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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wren Journeymage (Wren series) by Sherwood Smith

Having read 'Wren to the Rescue' many moons ago it was interesting to see how far Wren had come as a character. I quite enjoyed catching up as it were and may go back and read the in between happenings from the series. 
Look for further reviews at: http://www.librarything.com/work/10617132

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The End of Marking Time, by C.J. West

Opening with the main protagonist explaining how he had arrived at his current state throws us right into the action
Michael O’Connor has been in a coma for four years as a result of a fellow prisoner’s escape en route to jail. Michael has awoken to a different US justice system, where criminals are no longer jailed but tethered, where on the surface the system appears to be working, but below that surface is a sinister, vigilante attitude towards criminals. Circumstances have no place. Prisoners are less than human. Human rights are dead. (and by extension the society's)
I felt like I was reading Clockwork Orange meets Big Brother meets 1984. (I later read that C.J. West sees his novel as “a modern 1984 meets Prison Break.")
The supposition of the novel was fine, I did get drawn into the action and followed Michael‘s rehabilitation process in this changed society.
The controllers of this process are one dimensional, dehumanized by their very role.
The ending was somewhat surprising, although truth-to-tell; as I approached the final pages I had already surmised parts of it. Let me just say that some things came together too neatly – but then perhaps that is a reflection of this changed society that West portrays where the majority of  people are being forced into neat, little boxes, and the law enforcers have become the oppressors. The color “dark grey” and the word “dangerous” kept floating across my reading as I reflected on the portrayed society. Certainly the premises are disturbing.
Personally I found the closing unsatisfactory and kept asking…Why...or… How else?
… but maybe that’s the author’s very point, particularly as the story ended up haunting me for quite sometime!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy (ARC)

The exploits of urban shaman Joanne Walker, Seattle police detective extraordinaire, continue. Once more Walker’s best planned intentions go astray creating havoc during a new murder investigation. Sure she intuitively connects many of the dots of the case, if she could only solve her own relationship challenges and inner turmoil this would be an added bonus.

As Joanne herself explains,
‘I was bad at relationships. I was bad at reading between lines, at figuring out what people really meant if they didn’t actually say it, and at being charming or flirty or whatever I was, exactly that women were supposed to do to attract men. My skill sets lay along the lines of taking apart car engines, drinking grown men under the table—and more recently—solving esoteric murders.'

The death of a Native American dancer under bizarre circumstances and the disappearance of some of the homeless of Seattle are seemingly unrelated. Yet even the most distant of relationships sometimes merge and dance to a different rhythm.

A foot-in-mouth heroine who goes from incredibly wise, to a gangly teenage in under 30 seconds, Walker treads her world as a warrior-shaman, dealing with cases that would make the rest of us shudder.
Here is a character we can laugh with and wince with. A heroine we readers can enjoy standing alongside—quirky, irreverent, yet sparklingly sincere and loveable. The self-deprecating humor and irony Murphy laces the direst of situations with is wonderful.

The supporting characters of Billy and Melinda continue to grow and add strength to the story. Joanna’s relationship with her boss Morrison continues to fascinate and frustrate both her and us. 
Another fast paced, well crafted read from Murphy.

Pub Date: 03/29/2011
Harlequin: Luna Books
ISBN: 9780373803255