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Spirits in the Wires (Newford #10)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,588 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Charles de Lint's Newford novels, loosely linked "tales" with overlapping characters set in an imaginary modern North American city, are tales of magic and myth afoot on today's city streets. But at the center of every de Lint story is the miracle of the human heart.

And at the heart of Spirits in the Wires are Saskia Madding and Christiana Tree, both of whom are tied to pe
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 16, 2008 Kirstin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
After I read Someplace to be Flying, I ran out and bought three more Charles de Lint books. I started Spirits in the Wires immediately. If I had read this book first, I don't think I would have checked out any of the authors other stuff.

The book is 100 maybe 200 pages too long. De Lint repeats ideas without enough variation. Sometimes I felt like I was being hammered. The concept of a sentient web site that pulled people into their computers was great, but all the mechanics of how it worked fail
First let me say, that I have been enjoying all the books in the Newford series immensely and Spirits in the Wires is no exception. I particularly enjoyed meeting some characters and getting to know others better and there were some good concepts and moments throughout.

Having said that, I think the book lagged a little bit at times and I feel like I was missing some information at times (which very well might be my fault since I am reading the books in the order I can get them rather than in th
I put off reading this book for awhile as I thought the premise was a bit silly. I like Charles de Lints books about urban myths and fairies, native spirits and spirit worlds but this seemed to be going a little too far. Perhaps it was the memory of bad pagans who'd "fight the demons in the internet" that I had the misfortune of knowing at university but I wasn't thrilled about the premise of this book. However, like everything else De Lint does this book was great. The characterisation of Chris ...more
Lis Carey
Jan 12, 2011 Lis Carey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
This is another Newford novel, taking some the least technologically-inclined of the loose Newford network of friends and aquaintances into the internet. Literally into the net--some of them get involuntarily uploaded, and others follow in the hope of rescuing them.

Aaran Goldstein, book editor for the local newspaper and mild pain in neck to Christy Riddle, Saskia Madding, and others of literary bent in our old familiar crowd, hits upon a relatively harmless means of revenge upon Saskia for the
Grainne Rhuad
Oct 31, 2008 Grainne Rhuad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Urban Fantasy lovers, Charles de Lint lovers
Another Great offering from Charles de Lint. This Urban fantasy takes some familiar Newford charactors into a new realm of modern possibility via the internet. The worldwide web in de Lint's mind is depicted as an ether-world that easily overlaps, weaves and co-exists with his in-between world that fans have come to be familiar with. If you are an avid fantasy reader in general and a de Lint reader in particular it is no great feat of immagination to see how crossroad spirits and Gods alike coul ...more
Mar 01, 2013 Zen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Before I get into Spirits in the Wires, I just have to say: one thing I generally love about De Lint books are the lady characters. I hate the phrase ~manic pixie dream girl~ in light of the derogatory way it's generally employed, but it still comes to mind — more in the sense that De Lint has a gift for creating manic pixie dream worlds, and then populating them with quirky boys and girls who are mutually drawn to weirdness and inbetweens; who in finding their own stories, find one another.

I gu
Oct 13, 2008 Happydog rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time I was let down by a DeLint book. The book seems awkward; that's the only word I can use. DeLint doesn't seem to feel comfortable writing about technology, and as a result this book doesn't feel as vivid or as engaging as some of his others. It's interesting, moves quickly, and tells its story well, but DeLint's visualization of the spiritual essence of the online world is a little dated. The bad thing about writing a book that involves the Internet is that in six months, e ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Namedphoenix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I found this novel exceptionally creative. I've recently begun to be attracted to stories that take old folklore and tales and weave it into a modern text. Because what ever did happen to the mythical beasts?

In this book, Charles de Lint determines that they have gone into the other places we either care not to look or have created out of nothing - like the internet!

