Sunday, January 21, 2007

Just finished The House of Storms by Ian R. MacLeod. This is the second book by MacLeod set in an alternate Victorian England where instead of steam being used to power the industrial revolution, a magical substance called Aether was discovered. The use of Aether is controlled by the guilds, who therefore control everything else and make up the aristocracy of this world. Like his previous book, The Light Ages, The House of Storms is filled with interesting ideas and evocative writing but still left me somewhat cold. MacLeod has said that he is trying to write "realistic fantasy" but the result, like in a lot of "naturalistic" fantasy, is un-sympathetic, sometimes un-understandble, characters. For example, the first character we meet is a mother trying to find a way to protect her son from the effects of tuberculosis but we quickly discover that she is also a golddigger and serial killer who will do whatever is needed to increase her power and position in society. The other complaint I have about both books is that the evocative writing sometimes takes over to the point that it is hard to decipher what is actually happening.

Amazon Link for The House of Storms

Amazon link for The Light Ages

No comments: