March 13th, 2013


Reading Wednesday

I am currently reading Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, but am not very far into it yet.

On my long weekend, I finished Kate Griffin's The Midnight Mayor, and have the next couple of books in the series (quadrology?) waiting in the TBR. One thing I noticed in particular this time is how the urban magic seems more real and inevitable because of the way the author uses description. There's that common worldbuilding trope of having sorcerers/wizards/what have you trained by having to learn the names of things, or the categories of things, and though Griffin doesn't do that for her magic users, the prose itself very much does. A great deal of the description includes lists of things - long sentences, long paragraphs, naming off all the elements of a particular segment of urban environment. When the magic is made to happen, it seems inevitably connected to the elements of the world that have just been enumerated. At the same time, it makes the familiar seem alien. At least for me. Those long lists are also somewhat trance-inducing - you can get caught and not let go until the sentence ends. Which might be a while. So don't read these books on your bus or subway ride, because you might miss your stop. I narrowly missed missing it a couple of times. I'm going to wait a bit before I go on to the next book, because I think the prose style could be wearing if taken in too-large doses.