Available Dark Hardcover – 14 February 2012
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- Publisher : Minotaur Books (14 February 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 246 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312585942
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312585945
- Dimensions : 15.09 x 2.6 x 21.44 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
ELIZABETH HAND, a New York Times notable author, has written eight novels and
several short-story collections. She has won the Shirley Jackson Award, the James Tiptree
Award, the Nebula Award (twice), the World Fantasy Award (three times), and many others.
Her novella, "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon," was recently nominated for
a Hugo Award. Hand is a longtime contributor to numerous publications, including theWashington
Post Book World and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She divides her time between the coast of Maine and North London.
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Top reviews from other countries
Cass Neary is an unlikely and unlovable heroine. She's not really a heroine at all. Stuff just happens to her and she reacts numbly. But this could be overlooked in the first book.
The second book takes up right after the events of the first book. Out of the blue, Cass gets an offer to travel from New York to Helsinki to authenticate some photographs. For reasons I couldn't quite understand she flies almost immediately to Iceland. There, bad stuff happens, related to Norwegian black metal music and what amount to "snuff photographs".
The first book worked - for me - partly because it turned what one would think as an idyllic rural setting into a nightmare dreamscape. In this book, Hand goes to some lengths to tell us how alien and barren Iceland is. Well, duh.
I didn't like this. I got the feeling Hand had been told to write another book featuring Cass and she came up with a plot featuring photographs, black metal, Scandinavian mythology, blackmail and murder. It all felt too by-the-numbers for me. Disappointing. I'd been hoping for much more.
Hand's greatest strengths lie in her descriptive powers and her mastery of characterization. Her dialogue crackles, too. If she has a writerly weakness it may be in plotting. Don't get me wrong: the pages practically turn themselves. However, this novel has a few plot holes you could drive a truck through. If I had to guess, I'd say the author enjoys the process of creating specific atmospheres and tones more than she does navigating characters through action from point A to point B. Still, that is a minor criticism. The excellent writing allowed me to see past any weaknesses in plot or pacing. ONE WORD OF WARNING: this series is not for every mystery fan. Cass is as close to a true nihilist as you are likely to encounter in any but the most transgressive fiction. She is a compulsive liar, kleptomaniac, alcoholic, and drug addict. She screws people over routinely and seems to feel little to know remorse about it. At times it is hard to believe that we can follow her misadventures with any sympathy, yet somehow we do. That is another testament to the writing's strength. Readers with any religious inclinations might be turned off by the ceaselessly dark and pessimistic world view espoused here. For those with tough hides, though, I recommend you strap yourselves in and get ready for one heck of a wild ride.