Feb 09 2013

Spirits in the Wires (Charles de Lint)


This book was part of my 50 Book Pledge (2013)

I wanted to love this book. Truly, I did. The premise of the Internet and fantasy characters manifesting into their own reality, with the ability to crossover into our own, and interact with us mere humans, is amazing. A little bit of fantasy story with some real-life morals and exciting action sequences… wonderful.. should have been great. For some reason(s), which I am having a hard time pinpointing, it just didn\’t do it for me.

I would still recommend that a person read it and decide for themselves though. Unlike some other books that I actively suggest others to not read and to burn, this one I think is worth a \’find out for yourself\’ rating. And I may give it another read in a year or two. Perhaps my mindset and personal life during the time of reading jaded it for me. Authors work hard at their craft, and usually I have respect for them, even if I dislike their book (not for Stephanie Meyers or E. L. James though). Big plus for Charles – he\’s a (transplanted) Canadian in Ontario. How can I not champion for him??

About the book:

…at the heart of Spirits in the Wires are Saskia Madding and Christiana Tree, both of whom are tied to perennial Newford character, the writer Christy Riddell. Are either Saskia or Christiana real? Christy\’s girlfriend, Saskia, believes she was born in a Web site, while Christiana is Christy\’s \”shadow self\” — all the parts of him that he cast out when he was seven years old.

At a popular Newford on-line research and library Web site called the Wordwood, a mysterious \”crash\” occurs. Everyone visiting the site at the moment of the crash vanishes from where they were sitting in front of their computers. Saskia, disappears right before Christy\’s eyes.

Now Christy and his companions must journey into Newford\’s otherworld—where the Wordwood, it transpires, has a physical presence of its own—to rescue their missing friends and loved ones, and to set this viral spirit right before it causes further harm.
Source: http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/spirits-desc01.htm

Some things that bothered me:

  1. Chapters beginning with quotes from novels that were \”written\” by one of the characters in the book. Impress me by finding real life quotes that are relevant; don\’t just make them up.
  2. Many of the characters have names that just do not flow off your tongue, which causes them to not flow through your brain while reading, and they get stuck. Don\’t make a name the difficult part of the reading process please. For one of them, the rationale (back story) as to how the unusual name came about was interesting, but it didn\’t make me like it any more.
  3. I wanted to identify with the main character (Christianna) and cheer for her but I never got the emotional connection needed to do so. At the end of the book, at her difficult cross road, I didn\’t care which direction she took. It made me feel disappointed that I didn\’t care about any of the characters\’ \”life\” after the final page. Oh – to be fair – maybe the handsome, fun, rouge Borrible Jones has crossed my mind a few times since finishing. (That is not a typo: his name is HORRIBLE with a B instead of an H. See? Not an easy flow to it.)

Some things I liked:

  1. The entire concept for the story. All of the many aspects of the complex concept for this book, I thought were brilliant.
  2. The format of story-telling. The author broke the chapters to a spotlight for a particular character\’s thoughts and experiences, while continuing the story. It wasn\’t revisiting a past reveal, but moving forward while wearing the guise of a different personality. Worked very well, especially since there seemed to be a large number of major characters.

This book is subtitled as number 14 in the Newford series. It could very well be that because I read this one first, that I do not have the history to appreciate it. After all, the author has written many, many books and has been published since 1983. That says something about his appeal.

If you\’ve red this book, or others in the series, what did you think of the stories? Would you recommend not to read the books as stand-alones, but to follow the order?

You can visit Charles de Lint on Good Reads or his website.


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1 comment

    • cathyincanada on 10 October, 2013 at 6:13 pm
    • Reply

    Arg! Just noticed a typo in the last paragraph. I do know read is spelt READ not RED. I’ll fix it. I promise.

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