Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review - Paul Magrs' The Bride That Time Forgot

The Bride That Time Forgot (Brenda and Effie Book 5) by Paul Magrs
Book Provided by Headline Publishing
Published by: Headline Publishing
Publication Date: 2010
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Rating: ★★★
To Buy
Even in Whitby Brenda's life might be going to the bad. Sure there have been dangers before, but they've always found a way to have a punch up and be victorious. The return of Effie's fancy man Alucard might be the turning point. Because Brenda may be in denial about what this once and possibly still evil vampire has done to her best friend. She doesn't want to go accusing Alucard of turning Effie unless she is certain, and she sure doesn't want to be certain. Yet, there is no way of denying that the vampire population in Whitby is on the rise... which brings Henry Cleavis back into Brenda's life. Brenda sure does have her trouble with men, either they're monsters, like her MIA husband, or monster hunters, like Henry.

If vampirism wasn't enough, there is a new bookshop in town, The Spooky Finger, run by an odd lady, Marjorie Staynes, who doesn't quite get that a book club should have a broad range of reading material, and instead focuses on the works of Mrs. Beatrice Mapp, an Edwardian writer, who placed the majority of her work in the fictional land of Qab, where men are subservient to women, which is the main draw for the book club. But the name Beatrice Mapp sparks something in Brenda's mind... what is her personal connection to Beatrice, and, on a side note, Marjorie's assistant and Robert's new plaything, Gila, looks suspicious like the subservient lizard race of Qab. Could Qab be real? Before long there are vampire attacks and portals to other places with tears in the very fabric of time, yet the strangest thing that happens is that Brenda willingly, if begrudgingly, takes the help of Mrs. Claus. Maybe that is the first sign that it's the end of days?

Qab. That land before time of garish colors where Jane Fonda from Barbarella wouldn't be incongruous. Qab was interesting, as was the Professor Challenger "Lost World" vibe. Yet, it felt wrong somehow. Spending so much time and energy on a place that's not the Whitby I know and love. This really pushed the series, not in a different way, but in a direction that, while logical, I wasn't that keen on embracing. My brother was always the "Land of the Lost" person in the family. He had the bad eighties posters of dinosaurs with mauve skies that would make your eyes water. I was never into this prehistoric or postapocalyptic man-eating Eden. Also, not to mention my nightmares of dinosaur dioramas from the Milwaukee County Museum, this volume just didn't grab me. We had just another creative medium that creates a vortex, like the previous installment and the film, Get They Inside Me, Satan. Personally, if I had to chose, a film would be a better vortex of evil than a book any day...

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book and there where aspects that I loved. Effie finally going to the bad after all the hints and intimations, a book club that is really a cult. Because truly, if you think about it, I spent years trying to find a book club, and they're hard to break into, so, really, they are very much like a cult. I give Penny big props for getting on the inside, even if sometimes she started to believe the retoric. Mrs. Mapp and Bloomsbury! Adored this! I love that how Brenda describes Mrs. Mapp's writing, or more truthfully, her channeling of Qab. I knew something was up with her writing style, it was too much like Automatic Writing, where the writing is "produced from a subconscious, and/or external and/or spiritual source without conscious awareness of the content." I have always found Automatic Writing fascinating, and to have it in this book made me a little giddy, if truth be told. There where a few things that where left open ended, which I hope will be handled in the next book, mainly, the Limbosine and what happened to Leena.

Finally onto the nit picky. The switch back to first-person narrative was a bit jarring. It's not like this series hasn't utilized it, but since the third book we've been in third-person narration which made sense considering the expanding cast of characters and certain events that made Brenda unable to continue the narration herself. Here it seems to be occasionally forcing the narrative back on Brenda or Effie in her letters to Alucard, so that all news and events must filter through them and it's kind of awkward. Even more awkward is the fact that the book doesn't stay in first-person, but jumps back to third-person or vice versa, sometimes in the same chapter. The really really long chapters. I like third-person, it works for these books, even if we lose Brenda's voice, her voice is so strong now it can survive the change over from first-person.


Newer Post Older Post Home