Thursday, October 04, 2012

Follow Up and Winding Down

Okay, this has been the most insane work week(s, really, three of them) I've ever experienced, but Claudia's back, thank God in sweet heaven, and so I can breathe again and maybe even read a book and MAYBE even blog.

Right now I'm wrapping up the last book I reviewed, My Soul to Keep, and as I get closer to the end, the true shape of the book emerges, about which I have some interesting observations.  Well, I find them interesting--as the tag line says, you're free to find them interesting or not.

I don't want to spoil the book, but I can say without ruining anything that your point of view in this book shifts back and forth between Jessica, intrepid reporter who notices weird things and then eventually realizes that her husband is immortal, and David, aka Dawit, said immortal husband. 

It's in third person, so it's not like there are multiple narrators, which is a relief.  I definitely think both POVs are necessary to make the story work; strictly from Jessica's viewpoint, you would have absolutely no clue what's going on for way too much of the story.  In the end, this is the story of a messed up relationship, and it's important that we be able, along with Jessica, to see David as really wonderful, not someone sketchy who's hiding something.  But to keep the plot moving, we need to know what David knows.  Also, it's a pet peeve of mine when characters in novels like this spin wild theories out of the little data they have and then happen to be right.  (Stephen King, I'm looking at you!  "I bet the operate on a sense of smell."  What evidence? "Well, it only makes sense." How do you figure? "Let's risk our lives to find out!")

Anyway, I do think the book lags a bit in the middle.  It would have more tension if I was denied some information, which I'm not--I know what Jessica thinks and guesses and suspects and knows, and what David needs and wants and plans.  There needed to be some information kept hidden from me, because the tension of "when and how will Jess find out?" was not quite enough there toward the end.

But what compensates for this is the really amazing picture of David.  He's incredibly self centered; being immortal has completely messed with his perspective (of course).  But he loves his family, in ways even he can't understand.  He's got all this loyalty and he doesn't know what to do with it.  It's like there's this messed up immortal, and you can't be sure how much of it is because he's a messed up person and how much is immortality messing with you.

And can we stop for a second and talk about how rotten immortality would be?  I mean, long life would be great and all--a few hundred or even thousand years of bopping around.  I'm not talking about Hob from Sandman type of immortality, or even Highlander just-don't-cut-off-my-head stuff.  I'm talking true, Captain Jack Harkness cannot be killed indestructibility.  I mean, if absolutely nothing else, I don't want to be around when the sun explodes in 10 billion years.  How is that anything but sad and painful?  I was surprised, when I brought this up to Mike, that his instantaneous reaction was anything but, "Immortality?  Ugh, no!"  I'm sorry, but there are scenarios in which death is an important back door that needs to be open, thank you very much.

Wow, that sounds grim and creepy.  But then, it's October!  It's thematic!  Coming up: goblins and purple prose.

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