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arrakiswitch

A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.

Currently reading

Miles Morales: Spider-Man (A Marvel YA Novel)
Jason Reynolds, Kadir Nelson
Progress: 206/261 pages

Review: Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry

Ghost Road Blues - Jonathan Maberry

 

Wonderfully atmospheric, with a leisurely pace that relishes in the reveal and the building of tension. This was the first adult work I'd read by Maberry, and in fact his first novel, so going into it I already knew that he was a fantastic writer; I had a few problems with the Rot & Ruin series, but the prose, and the horror, were never in doubt. Character development however...

 

So, it lost a star here. Not necessarily for the character development of the main protagonists, because I really liked Crow and Mike, and... to a slightly lesser degree, I tolerated Terry. And the villains were deliciously over the top in the best way. But the female characters... Sighs, there's a lot of casual sexism here. In that way that men who think they're enlightened have. I kept trying to like Val, but she's stupidly inconsistent depending on what the story wants her to do, and extremely judgmental and condescending to her sister-in-law. As a matter of fact, the novel's narration in general had a nasty eye focused on any woman that clearly doesn't fit the author's ideal of 'strong woman.' Women exist as props, and have no individual motivations past how it affects the men around them. What a shame, but not especially surprising for the genre.

 

And the dialogue, particularly between Crow and Val, could be so cringe worthy and cheesy. There was nothing really believable about their relationship, and Maberry doesn't work for it, just expects the investment on the reader's behalf to be there. I'm hoping it develops over the next two books, because otherwise...

 

Also? And this is only an issue with my expectation versus the reality of it and not a problem I had with the book itself, but I had no idea that absolutely nothing would be resolved in this novel, that I'd have to read the other two to even get past the initial set up. The entirety of this 472 page novel reads like a prologue.

 

But I do want to pick up the other two. I' dying to. Which speaks to the strength of the story, of the setting and... to a lesser degree, the characters. A really fun, solid read that rides on the atmosphere of the autumnal season. And one of the best Stephen King clones I've ever read.