Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lions and Tigers and...

During class on Friday, we were discussing the differences between Dead Witch Walking and The Devil You Know regarding each book’s population of “fantastic” creatures. I will admit that when I began reading Dead Witch Walking, the sheer number of different species, from witches to leprechauns to pixies and so forth was a little overwhelming. Within the first few pages all of these different creature types are thrown at the reader and I found myself seriously hesitating to emerge myself in the story and world that Harrison has created. It just seemed like too much to accept; too much fantasy. However, reading on I found that the multitude of creature-types fit well with the story and are even almost necessary to make the world and the narrative work. The Devil You Know, on the other hand is essentially a ghost story, and ghosts can stand on there own, as can zombies and vampires. The trick is having more than one creature-type and making it work. As soon as a werewolf enters The Devil You Know, the reader is on the lookout for vampires, goblins, giant marshmallow men, and whatever else. Even though Carey does a good job of tying the loup-garou in with the whole animal soul thing, it still makes for an unsettling combination: “There’s ghosts and demons here, and some werewolves.” You can obviously tell a story about Santa Clause, but tell a story about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy and the reader will expect to see the Easter Bunny as well. Harrison throws in just about everything, and due to the story, it works. But even now, although The Devil You Know has been my favorite book we’ve read so far, the combination of creatures feels like its missing something…

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