Andy Love's Reviews > Tinker

Tinker by Wen Spencer
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M 50x66
's review
Apr 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction-fantasy

This is a very entertaining "hard fantasy" novel, taking place about 20 years after a Chinese experiment led to the swapping of Pittsburg with the equivalent landmass in Elfhome - a world much like Earth, but with elves and magic (there is some indication that this experiment took place in the 1980s, so that the book takes place in an alternate present). In the intervening years, a stable arrangement has been reached, in which Pittsburg spends one day a month in our world, and the rest of the month on Elfhome, allowing diplomatic and trade relations between the two worlds. Tinker, has grown up in Pittsburg, raised by a quirky (now-deceased) grandfather, to be a crackerjack inventor with skills both in mechanical devices (like the cars she repairs) and magical devices (which work on Earth as long as "magic" (a kind of fuel which Earth is inherently low on) is supplied). As the novel opens, a chance second encounter with an elf prince upsets Tinker's happy routine, leading to a series of Earth- and Elfhome-shaking events. Tinker is an appealing character even though she has some "Mary Sue" characteristics; her understandable ignorance of Earth and of the details of Elvish culture and an understandable lack of confidence counter her superhuman genius (the one characteristic that is undeniably Mary-Sueish is a bit of a spoiler (view spoiler)

One aspect of the novel I particularly like, is that the collision of Elvish and human culture seems to be producing a vibrant mixture, with elements of both proving valuable - I look forward to that being an important aspect of the sequel (which I am certain to read).

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