Sunday, February 04, 2007

Not the best

So I finished Tim Power's Stress of Her Regard and it wasn't easy. I love Powers but if he has an Achilles Heel, it is that he stuffs too many ideas into his books. The basic story of the book is about people entangled with vampires. In this book, vampires have been on earth longer than people but are dormant. By placing a ring on a statue, an unfortunate doctor "marries" one of the vampires. Upside, eternal life. Downside, the jealous vampires kill everyone else that loves you. Our poor doctor flees England and becomes involved with the similarly afflicted Shelley and Byron. And then lots of other things happen that could have been related in 75% of the pages. There are lots of cool details in those many pages, including a nasty interlude where the doctor, having given up on life, has loaned himself to blood drinking "neffers," mortals who seek contact with the vampire world. And we learn that the fate of the Hapsburg empire is tied to the vampire vs. human conflict. Among other things.

The bummer is, I liked the story but I don't think I recommend the book. This is an early Powers novel and over the years he became more adept in cramming in detail without overburdening the story. Try Declare which remains one of my favorite scifi books.

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