Thursday, May 6, 2010

Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco

It's not that I didn't like Unshapely Things, it's just that I never connected with it very deeply. I finished reading the book last night, but when I sat down to write this post I had to think just to recall the main character's name.

Connor Gray is a druid, a former bigwig in the Boston chapter of the Guild, which investigates crimes done by fairies, elves, and other fey. After an accident that lost him most of his magical powers, though, he's down on his luck and helping the Boston police on a freelance basis. The current investigation is of a string of murders of fairy prostitutes, murders that seem to be building to some kind of ritual that may be related to the Guild itself.

I had trouble figuring out the worldbuilding in the book, which I think was compounded by a certain lack of description in general. I never got a good idea of what Connor looked like, and I certainly never figured out why druid in this world is a separate species, not a job description. The fairies and elves didn't seem that much different from humans, either. Although Connor lives in a part of Boston dubbed the Weird because of all the fey residents, I never got a feeling of otherworldliness or strangeness.

The plot was interesting, though. I didn't guess the murderer, although I knew perfectly well who the murderer wasn't. Connor never figures that out, though, until the very end. Connor is pretty dumb. He walks into traps, sometimes even after he realizes this is probably a trap. How dumb can you get? I got very frustrated with him every time he followed a line of thinking that was glaringly wrong, which was much of the time. I found it hard to believe that he was ever a Guild investigator of any repute, even with lots of powers to draw on.

Connor also isn't a very sympathetic character, or maybe I just couldn't connect with him. I found him standoffish with everyone, including me-the-reader. Many of the minor characters are more interesting than he is, including Stinkwort the flit--think pixie--and one of Connor's former coworkers who helps him with some research. I might have liked the book better if it was about those two.

B&N link


Lertulo said...

Wait, did you just say "fairy prostitutes" ? I may have to read this one after all.

K.C. Shaw said...

They're boy fairies. But actually, I think you'd probably really like this one. If you're interested, I'll set it aside to give to you next time I see you (like you don't have enough books already).