Rosanna's Reviews > Jack of Kinrowan

Jack of Kinrowan by Charles  de Lint
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's review
Feb 26, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, read-aloud
Read from January 08 to February 25, 2011

Mediocre at Best

I had high hopes for this book and was greatly disappointed. I will admit I’m a huge fantasy fan, but haven’t explored too much urban fantasy. Now normally I would question why fairies, hobs, and other mythical creatures—usually associated with the earth and Mother Nature—would be living in a polluted, crowded city and if mythical creatures did dwell in a city, I would imagine them to be more fiendish, evil type creatures. However, I was willing to put aside my initial biases and see where Charles de Lint took the novel. He did not take it far. It seemed he only put in the urban elements to make the reader relate to the physical area (Ottawa, Canada) and the human world, as well as to be original. There didn’t seem to be much difference between the human characters and the magical characters. The evil monsters were just giants who rode Harleys. The magical characters ate at restaurants and at the Waffle House and spent human currency. Jacky and Kate were able to see the Faerie world, become invisible to fellow humans and members of the Faerie world, as well as run amazingly fast, just by having a hob sew some stitches into their coat and shoes. It seems to me if you’re going to have an urban fantasy setting, there should be some point—an environmental critique, humans’ ever growing need to develop the natural world, therefore forcing the mythical folk to live in cities, etc. However, de Lint doesn’t seem to be making any point.

The story is very formulaic, with flat, good versus evil characters and no one in between. When Jacky—the main character—realizes the magical world exists and how the Seelie court is being brutally attacked, she is able—with no magic of her own and no forethought and planning—to defeat the Unseelie court, when for years the great wizards, lords, Gruagaghs, could do nothing to stop them. De Lint tries to show that through bravery and willingness to sacrifice yourself for the common good you can defeat your foe. However, this coming of age story is very childlike, shallow, predictable, and lacks stimulation. If you’re a youth and new to the fantasy genre, this might be a decent book, otherwise I would steer clear. I gave this book two stars only because some of the ideas in the novel were interesting, even if they were not fully developed. Such as: 1. There are supernatural beings that live among us, but because we don’t believe in them we have lost the ability to see them 2. That humans have a great tendency to believe in the bad supernatural creatures (ghosts, undead, witches, etc.) versus the good (fairies, elves etc.).

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Lady (new)

Lady I feel as though I got a good sense of the essence of this book by reading your review. You have a talent for analysis that will only grow stronger. I enjoy reading your reviews - they are always thoughtful. I've long believed that there are supernatural, or otherworldly, or magical, or all of the above, creatures that live amongst us - but because we don't believe in them anymore, we can't see them. What would happen if all the world's Christians no longer believed in Jesus? I wonder. And if something did happen, would we notice?

PS - I want my Chrestomanci book!! ;)

Rosanna Thanks Laila for your kind comment. I like writing reviews because it allows me to work out my own thoughts and opinions in a more concise and organized way. I'm glad you like to read them and find them insightful. I’m very curious as to your opinions of the book and you will have to share them with me when you finish it. I too believe there are creatures among us that we, as of yet, have not learned to recognize. The world is full of mystery and many things are left to be discovered.

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