I loved the no-nonsense approach to mythology and mythical creatures, and how a space is created for those of us who haven't quite
Oct 17, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first Charles de Lint book I've read (other than some short stories) and it was quite good. He says he got somewhat absorbed in the idea that spirits and technology could coexist, and the idea of computers as a window to something unviewable (paraphrasing). I think this really worked. It takes place in Newford (of course), as Christy's girlfriend Saskia, who believes she came into existence from a website, meets Christy's shadow Christiana, who is composed of the castoff parts of Chr ...more
May 22, 2015 Abigail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
reread. some of the references are hilariously dated 12 years later (zip disks! pay phones!), but it's still a good story.
Jun 16, 2014 Esther rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept of this book is fascinating. The fairy world more or less packed up and moved to cyberspace. Cause why not, right? (This is not a spoiler; it's on the back flap.) In this new magical cyberspace there is a domain that spawns life into the real world, and when something happens to that domain, the you-know-what hits the fan.

I have read this book almost in one sitting, followed the characters in their adventures, and was interested right up until the end.

The only gripe Ihave about this
Feb 10, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could I would give this book 6 stars. What an amazing story. Love the characters, love the setting, love the concept. Just WOW! I read this over the last two days and it drew me back every time I had to put it down; I just had to see what would happen next, what myth would be woven into this thoroughly modern story.

Can I just say how proud I am that my hometown produced an author such as Charles De Lint.
Jul 28, 2013 Jk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome story! A wonderful mesh of realism and surrealism that personifies the world wide web. Really unique, but it's not an easy read. On the other hand, the story is so different and compelling, it won't let your mind wander anyway.

Holly Mcentee
I was exactly in the mood for a Charles de Lint story - that precise milquetoast fairyland/real world dichotomy he so excels at. And this book delivered exactly as expected. It was a bit endearing, as it was published in 2003 and explores the idea of the internet as just another dimension of the Otherworld, replete with its own sentient spirits and politics. The 2003-era tech-speak about modems and such seriously date this book, but at the end of it all no one dies and I got what I wanted. Now b ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Lea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The concept of gods of technology seems at once a bit dated and a bit over-done... and while peopling de Lint's fictional Newford with the god's and spaces of technology is a bit... passé, this book came out before Gaiman's American Gods and social media was not yet an invasive species. Regardless, Newford is a wonderful place, peopled with fantastic characters and written with a poetic, subtle prose and I always love to visit. Reminiscent of Peter Beagle, Patricia Wrede and other authors I love ...more
Anne Taylor
Definitely an interesting read. I was a little put off by the constant changing of viewpoint (just because I found it hard to tell who was talking), and the bouncing around of time frame, often repeating scenes. The setting is very dated because he's put perhaps too much description into the interactions with computers, freezing them at a particular era of technology that only existed for 3-5 years.

That said, the story kept me engaged enough to get through it all. The way he mixed computers and
Aug 22, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles de Lint is a prolific writer of fantasy whose books often deal with spirits, faeries, worlds just beyond our perception where all matter of magical folks live. In this novel from 2003 he posits that the world wide web has evolved into one such world where spirits have taken up residence alongside our own world as well as the Borderlands and the Otherworlds where hobs, pixies, goblins, faeries, hellhounds and other such beings lurk. One website in particular, the Wordwood, seems to be hom ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Cupcakencorset rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Faster-paced and more tightly plotted than many of de Lint's Newford stories and novels, Spirits in the Wires also introduces a fairly new element: modern technology. More specifically, the Internet. This particular novel was written at a time when Internet use was becoming pervasive. And the possibility of intelligence via computers is nothing new (hello, HAL!). But de Lint explores the possibility of life of sorts existing within a URL, blending this concept with the mythology and magic of his ...more
Mar 26, 2010 Pixie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must say, I love Charles de Lint. Beautiful, perfect details that add depth, interesting characters, a good mix of fantasy and reality, carefully interwoven.

I wasn't sure I'd care for this book though, because it's kind of about the internet. Most of the time when a non-expert writer tackles the internet, or any type of technology, really, it's painful. The factual errors and even impossibilities are astounding. Now I don't mind if an author wants to shape reality to their purpose within reas
Feb 08, 2013 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(Full post here:

I wanted to love this book. Truly, I did. The premise of the Internet and fantasy characters manifesting into their own reality, with the ability to crossover into our own, and interact with us mere humans, is amazing. A little bit of fantasy story with some real-life morals and exciting action sequences... wonderful.. should have been great. For some reason(s), which I am having a hard time pinpointing, it just didn't do it for me.

