Mar. 23rd, 2009

penmage: (wicked stepsisters [ever after])

Fall of Light by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Opal LaZelle is a makeup artist, specializing in monsters and the grotesque. She’s excellent at what she does—partially because she applies more than makeup to her creations. Because Opal comes from a magical family, where every member has magical gifts and abilities—and Opal can change someone’s face with a touch and a thought.

On the set of the horror movie Forest of the Night, Opal is in charge of Corvus Weather, the Dark God of the movie. But it soon becomes apparent that Corvus is sinking too deeply into the role, and Opal realizes that something is possessing him. There is an ancient power in this town, a power that wants to rise again and is using Corvus—and the movie—as its vehicle. And while Opal may be the only person on the set who realizes the enormity of the danger, she may not be strong enough to stop it.

A Fistful of Sky is my favorite Nina Kiriki Hoffman book, and one of my favorite books in general, so I had high hopes for Fall of Light. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like it very much at all. I think it was missing a lot of what I loved about the LaZelles in Fistful—the introspect of the way their family magic works, and the interplay of the family and magical people and magic being common and accepted. It DID have the other trademark of Nina Hoffman’s work that I love so much—the way normal, nonmagical people accept magical events pretty easily.

I know it’s not fair to expect it to be the same book as Fistful, especially because Hoffman, maybe more than any other writer, never writes the same book twice. But I felt like it was missing some of the elements that made me love Fistful so much.

Cut for spoilers... )

I don’t need every question answered in my fiction—sometimes you just don’t get to know the answer, and I like that. Not every loose end is tied up—that feels honest and real, even when it’s frustrating. It’s just when NONE of the loose ends are tied up that I’m left feeling out of sorts.

I will definitely keep eagerly devouring Nina Hoffman’s new books as quickly as she can write them, but I think she really missed the mark with this one. Hopefully there will be more books with the LaZelle family to make up for it. Dare I hope for a book featuring Flint?


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