Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Jewish Dog, Captain's Fury, Faerie Queene

I haven't written much about Asher Kravitz's The Jewish Dog, but I've been reading it steadily.  The dog, having been through a number of names, is now a guard dog in a concentration camp.  I have a feeling Kravitz is heading toward a moderately optimistic ending, where the dog helps his former owner to escape the camp, but this book has surprised me a few times already.

By now, Kravitz has abandoned the dog's naivete, which is probably just as well; it was getting to be more grating than funny.  Instead, the dog has become a much more straightforward narrator.

Jim Butcher's novels drive me crazy.  On the one hand, he is very good at constructing an over-arching plot-line, constructing interesting dilemmas for his characters (and giving them interesting ways to solve them), and general world-building.  On the other hand, on a sentence by sentence level, he's about the most leaden author I continue to read.  So every time I start one of his books, until it gets into the flow, I ask myself why I'm bothering.  Then things get into a groove, and his plot starts building steam, and he gets into great set pieces, and everything's great.  Then we get into a lull in the action, and the writing or dialog has me cringing again.  And just as I'm ready to throw in the towel, the plot picks up again, and I can't wait to see what will happen.

Captain's Fury is no exception to the general rule.  And that's probably about all that needs to be said about it.  (Well, almost.  I found the stage machinery to be more obvious this time than most; Butcher needs First Lord out of the way where he can't deus ex machina the whole main plot-line away, so he creates a whole side mission for him.  Although his mission may have dramatic consequences for the future of the series, in this novel it's pretty clearly just there to keep the most powerful characters out of the main plot).

In Book IV of The Faerie Queene.

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