Friday, July 14, 2017

Gingerbread Wolves: The Non-Spoilery Discussion

The Book of Lost Doors wraps up with one heck of a bang.  Misha sticks the landing.  The American judge gives him a 9.5!

There's not much to say about it that won't detract from your own enjoyment of the series.  Misha Burnett gives you the slowest of burns with this series, but that slow burn is a lit fuse burning its way to a great big powder keg.  In this final Misha puts a fresh, modern take on some old ideas that normally done so ham fistedly that a reader can be forgiven for a twinge of trepidation heading into that final confrontation.

What I can talk about without spoiling anything is Misha's writing.  He reminds me of Steven King without the bleak, broken on the inside, point of view.  Now, some people claim that King's writing horror fiction and so he necessarily will write about broken and vulnerable people.  Hogwash, I say.  Watching sympathetic characters struggle against the long, dark, uncaring universe detracts from the suspense.  You care less about characters you don't like, and characters you don't like describes almost all of King's characters.

Misha's a good guy and a good pal of mine.  Steven King is an ass that doesn't like my kind of people and won't shut about it.  So I'm necessarily going to be biased here, but...well, let's just rip off the bandage.  Misha is a better writer than King.

There.  I said it.  I stand by it.

They both focus mainly on the people and relationships.  The weird monsters and existential threats are icing.  They both spend as much time dealing with how the bizarre situations in the story affect the relationships between the characters.  They are both enormously creative. 

Where they differ is that reading Burnett's books doesn't leave you with that gross feeling of having just walked out of a porno theater.  You don't feel depressed and vaguely queasy and like you could use a good shower.  You don't put down a Burnett book and .

Burnett also doesn't have great openings, solid mid-sections, and then completely drop the ball in the end.  There are no "hand of god nukes Vegas" or "a gang bang with 11 year olds saves the day" or "the devil closes up shop after having spent a week wrecking a small town" or "the dimensional portal in the trunk of the car just stops working one day, like they do".  Burnett doesn't cop out - he gives you exactly what he prepared you for the whole time, with every action made by the protagonists being important, even little ones that didn't make sense at the time.  What you get is an epic confrontation with a satisfying resolution that leaves you sated and yet ready for more.

Really, the only comparison where Burnett comes up short is in the number of zero at the end of his savings account balance.

I'm done with King, but I'm just getting started with Burnett.

I can also talk about this:  If you're going to read this series, you have to read the whole thing or stop after catskinner's book.  That first volume is a nice, tight adventure yarn in which the, er, hero...finds peace and contentment with the, er, girl...he loves.  That's a nice ending.  You can quit there.  You'll have a few loose threads dangling and mysteries unresolved, but nothing too major, and a few of those mysteries don't ever get resolved, so seeing the series through to the end won't help you with those.

If you decide to move on after catskinner's book, trust Misha.  The next two books are just as well written, but the destination for James and his "if only he was imaginary" friend is a lot less clear than it was in the first volume.  Volumes two and three introduce new characters, new threats, and a lot more complexity.  James growing list of friends and responsibilities draws him into ever increasing dangers and puts him at odds with ever increasing threats.  They make fine individual chapters in the saga, but it's clear that their real purpose is to set up all of the dominoes for the last stage toppling, and that last topple is a real humdinger.


  1. Hearing about the kiddie gangbang cured me of any desire to ever read IT. Utterly demented.

    I need to check out Misha's books.

  2. Give "In The Gloaming, O My Darling" a shot first. (It's in Cirsova 5.) If you can dig on that, you'll really like the rest of his work.

  3. Thank you, Jon. I didn't realize that this was the last book until several months after I finished it. I tried to write a number 5 several times, but eventually I realized that I didn't really have anywhere to go with it.

    So it's good to see you say that I ended at the right place.

  4. I love King, but I'm also a big fan of Misha. You can trust him to write a great story.