Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Four and twenty blackbirds

Rattling through the freebooks now, another one bites the dust. This time, "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" by Cherie Priest. Tor have finally opened their group blog site, which I thought was going to be more of a social network, and you can download all the freebooks they've distributed so far if you want to catch up. There's some good ones in there, but I'm only halfway through the list. Like James said, the site is another feed to subscribe to and "mark all as read" because you don't have time to read all the other group blogs out there. My feed reader rapidly fills up with shite, and that's just from boingboing and io9. Still, I'll keep an eye on it and see what happens.

So, back to the book. It's a ghost / horror story, set in the South of the U.S. This meant I had to read it in a comedy accent, which cheered me up. I have no idea if any of the characters were supposed to talk that way, and I had to add in a couple of instances of "Lordy, lordy, chile" and "ah do declay-air" of my own.

As a ghost story it's not particularly scary, and it works better as a murder mystery, with the plucky young heroine following clues to find out about her past. No-one wants to talk about it, for no adequately explained reason other than the book would be a lot shorter than if they had.

The plot is ok, it kept me reading, and the characters (or at least the narrator) are reasonably interesting. It has a couple of horror-movie style lazy plot points: plucky heroine decides to take in the family cemetery late at night, just after hearing that her crazy cousin has escaped from police custody - guess who she bumps into; plucky heroine is close to her goal, danger is ahead, crazy cousin still at large, she's miles from anywhere with only a big, strong, man with a shotgun as a sidekick - "let's split up", she says. Bad things then ensue.

It's a flawed book, but the writing was good enough that I will keep an eye out for other things by Cherie Priest, so the freebook has done its job.

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