Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Walking the Labyrinth by Lisa Goldstein

Eh. I was lukewarm on this one. Which is a pity, because Lisa Goldstein at her best is outstanding - Tourists is my favourite of hers, but I also enjoyed The Red Magician, The Dream Years, and many of her short stories. Her fantasy is often tinged with surrealism and is quite unlike most of the other material in the genre. But Dark Cities Underground was a letdown - I never managed to care much about the main characters, and the title left me hoping for dark city scenery that never materialised.

Molly Travers was raised by her great aunt, and believes she has no other family. Which is a pity, because she's actually related to a troupe of performing magicians. After a private investigator contacts her, she starts researching her peculiar family history. A few evil murdering types with connections to some of her ancestors try to interfere, but oddly don't manage to provide much suspense.

I liked Molly, and her private investigator sidekick John Stow. ("Liked" may be overstating how I felt about John, but he was interesting to read about.) But I'd have prefered to spend a little more time getting to know them - large parts of the book were told through old diaries and letters. Emily's story could have made a book of its own, I think, but instead was just long enough to distract me from the main plot. It all might have worked better if the plot hadn't been so busy; too much happening in not enough space.

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