I’ve been exposed to what is now known as ‘Urban Fantasy’ for quite a while.
I started out early with part of the Darkness Rising series when I was a kid. It really grabbed me though with Shadowrun in 1989, an amalgamation of Urban Fantasy and Cyberpunk that really, really had a lot of appeal to me. And still has, truth be told, I am still a big fan of that setting.
There had been a slump though, after FASA Corp. was sold/taken over, I didn’t have time to really sit down with friends playing Shadowrun anymore and the novels being released, well, not really being released for a while. Then it all came back with Harry Potter, a Young Adult version in my opinion of the Urban Fantasy Genre. Rekindling my interest, I turned back to the book market from my ’til then almost exclusive diet of Alternate Timeline fiction, Military, Military SF and Thrillers to the growing market of what we now call Urban Fantasy. Thank you, Jim Butcher for your Dresden series (although I remember being ticked a while for naming a character ‘Dresden’, a German city with a history….).
Now, to the original topic though. I discovered the Mercy Thompson series, much like many other books, by browsing through Amazon. I swear, with the decline of bookstores that employ people who know books in Germany, this online store has been a sort of divine inspiration…and certainly the nemesis of my bookshelf-space. The problem I have with that series though is the fact that the books are a) page turners and b) easily transportable, i.e. aren’t very thick page-wise.
As usual, the release schedule is spring-ish, the latest book was scheduled for a March 2011 release and so, in order to get it ASAP, I pre-ordered. Much to my surprise, my faithful and suffering DHL delivery guy rang my doorbell…on February 18. Not that I am complaining. Still, that was a bit odd. I put the book on the backburner kinda, starting it yesterday on the 21st because, with the move and everything I had other things to occupy me…and finished it this morning.
It helped that it plays at the Columbia River Gorge this time, an area Mel and I encountered during our last vacation. My camera loved it, and, heck, so did I. The theme this time is very Native-American with a healthy, although not in-depth smattering of Fae. It’s kinda interesting how she involves the ‘Old World’ Fae without going at all into European Folklore and Mythology this time. Accompanied by some more character development, the plot quickly develops.
From what I gathered, the author spent some time in the area for on-site, in depth research, which is noticeable. The story paces nicely, no lull, no lengths, but after finishing the book there’s a sort of empty feeling. It’s like there’s no aftertaste at all, no palate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, again, and a good story, but it’s not enough story if you ask me. The story wouldn’t have suffered by more text, more story kinda, more body, it certainly wouldn’t have felt bloated kinda.
And that is what I really don’t like about the series itself. Inasmuch as the world, cast of characters and theme are worked out nicely, it feels more like a novella than a novel. A half hour show when you’d rather have a full hour, not to mention a special maybe. I know that writing isn’t as easy as snapping a finger, but at the rate the author is shelling out books, unless she has a bunch more of pen names than I am aware of, this is…a rather easy pace she is writing at. Quality over quantity, I know, I know, but other authors deliver 450+ interesting pages a year and more. And with a rather large font and very broad spacing, those are about 280ish pages…which feel like 180 or so in ordinary print.
So, the verdict…
Overall Fun: C-