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Medusa's Web

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,074 ratings  ·  192 reviews
From the award-winning author of Hide Me Among the Graves, Last Call, Declare, and Three Days to Never, a phantasmagoric, thrilling, mind-bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult secrets of 1920s Hollywood to save his family.

In the wake of their Aunt Amitys suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, the eerie, decaying
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,074 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
wheelbugs and spiders and salome, oh my!

sometimes i think tim powers doesn't love me as much as i love him. or maybe it's just that he looks at my goodreads page and sees i have only read three of his books before this one and he just doesn't understand that it's not always about quantity with me; that i love The Stress of Her Regard SO MUCH that even if i'd only read that one single book by him, it would still be tru luv 4eva.

 photo IMG_3999_zps13h4y9ih.jpg

(not to self - get a better tattoo artist and maybe finally fix
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Medusa's Web is a mind-bending story about two siblings that have to uncover occult secrets about their family. Secrets that goes back to the 1920's Hollywood.

Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, a spooky crumbling mansion, after their Aunt Amity's suicide. It's been years since they have been back there and the old mansion brings back memories. Their cousins Claimayne and Ariel are living at the mansion and they are not too happy that Amity apparently wrote a new testament one
Melissa McShane
A new Tim Powers novel is always cause for rejoicing around here, and this one was excellent. When the aunt who raised them commits suicide in a spectacular fashion, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned back to her mansion to stay for a week until the will (drawn up just before her death) is tested. But the cousins who still live at the mansion, Claimayne and Ariel, dont want them there, and a secret magic threatens to draw them back into its power. Still, how much can happen in a week?

Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Zedsdead by: It's Tim Powers.
A deteriorating, creepy old Hollywood mansion full of secrets. An old Hollywood family reunited due to the matriarch's dramatic suicide. A magical drug-like addiction that allows users to trade or share bodies, for a price. A loser brother and his even more losery sister are dropped into this and must solve the mysteries of their aunt's identity, their parents' disappearance, and a long lost film sought by multiple nefarious parties.

While it did become hard to put down toward the end, Medusa's
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another one-sitting read from the great Tim Powers.

I've been a fan since reading THE DRAWING OF THE DARK in 1980, and over the years since he's never failed to astonish and entertain me with his skill and imagination. This is no exception.

Medusa's Web initially sets itself up as a Gothic horror, with its rambling old house and disfunctional- and weird - family members, but Powers quickly spins things off into fractured time streams, plots within plots and a mystery dating back to 1920's
 Reading Reindeer

Reading any book by Tim Powers is to enter a universe of possibilities, where dimensions cross and probabilities intertwine. A universe of magic in the broadest scene, where anything within and beyond the range of thought is the universe which Mr. Powers' imagination populates. I first stumbled upon this author years ago when I discovered LAST CALL, and immediately was enrapt. Mr. Powers interweaves classical mythological strands and personages into consensus
Brendan Hodge
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Given the option I'd probably rate this at 3.5 stars. I'm a long time Tim Powers fan and I had this on pre-order for months. It delivers some of what we've come to expect in any Tim Powers novel: meticulously researched history re-imaged through a lens of magic. In this case, we have 1920s Hollywood and "spiders": strange geometric shapes which, when looked at, connect the viewer to other times and places, including other people who have looked at the same spider in the past. There are spider ...more
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm tempted to say something terribly cliche about Tim Powers being a national treasure, but a writer as audaciously _original_ as Powers does not deserve cliches. His ability to pick up seemingly-random threads of history and make them _make sense_ together, and relevant to the present, is unparalleled. His best books, like _Declare_ and the "Last Call"/Fisher-King trilogy, move the mind, the heart, and the aesthetic sense (whatever that is), equally.

_Medusa's Web_ can stand with these books
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the frisson
Recommended to Alan by: Tim, and Tim. And, of course, previous work
If any big city in the United States seems less likely to harbor ghosts than Los Angeles... well, no, that's not true, now that I think about it. So many hopes and dreams, both fulfilled and otherwise...L.A. must be full of ghosts, if such lingering imprints from life exist anywhere.

Tim Powers knows this. He knows Los Angeles intimately, its street corners and alleyways, its histories and moods, the way so much darkness hides beneath its sunny stuccoed exteriors. And in Medusa's Web, Powers
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A new a Tim Powers book is always a three-part pleasure. The first is initially reading the book. His contemporary novels are like walking through a darkened room filled with half recognized shapes. The room slowly lightens as you move through it faster and faster and then suddenly, you're there in the light.

The second is rereading the book. Now that all is clear, you can see where all the pieces inevitably fit together to make the whole. The third part is rereading the book in a few years when
Elle Maruska
Ok so I love Tim Powers. "Last Call" is one of my favorite books ever. Full-stop.

But I was impressed with this outing.

First off there was a lot here I liked. Powers is amazing at weaving (heh heh pun intended) these "secret histories," he's so good at making them feel real. It never seems reductive or ridiculous to run into famous figures in Powers' books. Of course Rudy Valentino was involved in mystical occult practices!! And that gift alone makes Powers' books worth reading.

But the
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
You know me, I'm a huge fan of Tim Powers and his books. This one is 4 stars not 5 just because I did struggle with the concept behind the spiders and how they interacted with the here and now and the past lives of the protagonists. I love the characters and wanted to slap Clamayne on several occasions! Tim has a seemingly effortless ability to create unusual situations that are set in the present and the past and in this case also the future - I'm sure he has to work hard at making it seem ...more
Eric Tanafon
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
It wouldn't be a Tim Powers book without strange entities, time and space anomalies, occult gangs, and both protagonists and villains facing addictions to experiences that are beyond human ken. Medusa's Web has all of these things. But the pacing is more sedate than usual for Powers, and he doesn't take advantage of multiple viewpoints as he did before. For one thing, in this story I didn't feel like the 'bad guy' characters were fleshed out at all, compared to say, Last Call or Expiration Date. ...more
Rich Rosell
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Power's time travel device/rules in Medusa's Web are pretty trippy, and the fact that he merges in a number of real life silent film actors/directors/films into the story arc is a bonus.

