Monday, July 8, 2013

The Power of Words

In elementary school, the principal often used to begin short reprimand speeches with the words, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will hurt me even more."  True, and at a time of year that it's even more important to watch your words, I offer a novel that gives words a tremendous amount of power.  Lexicon, by Max Barry, is built on an astounding premise:  words have power, intrinsically, and can be wielded as weapons.  Parts of the book resemble Lev Grossman's The Magicians, but Lexicon is nowhere near as linear, which can be a bit confusing.  This book makes an impression, and is a page turner.  However,  I was a little disappointed in some of the characters, many of whom seem one-dimensional.  Emily, the main character, is fairly well developed, but I would have liked to see more of Eliot's personality, and the "outlier" they all seek seems more like a paper doll than a person.

A new discovery of mine is Fred Vargas, a French mystery writer.  The Ghost Riders of Ordobec is the latest of his but the first I have read, and it is very entertaining indeed. The translation is so good that the reader wouldn't suspect it wasn't originally written in English.  I will definitely be looking for more of his writing.

Terry Pratchett is always a lot of fun, if you're the type who likes zany fantasy, and I often find myself rereading favorites like Monstrous Regiment and The Thief of Time.  Now, together with Stephen Baxter, Pratchett has written two new books: The Long Earth, and The Long War.  Companion novels, they really must be read in order to be understood.  I enjoyed them, and the plot is interesting, but the reader only occasionally senses the effervescence of Pratchett floating above the text.  The theme of the book, I understand, does not exactly lend itself to the hijinks of the Discworld, but I missed it all the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment