February 1st, 2006

firesea: self-portrait

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

3. Four and Twenty Blackbirds, by Cherie Priest (aka cmpriest)

This is sort of a reread. This book was published in a much rougher form by an indie publisher a year or two ago, who promptly pulled all sorts of unethical hijinks and put the book out of print without giving the author any sales figures or royalties (but not before I managed to get a copy). Since then it has been revised, expanded, and republished by Tor. This was my first read of the new version.

This is the story of Eden Moore, a young woman from Tennessee who just happens to be able to see ghosts, and her attempt to find out more about her increasingly murky and convoluted family history. It's a ghost story, a mystery, southern gothic horror, and something else, above and beyond what you'd expect of any of these.

Most mysteries, for example, irritate the hell out of me. I dislike the feeling of manipulation I get when authors dangle clues in front of me, keeping just enough information from me that I can't possibly figure it out until just after the protagonist does.

4&20bb doesn't do that. Instead, each layer of the mystery (and there are layers within layers, believe me) reveals new rooms to explore, new relationships to fathom, in ways that leave you wanting more, but not like you're running after an author-dangled carrot on a string.

It's a fairly quick read, but a satisfying one, and leaves you pondering the ramifications of what just happened. And the best news of all is that it's the first of a trilogy - the second book, Wings to the Kingdom, will be published next fall, and the third, which she's just started working on, will be out in the fall of '07.

The author, cmpriest, has been on my LJ Friends List for some time, and is a wonderful read. Her journal tends to be a lovely and entertaining mix of writing woes, cute kitty pictures, and stories of life in Chattanooga, and she writes in her journal with the same dry and biting wit that is in her fiction.
firesea: self-portrait

upcoming reviews

Oh, and here's what I'm reading currently, in order of when I started them. We'll see which one makes it to the review stage first, or if another one jumps in and hijacks my attention. (Multi-track mind? Me?)

The System of the World by Neil Stephenson
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin
Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think by George Lakoff
Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
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