Friday, February 17, 2006

Review: _Spirits in the Wires_ by Charles de Lint

Spirits, pushed out of the real world, take up residence in cyberspace. This creates havoc for people. Spirits in the Wiresby Charles de Lint is an Urban Fantasy novel set in the fictional city ofNewford where magic exists in the modern world. Mr. de Lint creates an entertainingbook with a fantastical reality through his setting, characters and plot.

Settingcan be a powerful role in a book that evokes a strong sense of wonder. Theauthor creates it in this book with his city of Newford, the borderlandsand cyberspace. Newford has appeared in previous books and is familiar toto previous readers, but new people will find the city familiar
becauseof the author’s descriptions. Vivid descriptions also bring the cyberspaceworld and border lands to life, making them seem like they really exist.Characters become affected by the setting.

This book has an ensemblecast of characters that provide different perspectives on the events of thebook and make the story interesting. It starts out with Saskia meeting Christiana.she struggles to figure out her identity because of a lack of memories. Christianais a cast off shadow of Christy, Saskia’s boyfriend. She has grown sincebeing cast off and continues to be a free spirited element of the book. Hollyowns a bookstore, sharing it with her magical brownie partner Dick who becomesdrawn into danger due to her friendships with others. Magical characterslike the tinker Bojo and Robert gives the book a strong flavor of magic.Mr. de Lint makes his characters realistic through dialogue and reactionsof his characters.

In the end, it is the plot that keeps readers hooked.The book reviewer Aaron wants revenge on the people that do not like him.He gets a computer expert to sabotage the web site called the Wordwood, visitedby many people. Unaware that the site is inhabited by a spirit, Aaron setsoff the
disappearance of several people as the spirit strikes back fromthe attack. Christy, his shadow Chrisitana and others must venture into theborder lands to rescue their loved ones and confront the spirit. Mr. de Lintwrites a tight plot that makes the book hard for readers to put the bookdown for any length of time.

Spirits in the Wires by Charlesde Lint is a superb, entertaining book of urban fantasy. A powerful senseof a fantastical reality is brought about in the book through its setting,characters and plot. Mr. de Lint is a master of mythical urban fantasy. Thislatest book, set in the fictional
city of Newford adds another engaging story to Charles de Lint’s impressive list of books.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Review: _Alphabet of Thorn_ by Patricia McKillip

Words have power. A book written in the shape of thorns endangers a large kingdom at a time of changes. This is the premise of Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillip. The book is a powerful novel by a master of the Fantasy genre with its descriptive setting, intriguing characters and tight plot.

Ms. McKillip provides a descriptive setting that makes the book powerful. Readers learn of the kingdom of Raine, which is made up of twelve smaller kingdoms or crowns. The first crown has its huge castle on a cliff on the edge of the sea. Towers overlook the sea while a huge library extends into the depths of the cliff below the castle where the transcribers live. A large plain stretches from the castle to the forest. In the forest is hidden the Floating City of mages. Magic makes the city hide or float above the forest depending on events that occur. This vivid place is brought to life to help influence the characters.

Next, there is an air of mystery around the characters that makes them intriguing. Nepenthe is an orphan who works as a translator of books for the library. She is gifted with the ability to translate ancient languages, but knows nothing about her past, so she is lonely. Tessara is the young queen. She does not want to rule and always hides from responsibility. Bourne is a young mage unsure of his true abilities or loyalties. The three young people face events that help them to grow. Their growth keeps readers excited as to how they will turn out.

Finally, the tight plot helps make the book powerful by keeping the readers’ attention. Ms. McKillip weaves three separate stories into a strong whole. Bourne delivers a book to Nepenthe for translation; a book written in an alphabet of thorns. She begins the translation and becomes obsessed by it. The book tells the story of the ancient conqueror Axis and his sorcerer Kane. While she works on the book, the newly crowned young queen Tessara struggles with her new responsibility. She avoids duties while making new discoveries about herself. Bourne’s uncle plots to overthrow the queen, leaving Bourne feeling confused. Every plot thread comes together in a surprising conclusion.

Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillip is a powerful contribution to the Fantasy genre. A descriptive setting, intriguing characters and tight plot blend together into a strong book that is memorable. Ms. McKillip writes books that stay with readers for years. Each new book she writes adds to her memorable collection of works. This one increases her status as a masterful writer of Fantasy.