Those of you paying attention will notice that this is the second book in a row to be reviewed by me here. If you’re very astute, you’ll notice it’s a...moreThose of you paying attention will notice that this is the second book in a row to be reviewed by me here. If you’re very astute, you’ll notice it’s also the second book by the same author and the second book in his series, and… yes… well… anyway…
Before His Time follows the same two protagonists as those in Above His Station, and the action picks up right after the first book left off in the post-credits scene.
Yes, there’s a scene that shows up after the “thanks to…” and so on at the back of the book. There’s one in this book as well. One should be reading everything in a book, as there’s often surprize gifts in store.
As with the previous story, there’s not much I can say about this without giving a great deal of material away.
Had you been here watching me compose this, you’d have seen me pause a great length of time trying to work out how to carry on about this book without revealing much of anything. This is the problem with the book, if such a thing can be considered a ‘problem.’ The whole thing is so very tightly structured it’s much like an avalanche in that one tiny little thing leads irrevocably to the next thing and the next and so on and then one reveals the awful truth about Vader being Luke’s father and how he longs for the simplicity of playing with a sled in the snow when he was a child on Tatooine.
I described the first book as not a normal one. Before His Time is even less normal, but even better written and and more fun yet. Darren Craske has successfully set-up a world for his characters in which anything can – and usually does – happen, and he allows them the freedom to stretch imaginations as a result.
As with ABOVE HIS STATION, Mr. Craske provides an entirely believable impossible series of events within a ordinary man and his faithful talking rat companion overcome all the dangers which the dæmons of Hell can muster variety of plot, with characters who nearly always behave in normal ways (when they don’t it’s always in a fashion that is loyal to the plot) in which we can invest our understanding and sympathy.
There’s a third book to come, apparently, presumably with a title beginning with the letter “c” and the word “His” in the middle of it. Personally I can’t wait to read that one as well.
Read all of his books. Darren Craske is the business.
BEFORE HIS TIME by Darren Craske, Dec 29, 2012; ISBN: 1230000148553 EXPLICIT CONTENT: Not suitable for those under 13, as this book contains bad language and graphic descriptions of rodent intercourse.(less)
It’s not often I’ll write a review of a book, but it’s not often I get to read something so very, very different.
This is not a normal book, IT’S GREAT...moreIt’s not often I’ll write a review of a book, but it’s not often I get to read something so very, very different.
This is not a normal book, IT’S GREAT!
Right, that’s got the pull quote out of the way… which should make someone happy.
Now, what to say about the book per se… well… now comes the trickier part, because at least 90% of the joy of reading this is the constantly nagging question in the mind of what the hell is going on here? It’s not often that one can really have the feeling of discovering things along with the characters; typically one has a rough notion of where things are going ahead of time.
Not with this. No no.
Initially it seems like a fresh take on the set-up presented in Arthur Machen’s 1917 novella The Terror, which also provided the starting structure of the Benji Spriteman Mysteries The Terror and the Tortoiseshell and The Designated Coconut. That’s just the starting point, however.
Once we’re past that… Lordy does the thing get up to cruising altitude quickly, and it stays there right until the end. Imagine trying to explain The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to someone who’s never even heard of it. How does one go from there’s a guy who’s going to get his house knocked over for a road… all the way to meeting a man who has two heads and three arms and who happens to be the Galactic President… without losing all credibility? You’ve barely got into the story at that point, as well.
Were any of the plot provided, too much would be given away. No, really: anything more than what you already have would ruin the surprise. There’s much in here to exclaim loudly at the page what? Are you insane? In a good way, obviously.
The characters are wonderfully developed over the length of the tale, the settings are excellently detailed, and the dialogue is grand stuff with all sorts of witty back-and-forth.
If there is any shortcoming to the book, it’s that it might benefit from a tiny bit of careful, very precise, surgical-style editing. Hastening to emphasis the ‘tiny’ aspect of the criticism, as there’s so much to enjoy that someone simply looking for a dashed good read wouldn’t see a single thing wrong it. I just happen to be a bit more picky, which doesn’t make me any better, it merely makes me “different.”
The first chapter is considerably longer than the rest of them, but does have the herculean task of providing the entire back story of the protagonist and his relatives. While there might be some way to break-up this block of material some way — possibly through the sort involving an initial arrival in Royal Street Station with a large tiger leaping at our hero, followed by a statement of the …but let me back up and tell you how I got here… variety — but I’m at a loss to suggest anything precise.
There are other points through the book that the Editor in me had thoughts of that last last exchange of dialogue ought to be trimmed back… as well as an occasional might be better to shift that ahead of the action it follows right now… but those both were few enough in instance to collectively count on one hand, and they’re only mentioned in order for this to not be seen as an altogether glowing and celebratory review. Praise the good, indicate the bits to work harder on next time; that’s my approach.
Honestly, the best suggestion I can make here is the following:
It’s great, it’s not like anything you’ve encountered before. It’s tough to really say much more, so just read it, okay?(less)
A fine combination of noire, police procedural, and "what sick bastard would think of doing that?" is here combined by the excellent writing of Warre...moreA fine combination of noire, police procedural, and "what sick bastard would think of doing that?" is here combined by the excellent writing of Warren Ellis. A stronger, more connected narrative line than his first novel — Crooked Little Vein — this tale is rooted in Manhattan and combines local history and a security company-based conspiracy to form an excellent, and tightly woven tale of intrigue. Characters (both normal and colourful) are fully formed, and the settings are expertly detailed to bring things to life in your head without heading into Proust-like territory. Fabulous, and highly recommended for anyone, with little restriction for age, gender, or tastes: something for everyone here. Warren Ellis is a mad genius.(less)
Good gracious, can this author write! The length of this shouldn't put off anyone who loved The Name of the Wind, the first book in this un-finished...moreGood gracious, can this author write! The length of this shouldn't put off anyone who loved The Name of the Wind, the first book in this un-finished trilogy; not even those only "iffy" about that one. The characters continue to develop, the action is still exciting, the intrigue is fascinating; there's just oodles more of it. Honestly, I can't wait to get my hands on the third one, and am immensely grateful to the friend who recommended this and the previous book to me.(less)
Funny stuff, and more revelatory about Fan Conventions than you could imagine. While no one real person is specifically spoofed in the story, it's pos...moreFunny stuff, and more revelatory about Fan Conventions than you could imagine. While no one real person is specifically spoofed in the story, it's possible to recognize everyone and oneself during the action. That said, no one is laughed at, as its take on the situation is far more celebratory than one of a mocking tone. Very humorous, full of surprises, and a fair smattering of smut. Imagine "Carry On…" crossed with every episode of "Doctor Who" and the nit-picking of SF fans. Worth your time.(less)