ursula: (icosahedron)
Ursula ([personal profile] ursula) wrote2014-08-06 08:01 pm
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recent reading

Justice Calling, an urban fantasy novella by Annie Bellet. This is new-style urban fantasy, with shapeshifters and hot guys (albeit, in this case, not much of an urb: it's set in a fictional small town in Idaho). The sensibility is television-istic: fast pace, witty banter, tragic backstories, and a general tendency to prioritize things that look cool over things that make sense.

An innovative conceit sets this story apart from others in its genre: the heroine uses modern fantasy and science fiction, particularly Dungeons and Dragons, as a frame for understanding her innate magical powers. This is an excuse for lots of nerdy references-- Annie's an old friend, and at times I felt like we were kicking back and reminiscing about campaigns gone by-- but it also makes a lot of sense. Why would someone resort to paging through old tomes, when there are so many ideas about magic readily available?

The conceit makes for some interesting problem-solving on the heroine's part (a Dune reference plays a crucial role in the big showdown, for example). It also offers endless opportunities for readerly metagaming (why hasn't Jade heard of Locate Person?) I want this book to have a fandom so I can argue about it.