Mar. 14th, 2017

marlowe1: (high school reunion)
26. The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Claire - When I asked Holly Black to sign this book she asked if I had read it yet and I said no. Her response was "Good, I haven't pissed you off yet" and that does become a component in this book. It's not like when Rowling killed off Sirius Black and everyone was surprised that Dumbledore survived book 5. There is a shock ending and it equals the death of the best friend in Holly's first book Tithe for emotional impact.

Beyond that, this series is still too much like Harry Potter not to make the comparisons but again that seems to be on purpose as Black and Claire appear to be trying to make something that reminds the reader of Potter but in the way that they want it. You have the magic school, the three friends, the personal drama, the background of the great war that happened before the character was born and there's even the soul of the great enemy that is somehow stuck in the protagonist.

But in every way it veers away from the Harry Potter universe. First, there are no hints about the great dead enemy being part of the protagonist. He's in there and in fact, the protagonist doesn't even necessarily have his own soul. Second, there is a lot of discussion over what the war meant. In the Potter universe, the Slytherin snobs wanted to take over everything and kill all the half-blood people. That's pretty damn evil no matter where you are from. This world is about a chaos magician (there aren't many of them) who declared himself the Enemy of Death and started making zombies. The internal monologues of the protagonist are full of arguments for and against this Enemy of Death whose initial purpose was a good one. He wanted to bring his brother back from the dead. In that he becomes more of a pitiful figure than a Voldemort.

There is also a mystery and a spy and a lot of discussion about what the elementals are doing in the basement and why they are fueling the power of the magicians. It's a truly disturbing read and also great fun.

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Tim Lieder

September 2017

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