of a series open; more supernatural PI, with an English setting and a nice take on the the elderly female investigator?
Myrren's Gift by Fiona McIntosh: I wasn't sure at the outset that I would like this, and although I found some of it quite derivative (for instance, the parts set in the mountain kingdon reminded me of Robin Hobb's first series), by the end I thought I would probably persevere and read the whole trilogy.
The Folk of the Air by Peter S. Beagle: loved this. Realised as soon as it arrived that I had read it before, but no matter. The combination of early dance, riotous patchwork of folklores, good characterisation and dog, drew me in from the start. Not great literature (and not as good as The Last Unicorn) but very satisfying.
Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel and The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway: since these are both by the same author it makes some sense to group them together. If there's a negative, it is that there are too many similarities between the opening volumes of two separate trilogies (for instance the woodwose/house goblin). On the other hand, I don't really mind, since I enjoyed both and they do seem to be set in the same alternative reality, so they may depict facets of the same story being played out across worlds. Bartlemy and Caracandal may be the same person; the Earth gods are certainly the same (Hexate, etc) though the Chthulhu character in Prospero's Children wouldn't quite fit in The Greenstone Grail? I look forward to completing both trilogies and will write about them further on LibraryThing.
The Gay Phoenix by Michael Innes: a patchy one from Innes, bliss when he's being joky and doing English country village dialogue between Appleby, Judith and various others - back to Appleby's End mode - but downright boring, I thought, in the exposition and development of the crime. Not likely to be re-read in the way that some of the Appleby books are.
Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs: the usual combination, I felt, of a fairly gripping story and a prissy and irritating protagonist. Brennan seems to have managed zero personal growth in a lengthy series of books, as usual I wanted to kick her. Also, I find Reichs' characters and plots almost indistinguishable from those of Patricia Cornwell - Scarpetta is every bit as emotionally retarded as Brennan. On the other hand, I like it when Reichs strays up to Montreal, and they do pass the time, so no doubt I'll keep reading both authors.
The House Sitter by Peter Lovesey: haven't read Lovesey for a long time. Liked the Bath setting for this one, and will happily read the earlier books from the series if they have them in the library, but I'm not tempted to buy them.
Storm Front by Jim Butcher: first of The Dresden Files. Yes, this will do - witty, noir, like the protagonist. The usual procession of witches, demons, vampires and snippy cops, a back story that is still unfolding. Altogether pretty acceptable, and I'm looking forward to the next.
Sleeping with the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson: slight, mildly amusing story about a mermaid, with a slight nod towards environmentalism. Fine for a rather short train journey.