Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Storykiller

The monster under the bed is real.

In fact, all the monsters are real, as well as the heroes and everything in between because all Fiction is real and exists in a dimension called Story. However, plenty of them hang out in the Mortal world, living both innocent and nefarious lives. This might not mean much to the average Mortal unaware of the Fictional characters living among them, but for The Last Scion--the only Mortal that can kill those Fictional characters--things are about to become very complicated.

Tessa Battle is that Mortal.

Upon her return to Lore, Oregon after years bouncing around boarding schools in Europe, Tessa had her sights set on simple things like shoe shopping, finding a hot boyfriend, and eating as many pancakes as humanely possible. However, the Last Scion mantle Tessa just got saddled with is not making any of that easy, and as Tessa and her new friends are about to learn, Story is long from done with her, no matter how much she'd like to deny her destiny.

With more than one monster chasing her and questionable characters like The Snow Queen and Robin Hood as her allies, Tessa is going to need all the superpowers she inherited just to stay alive.

And maybe, just maybe, it's a GOOD thing that behind her back, Stories call her THE STORYKILLER

Fight Your Fiction. In a world filled with adaptations I adore ( Fables, Once Upon a Time, The Eyre Affair series) it can be a bit hard to write another version that doesn't smack of familiarity. Thompson does it like gangbusters though and man what a trip.

Brand and I need to discuss his semi-annoying habit of screeching all his panicked worries though.

Thompson, who some of you may remember as the author of the omg fabulous i love this book THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING in 2012, comes back with another stellar example of what potential self-pubbed authors should aspire towards.  Funded once more by Kickstarter, Thompson plays with fairy tales and fiction instead of superheroes this time around giving us all a chance to see how well (or not so well) Fictionals turn out in real life.  

Getting the obvious out of the way--yeah if you enjoy the Buffy the Vampire Slayer type of urban fantasy (snarky out of the box thinking heroine, unreasonably hot guys providing assistance, geeky best friends who provide support/back up) then there's every expectation that you will enjoy this.  Moving beyond that, fans of fiction coming to life with unexpected results will enjoy this as well.  Or fans of action oriented heroines who DO use their brains.

Tessa won me over pretty quickly.  Her take no shit attitude coupled with her very realistic response to suddenly having powers and a destiny and expectations foisted upon her endeared her to me instantly.  Micah's sensible "give her space" approach was also a welcome relief, especially as Brand more or less was an excited jumpy puppy from the get go.  As I mentioned earlier, he had a habit of screeching his panic, which very quickly became annoying. 

As for the Fictionals we have the Snow Queen (from the self-named fairy tale), who's annoyance at being dragged into the "Scion's" life and battles is palatable throughout.  Robin Hood, who's brought in as Tessa's fighting coach and is one of two people who benefits the most by fighting his "fiction".  Fenris--aka the Big Bad Wolf--who I don't care how shady the guy is, name him Fenris and make him a wolf in human form and I will love him.  End of story.  Then there's a few I can't name for spoilers, but let's just say its not just Fairy Tale Fictionals running around in the town of Lore mmkay?

There's an insta-love just add hormones romance, but Thompson endeavors to show that Tessa doesn't just let herself be ruled by those hormones.  As she learns more about Fictionals and what they can (and can't) possibly do, she does step back and say "Wait. How real is this thing I'm feeling?" I will admit that through that romance a lot of interesting concepts are brought up (moreso then the secondary character's plight, who much like Robin is trying to fight their narrative, but we see less of that struggle).  Thompson explores how the evolving landscape of fairy tales and fiction over the centuries can both inhibit a character and offer them flexibility.  Also the whole "can a person really change" concept is very much present for various different scenarios (good and bad).

I will admit that this is less self-contained then TGWWBK was.  TGWWBK very clearly was an "ending" to a chapter in Bonnie's (and Lola's) life.  The epilogue ad the sneak peak aside, a reader could finish TGWWBK and feel like they got a whole story.  STORYKILLER however ends with a lot of loose ends floating around.  Not just for Tessa, but in regards to Micah, Brand, Fenris...heck even Tessa's parents.  The phrase "Plots within Plots" certainly sums up some of the storylines.

This isn't a problem for me, as I happily will hand over my bank account information to Thompson as long as she promises to keep writing, but its important to keep in mind so you're not shocked at the end when everyone is still alive and not dead by rocks.

And oh yeah, Batman is totally real.  And awesome (or so Aladdin claims).