Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Magic to the Bone and Sherlock House

Urban Fantasy is the it sub-genre of Fantasy & Science Fiction, if not in general. Right, my other bit of news is that everyday the sun rises. The latest book review I posted is from a new author; a woman author, and falls firmly within the Urban Fantasy arena – three elements/book types I wanted to read more of this year. In this case, the book is Devon Monk’s Magic to the Bone. While I enjoyed it, I wonder if the aspects of the book that didn't work for me are indicative of the subgenre or of Monk’s writing. Anyway, here’s a brief snapshot of the review:
We are firmly in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (at least as the genre label is known and used today) territory here: mystery, romance, and magic cobbled together in what amounts to a solid page turner. The novel is told in the first person through Allie’s engaging voice, but as the novel marches along, it becomes evident that Allie just might be an Unreliable Narrator. The tag line on the back of the novel indicates, “magic has a price” and in this case, for every spell Allie casts, part of her memory dissolves. Although she carries around a pen and pad to help keep her personal facts straight, when events are chaotic (for the most part the whole novel, but if they weren’t chaotic the novel wouldn’t exist, she doesn’t have the chance to record events as they happen. Monk has created an interesting, flawed protagonist who, for the most part, comes across as genuine and sympathetic.
In other late-breaking news, Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff and I have become somewhat addicted to House. This goes against, in some ways, my personal expectations. I’ve long been tired of hospital/doctor shows and the commercials on FOX with the deep-voiced announcer always saying “…on the next HOUSE” were a turn off. Mrs. o’ Stuff got sucked into an episode about a month or two ago and we’ve both been hooked on the USA re-runs ever since. Watching the show has made me realize how much I really enjoy mystery stories, at least in a filmed context (Criminal Minds, CSI (original), Without a Trace). This is pretty logical since I cut my teeth as a young kid reading The Three Investigators mysteries. Anyway, House the character comes across as snarky, cranky, brilliant, and humorous character. Kind of like Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm except smarter and intentionally snarky.

It’s been said many times how House is blatant stand-in for Sherlock Holmes. As a result, and coupled with how much I enjoyed Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald, and the film Young Sherlock Holmes, I recently dug out Mrs. Blog o’ Stuff’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes from one of the many boxes of books in the various rooms in our house. When I get to reading it is a different story.

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