Friday, May 07, 2010
** Amberville by Tim Davys. Fantasy.
I've linked to the Sony Reader Store for two reasons: 1) it's where I got the book, and 2) while I usually link to Barnes & Noble, I was irritated that their e-book was marked "These items ship to U.S. addresses only." I am really, really tired of things that don't ship to APO addresses, particularly when there's no actual shipping involved. Sony didn't have any trouble letting me download the book. Take last week, for example. I got an email from Sears (Sears! I order from them all the time, and they're excellent about APO shipping) saying they couldn't ship to the address I'd given them, and would I like them to ship to my daughter in Texas (whose phone number I'd used because they won't allow anything other than a 10-digit phone number) instead. I sent off a scathing reply. Didn't get an answer back, but the next day there was a your-order's-been-shipped email. *sigh*
Got a little of the subject there. Sorry.
Okay, the blurb, so I don't have to synopsize:
What does it mean to be bad?Stuffed animals. Okay, I could possibly get into that, if there were any good reason for the characters to be stuffed animals. There isn't. If there were some reason for the type of animal each character was, or if perhaps they didn't get hurt as easily because they're stuffed animals, or if there were a connection with our world, there might be a point. But there just isn't. In fact, most of the time, it's hard to remember that they are stuffed animals, until some detail smacks you over the head (like the disembowelment scene, where it's stuffing being pulled out instead of intestines). And then it pulls you out of the story because you'd forgotten they were stuffed animals.
Eric Bear has it all: a successful career, a beautiful wife, a blissful home. He knows he's been lucky; a while back, his life revolved around drugs, gambling, a gang of stuffed-animal thugs, and notorious crime boss Nicholas Dove.
But the past isn't as far away as Eric had hoped. Rumors are swirling that Dove is on the Death List and that he wants Eric to save him. If Eric fails to act, his beloved wife, Emma Rabbit, will be torn apart, limb by limb.
With a nod to the best of noir and the wisest of allegories, and interlaced with greed and gangsters, Amberville depicts an alternate world that mirrors our own realities and moral concerns, and reminds us of the inextricable link between good and evil.
Even without the inexplicable stuffed animals, the story is pretty bland and straightforward. Eric Bear (could the names be any less inspired? first name followed by type of animal. wow.) ultimately has to choose between the two people he loves the most, but... ***semi-spoiler*** that choice is rendered moot--it's not unlike the vampire books where the hero spends the entire book trying to come to terms with what he is, then at the very end the good fairy poofs him back to human more or less on a whim--not due to any effort on the hero's part.*** If it hadn't been on my e-reader, the book would have hit the wall at that point.
There's not even much suspense in the search. The bad guys are just randomly bad, and there's very little motivation for any of them except for Nicholas Dove, who, of course, doesn't want to die.
What kept this book from being a complete waste of time (at least it wasn't a waste of money--it was a freebie) were the differences in POV between Eric, his brother Teddy, and Emma. I did enjoy seeing that what each character believed was not the entire story, and how it differed drastically among them.
Bottom line: with a few minor tweaks, this could be a decent children's story. The format, stuffed animal characters, and the whole death list mechanism would fit that genre much better.
I forgotten to say that I'm also sorry that you're having trouble with delivery from B&N things.
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