Saturday, 28 September 2013

Review: Torrent

Torrent by Lindsay Buroker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent beginning to a new series from one of my favourite authors.

I enjoy nerdy, awkward characters, and we have an abundance of them here. The skinny Star Trek fan, the would-be Indiana Jones (complete with bullwhip, which turns out to be surprisingly useful), even the tennis star, sidelined by injury, whose awkwardness comes from having focussed so much on her sport that she doesn't know much about anything else. They're young, they're enthusiastic, they're curious to the point of incautious (more or less the Scooby Gang, complete with vanagon, though without any Great Danes), they're short of money, and when the chips are down they're determined and courageous. At least, the narrator, Delia, is. The other two are maybe a little less so, though they show potential.

As a big fan of the author's Emperor's Edge series, I couldn't help noticing similarities. Delia and Amaranthe (the protagonist of EE) both have emergent leadership qualities. The seeming magic in both series is mixed up with seeming aliens (it's not yet clear in this series whether it's really magic or they're really aliens, or both). There are hard-to-kill monsters and underwater caverns.

What's different is that this story is set in our contemporary world and told in first person. It's (broadly speaking) urban fantasy, rather than secondary-world steampunk fantasy. That's one of my personal favourite genres to read, more so than steampunk, if anything, and I thoroughly enjoyed this.

There were a few minor editing issues, but it's an improvement on the EE books in that respect, as well.

Lindsay Buroker is an experienced series author, and she does a good job of setting up some things to be resolved later (to keep us interested in reading the series), while also giving us a complete story with a resolution. She ties the characters together well, gives them clear, strong motivations and distinct personalities, and rubs those personalities together entertainingly.

I'm very much looking forward to more in this series.

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