Friday, January 2, 2015
Book Review: 'Jack In The Green' by Charles de Lint
As a novella, I won't review this the way I would a full novel.
I love Charles de Lint, and I usually get very excited when I sit down to a new de Lint book, and this was no exception. Charles Vess's cover art is glorious, and I had high expectations from the story.
The first thing that I noticed was that the beginning of the story was a little clunky and exposition heavy, which surprised me, as his deft handling of character is normally what I adore most about de Lint. And he isn't subtle at all about hammering in about how the 'rob from the rich to give to the poor' motif of Robin Hood fits into the modern era of robber bankers.
The first half of the story is still enjoyable, it's just a little heavy-handed.
And then the gear shifts, and the second half of the story transported me. The ending is note-perfect. It reminded me, not in a self-copying way, but just in a echo, of 'Moonheart' one of his earliest books.
I talk a lot about books that stat out great, and then aren't able to hold their momentum. This story is just the opposite, a perfect ending with some problems early on.
Should you read it? Yes, if you want a quick read that fills the modern world with magic, which is what de Lint is best at. If you start with this, know that most of his writing is only going to get better for you as you read, and if you're an established fan, this is a quick story that will reinvigorate your love of his worldbuilding.