Monday, October 17, 2011

Spirits in the Wires

Title: Spirits in the Wires
Author: Charles de Lint
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 2003

Recommendation: Pass on it. Not worth the time.
Rating: 5/10

Summary: A number of people around the world disappear mysteriously.  The disappearances seem to be linked by the fact that the users were checking the Wordwood website at the time. Saskia is among those who disappear, and her boyfriend Christy witnesses it. Now he needs to find a way to bring Saskia back.

Reactions: I thought the book's premise sounded fairly interesting when I picked up this book on the Borders sale. The execution, however, didn't really live up to my expectations.

The story starts out quite slowly. We are introduced to two main characters in the novel Saskia and Christiana who share their life stories with each other. This takes up first 50 pages of the book and there is very little progress to the story.

The story is told in different chapters with the 1st person POV switching between the characters. After meeting Saskia and Christiana in depth, it turns out they are not the only main characters, but there are 4-5 more protagonists who just keep joining the story as it moves along. I think the main reason I didn't enjoy the book is not actually liking any of the characters who were telling the story.

Everyone in the book seems to be in the middle of an existential crisis. And it's really hard to connect with people who are doing little more than complain about not understanding themselves all the time. Or at least I found it pretty hard to connect with them.

The slow pace of the book continues throughout the novel. It took me almost 3 weeks to finish this book because I could easily put it away at any point in time and there was very little bringing me back to it. I think I finished it out of sheer stubbornness and dislike of not finishing the book. Fortunately the ending was a bit more bearable than the rest and some conflicts actually do get resolved.

There is a pretty interesting mix of technology and mythology in the book and I do think there are a few cool ideas there about spirits living where the human attention goes. However, most of the technology mentioned felt outdated to me and I didn't feel these ideas were resolved very well in the book. There are also a bunch of mythical characters who seem like they are interesting, but all of them are very marginal to the overall story.

So altogether this was a rather disappointing introduction to Charles de Lint. I didn't particularly enjoy the style, story, or pace of the book. It wasn't badly written, but I really couldn't get engaged in the story or the characters and I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September Recap

It's fall now, but despite it being a busy month, I actually managed to get some reading done in September.
  1. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  2. The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
  3. Blameless by Gail Carriger
My favorite this month is actually Neil Gaiman's anthology. I am not typically big on anthologies, but this one really stood out for me. Lots of really good stories. Carl is also reading and discussing Fragile Things this month on his blog, so check that out too.

In addition to all the reading, a bunch of the TV shows came back with their premiers for the season. I am back to watching Castle, How I Met Your Mother, and Community. On top of that, I am trying out the new show Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar if only for the actress. The jury is still out on whether I'll stick with the new show. House and Bones should be making their appearances as well in the next month. So lots of TV watching to compete for my attention.

I am now reading Spirits in the Wires, but it has not caught sufficient interest so far and hence it's going quite slowly. Hopefully I can get through it and move on to something with a bit more pace. Ciao.