placeholder review until closer to pub date (<— or maybe not, b/c i am so disappointing!), but for now:
dammit, i wish i liked urban fantasy.
i’ve tried a few times, but nothing has clicked for me yet. there’s a quote in this book: Magic is real. Once magic is real, nothing is entirely out of the question, which unintentionally sums up my resistance. if “nothing is entirely out of the question,” all tension is compromised – anything can be just magically fixed, which lowers the stakes a bit.
which isn’t necessarily a complaint i had with this book; it’s just a general one for books involving powers and magic.
for a more specific-to-this-book explanation of my refusal-to-love: i can handle witches OR ghosts in my books, but both together is just a little silly. clarify – both together in a “real world” setting is silly. to me. pure fantasy i can handle, but when all those creatures are in “our” world, … which makes me sound totally racist, right? stick to your own world! there goes the neighborhood! etc etc
and there must be some examples of books i’ve enjoyed where there’s lots of creatures… maybe – Revenge and the Wild?? – but that’s not really “our world,” is it? and you may say – “well – Every Heart a Doorway is kind of like having a bunch of different “creatures” together, and you were praising that book to the moon and back.” which, fair enough, but that was more metaphorical, and more fantasy than this one. this is new york city, in which ghosts and witches commingle with humans, passing for the living, recognizing each other, passing time back and forth, whereas e.h.a.d. is technically our world, but it all takes place at a boarding school for damaged kids who’ve traveled to fantasy dimensions, which is so far removed from my experiences and what i can see by just looking out the window, that it may as well be pure fantasy.
it’s very frustrating for me to not enjoy an entire genre – as a reader and as a readers’ advisory person both. not that you have to like all genres to practice RA effectively, but it helps to have read widely across many genres. and i’ve tried, but it’s just not working for me yet.
and it’s doubly frustrating because i LOVE mcguire/grant. even though i didn’t like this story overall, it’s still well-written – it’s not as funny as the other stuff of hers i’ve read, which is a shame, because her sparky sense of humor is one of her draws. it’s an original premise – it incorporates traditional ghosty lore, but blends it together with some new stuff to make it into something fresh and new, but it just didn’t HIT me. and i still want to read her urban fantasy series, but i’m just a little afraid of not loving them as much as i’ve loved her zombie/tapeworm/mermaid/Every Heart a Doorway stuff.
still – it’s worth reading, and i’ll review it properly closer to pub date, but for now – if you enjoy urban fantasy, you’ll probably dig this, but if you are flawed like me, maybe read one of her other books, because those are so SHINY in my heart.