Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review: Raven's Ladder

Book 3 of 4 in The Auralia Thread is good. Really good. The one thing about Book 2 is that you could sort of expect a lot of what would happen, because that's what happens when you deal with an archtypical story like beauty and the beast. Raven's Ladder, on the other hand, has surprises and twists that I'd love to talk about but instead want people to discover them on their own. I am really looking forward to Book 4, which I know Jeffrey is writing right now.

There are four houses and each of the books so far has focused on one of them: this one focuses on House Bel Amica (which has some uncanny resemblances to Seattle itself). Before we had glimpsed some of the belief-system of this house and it struck me as absurd yet appropriate, a social critique on a level you don't ever find in this genre. Now that we see all the aspects of House Bel Amica, the people in charge have become quite a bit scarier. There's one particular dark scene ("Auralia's Followers") that takes the experience to a whole new level. The amazing thing is with all this going on, the people of Bel Amica are never exactly demonized, they remain tangible and nuanced throughout. Now, as for those mysterious string-pullers and scientists in charge ... well, we're just starting to see what kind of no good they're up to.

More than anything, I like what Jeffrey does with the expectations of the reader in this one, and that's why it's so hard to write about, because if I tell you your expectations will be challenged and possibly overturned, you'll be wondering how. One thing I can tell you: you'll be kicking yourself for not catching the clues. And that's all I'm saying.

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