Would still r
Dec 12, 2007 Kewpie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Blue Girl, and I wanted to try another de Lint book. The plot was roughly about a woman who gets sucked into her computer into some odd virtual realm. She discovers that she may have been born out of a man's subconsious. This book seemed to be a reunion of characters from several other books. There were several references that made absolutely no sense to me and it seemed really odd that they were added in the book. For example: There is a two sentence oddity where we discover th ...more
Peejay Who Once Was Minsma
This book started our promisingly, but it seemed to get dragged down under its own weight, and I had to force myself to finish it. There were too many point of view characters, some in first person present, some in third person past. I don't necessarily object to this kind of structure if it's pulled off, but in this case it made it difficult to follow the narrative line in places. Also, Mr. De Lint kept reiterating in dialogue scenes we'd just read and drifting off into philosophy in what shoul ...more
I really enjoy the way Charles De Lint creates communities of characters. This book pretty much revolves around Christy Riddle, an author fascinated by folklore, along with his born-from-a-computer girlfriend, Saskia, and his "shadow" self, Christiana (this is going off the idea from Jung that we all have a shadow self who is the opposite of who we are, but the book furthers that idea by saying this person, who exists partly in the kind of fairy-world and partly in the real world, can develop th ...more
Bart Everson
"Urban fantasy" set partly in cyberspace. Sounds interesting, but there are problems.

A contemporary net-driven narrative will perforce age quickly. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it could in fact be charming if the author nails the details. Unfortunately, de Lint seems to neither understand nor care about the architecture and structure of the web. The aesthetics of technology are exploited at the most superficial level possible. Otherworldly realms are decorated with circuit boards and cr
Cathy Douglas
I'm sort of in awe of this guy's imagination. This story is a regular magical stew, with old and new coming together every-which-way. Love this kind of stuff.

Spirits in the Wires builds on the rest of the Newford series, which I haven't read. (Actually, I chose this one first because I liked the title.) The characters all know each other pretty well at this point, using shorthand between themselves, and references to mutual friends who aren't around at the moment. All of which makes me feel a li
Mar 17, 2012 Jonbro rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Going to predicate that I did not finish this book.

With SciFi, I can excuse things that are made up, but it seems that DeLint was taking things that already exist, and I understand, and telling me that my understanding is wrong. The only explanation that he can fall back on is handwaving magic.

The other thing that bugged me about this book is that it has been done better, and with a stronger feeling of magic in other works, most notably neuromancer. Neuromancer seems to have more or less the sam
Adored the imaginative imagery and scenarios in this one, but wished the characters had been a bit more fleshed out and unique from one another personality-wise. Otherwise, this was a fun (and sometimes quite thought-provoking) book.
Dec 21, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is what I wish the Internet actually were. (And it's a fascinating concept.) Well-executed urban fantasy, with plausible magic and believable story arcs! The kind of thing I expect from de Lint.
Wayne Wilson
Jan 11, 2010 Wayne Wilson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished this book. It was such a disappointment. I thought I had finally found the next great fantasy. I read a couple of chapters in the book store before I bought the book and I was excited about the concept of another world inside the internet. With some of the characters in the internet world able to move between worlds I was hoping for some wonderful adventure. I found it perfect for putting me to sleep.

Way too many characters to remember or care about. Each of the characters get
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Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's b ...more
More about Charles de Lint...

Other Books in the Series

Newford (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1)
  • Memory and Dream (Newford, #2)
  • The Ivory and the Horn (Newford, #3)
  • Trader (Newford, #4)
  • Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5)
  • Moonlight and Vines (Newford, #6)
  • Forests of the Heart (Newford, #7)
  • The Onion Girl (Newford, #8)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (Newford, #9)
  • Widdershins (Newford, #11)

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“I watched the people passing below, each of them a story, each story part of somebody else's, all of it connected to the big story of the world. People weren't islands, so far as I was concerned. How could they be, when their stories kept getting tangled up in everybody else's?” 6 likes
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