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I had a strange experience with "A Fistful of Charms," a Kim Harrison book that I started yesterday about a witch, her vampire room mate, a vampire friend and an attempt to retrieve the son of her pixie sidekick. It was a strange book. It was mess of a book to start with. I think this book isn't the first book she's written about these characters, because the author dumped a whole old of information on us without any explanation of what is going on. She just seemed to assume that the reader would roll with it.

This is where the weirdness comes in. Part of me was thinking that I should stop reading the book. That it was just too much of a mess. Too chaotic for me. In short it was driving me nuts. At the same time, there was a strange quality about the book that made me think "Well I'll just read a few more pages to see if it gets any better."

I read a little on the plane to Omaha and because it was the only book I had on me I started reading it when I got into the hotel I'm staying at here. And I just kept on reading and reading and reading till I finished the book at about 4 in the morning.

My first urge when I woke up this morning was to go and buy another, even though I was telling myself the book was a bad book at the same time (which I did, I'm now almost 150pgs into that book too). So all in all a strange experience that I'm never had before with an author.

There a bunch of other reason the book irked me (mostly about ley-lines which aren't knocking about all over the place and the fact that intellectually I know the story is daft), but I don't want to babble on for ever and bore people to death.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)
Ack!! Yes, Kim Harrison has books before A Fistful of Charms. The first is Dead Witch Walking, the second is The Good, The Bad, And The Undead, and the third is Every Which Way But Dead.

I couldn't get into the first one when I first picked it up, but a friend convinced me to continue and I ended up getting a kick out of it. The other three are actually (in my opinion) better than the fourth one. The fourth on is fine, but she seems to be building up to something. The first three were more introductory, you learned more about the characters, she reveals things in great ways (she always leaves hints). And yes, the story is daft, as you say, but I enjoy a the silly stuff every once in a while.

Anyhoo. . .have you ever read any Harlan Ellison. He is one of my very favorite writers and I insist that you give him a try if you haven't read him before. And if you haven't read him and decide to give him a shot. . .well, his work is printed in rather limited quantities and can be hard to find. I normally find old copies of his short story collections (as far as I know, he's never written a novel) at Half-Price Bookstore, and even then I have to search.

Okay, okay. I'm finished. I swear.

Oh, and I forgot to send you a message back about the deafness/weirdness thing. I didn't at all think you were equating deafness with weirdness, though I will say that when you grow up in a family of deaf/hard-of-hearing people and you have certain habits, you start to think that others think you are definitely weird. Haha. Okay. I'm not sure that made any sense.
Sep. 5th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all that. To be honest I've not heard of Harlan Ellison, so I'll give him a try. I've not read much science fiction if I'm honest (I'm not that much of a fan of stories that start "A long long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." because I want some semblance of believability), and I only selected the Hamilton and Harrison books because the author had had a few published (and so must be reasonable). Incidentally, in England there's more of a blur between science fiction and horror, they get displayed together in bookshops and libraries. I would argue that Hamilton and Harrison were more horror than sci-fi writers.

Finally Harrison's books remind me of Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta books in that they seem to evolve in fairly linear way across a number of books. The only problem is that Cornwall's got nowhere to go with them without reinventing a character or four, which I think she's struggling to do. It wouldn't surprise me if Harrison ended up in the same place.
Sep. 6th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
Harlan Ellison is, well. . .there is no way to describe his work. Some of it is sci-fi, some of it is horror, some is fantasy, some is quite funny. You just never know what he's going to come up with next. One of my favorite stories by him is called "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream." It's more sci-fi but I would call it horror, too.

I think I'd call Hamilton's and Harrison's books Urban Fantasy (that's the term these days, anyway). I don't know if you've heard the term spec fic (or speculative fiction) but it encompasses sci-fi, fantasy, and horror and lumps them all into one category. I don't hear anyone but writer's themselves using it, but I think it's a nice term because it implies all things a little "out there."

A long time ago, Barnes and Noble actually had a separate section for Horror books, as Border's does today. I sometimes go into Borders just to see what they have in their Horror section, or else I rely on a couple websites email newsletters I get online to see what's new. And that's because I am a geek.

I've never read Cornwell's books. I've heard from a few friends that read her that she's really good but her later books seem to be a bit grasping for things.

Speaking of mysteries, I'm very into the Elizabeth George mysteries right now and I've even been watching the televized versions done by the BBC that they call The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.
Sep. 6th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that, I'll try and remember the phrases "urban fantasy" and "spec fic." Who knows, if I use them appropriately I might sound like I know what I'm talking about for a change (I'm usually accused of using too much emotion and not backing things up with enough well written logic when I write stuff for college).

Your friends are right about Cornwell, I don't know where she's going to go with the characters now, though having persisted this long with her, I'll probably read her new book when it comes out in paperback this month.

I tried to read the Elizabeth George books after I saw the televison series in England. There's something I was always told about good books making iffy television (and vice versa) that I should say though. In the books, I think that Lynley comes across as almost too posh and his police partner (Havers, I think) as having too much of a chip on her shoulder about being poor. I only read the first couple of books in the series so she might have toned it down later on, but there were times when I just wanted to yell at Havers to tell her to get over it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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