It took me a bit to get comfortable with Power's dialogue flow, and like any good time travel story there are confounding elements introduced early on that eventually fit perfectly as all of the strangeness comes together. Sort of.

Rick Davis
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
As always, Tim Powers is just the best. In this book, time travel, silent film era Hollywood, dysfunctional family relations, and creatures only vaguely hinted at in ancient Greek myth and Babylonian astrology come together in a gripping thriller.
This book is on Kindle for $6.49. Powers's books are usually pretty pricy, so if you wanna grab this one, now's the time. I've read worse things. ;)
nikkia neil
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Be prepared to suspense reality for a little while. I had to stop taking myself so serious, step back, and just enjoy a little paranormal drama for a little while.
Nick Duretta
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This tale of a brother and sister seeking to retain their inheritance by spending two weeks in their childhood home--a creepy, gothic estate in the Hollywood Hills--has its moments, but quickly falls into a hodgepodge of time travel to the Hollywood of the 1920s, endless chases through the labyrinthian streets of L.A., and a convoluted story of familial betrayal. At its core are 'spiders'--strange, intricate drawings that, when viewed, transport people into drug-like trips and hallucinations, ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-author, 2019
I don't recommend Tim Powers' books anymore (*cough* sorry Kat) but that doesn't mean I don't love and covet them. This book was f**ked up, and I wasn't sure what was going on for large parts of it, but I still loved it. Maybe a three star overall, but I had to throw in an extra star for creativity.
Lynn Williams
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Medusas Web is my first Tim Powers book but given that he seems to have the ability to combine great writing with fantastic imagination I dont think it will be my last. I really enjoyed Medusas Web. It has a wonderfully gothic horror feel to it and the writing style helps to lend it the feeling of an older book which is an aspect that I really enjoyed.

The story gets off to a great start with an almost movie feel to it. Picture this. Two people arrive at a
Dustin Saxton
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is a little confusing. Lots of visions within visions within visions. And at the end of the day, just not interesting enough to make you want to keep going. :(
Heather Tearney
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some very interesting ideas and plotting. A little challenging to keep things straight as you follow characters moving forward/backward in time in small glimpses and then returning to themselves in present day.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy_urban
I generally like Tim Powers works a LOT. His worlds are imaginative and inventive in a field that too often falls back into tired tropes. But I found this to be a weak work. The underlying premise was interesting but confusing. The characters were not sympathetic. The ending seemed forced. It might be worth a reread. If I do, I'll probably upgrade my rating.
Stewart Tame
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one of Powers' best books in quite some time, though even his lesser efforts are at least interesting. He seems to be at his best with books set in the present day, though I can think of at least two exceptions to that rule. In any case, I liked this novel better than his previous one, Hide Me Among the Graves.

Half the fun of a Tim Powers novel is figuring out how the system of magic works. He's very clever at figuring out new ways of accomplishing supernatural occurrences. In this book,
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a Tim Powers book, this has a very simple magic system. Its not really magic as described; its really dimensional or temporal. But all of the manifestations of magicghosts, remote viewing, seeing the past or futurestem from one thing, a mandala-like drawing of a spider.

Its also one of the best time travel stories Ive read; for the most part, if not completely, Powers manages to avoid contradicting the narrative despite the characters having a different progression through the narrative than
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tim Powers is the author of numerous novels, including Hide Me Among the Graves, Last Call, Declare, Three Days to Never, and On Stranger Tides, which inspired the feature film, Pirates of the Caribnbean: On Stranger Tides. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award twice, and the World Fantasy Award three times. He lives in San Bernardino, California. In Medusas Web, Powers has written a phantasmagoric, thrilling, mind-bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult ...more
Brian Rogers
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love me some Tim Powers. I'm learning that for my favorite authors I rate their books on a sliding scale with their best as a 5 and everything else in relation to that. Medusa's Web is no Declare, Last Call or Anubis Gates, but not being better than some of the best damn alternate historical fantasy ever is as far from a damning review. This is a really impressive book, clearly a follow up to Three Days to Never and Salvage and Demolition in its time travel in LA aspects but I liked it better ...more
The American Conservative
"The novels of dark fantasist Tim Powers often flow out of weird, grim moments in real history: the strange encounter of a fox and an English spy; the long lit matches burning in a bloodthirsty pirates beard. Powerss latest book, Medusas Web, got its start when Powers encountered one of these disturbing little bits of trivia: Rudolph Valentino received Last Rites twice. Why? To answer that question, Powers spins a tale of family secrets and Hollywood ghostsand an otherworldly, addictive ...more
Tim Poston
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What I particularly like about the 'spiders' is that they are too alien to be malevolent - though their interaction with humans is addictive and disastrous (possibly to them also). Most fantasy evils give human pain as much significance as humans do. This is flattering, but makes even Cthulhu serve the human ego.

The spiders are something else.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful first read and itching to start my first re-read (Tim Powers' books are invariably richer the second time through, or third or fourth...). Set in a neighborhood I know well, the sense of place and interesting time overlays --now, then, not now? alternate now? future now?-- tremendously fun read. Avoiding spoilers.
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Timothy Thomas Powers is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Powers has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels Last Call and Declare.

Most of Powers's novels are "secret histories": he uses actual, documented historical events featuring famous people, but shows another view of them in which occult or supernatural factors heavily influence the motivations

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