Saturday, March 31, 2007

Snake Agent & The Demon & The City - Liz Williams

This might be cheating, lumping the two books together, but my thoughts on each are pretty much the same.

Williams has created a very tasty work, set in future Singapore Three, in which technology has eased the communication between Hell and Heaven, and people such as Detective Inspector Chen exist to investigate crimes of the celestial sort. It's a textured world, full of flavour, and left me with severe cravings for congee and noodles.

In Snake Agent, Chen is called in to investigate some soul-smuggling, runs into the demon Zhu Izrh (who is terribly easy to crush on), and generally discovers that Terrible Things Are Afoot In Hell, and must save the day.

In The Demon and The City, Zhu Irzh is not requested to investigate the murder of a socialite, but does so anyway, and eventually he and Chen uncover a plot that will shake the earth, Heaven and Hell, and must save the day. Again. Clearly they don't get paid enough.

Both books are brilliant, juicy, cop stories, with characters that I just adore (I have a great fondness for the badger-teakettle), and I can't help feel sorry for everything Singapore gets put through.

That said, I found that both books started as one thing, and transformed greatly, ending as an almost entirely different book. This in itself wasn't a problem, except that I didn't get a feel that the transition was acknowledged, when reading the final pages. What happened to so and so, and what about such and such? Life doesn't tend to tie itself up in neat little packages, but I like some balance in my books.

Also....damn, most beautiful covers EVAH.

There's a third book in the works, and I will most definitely be acquiring it. You know how it is. Find a food you like; eat it.

Verdict: Well worth checking out, especially if you'd like a taste of something different.

(I know these write ups are short and crappy. I am hungover and have a sore throat. Just think of all the whinging I'm NOT doing.)


  1. Anonymous31/3/07 09:18

    Y'know, that almost kinda looks like an actual half-smile (f'real!) on the Tess's face. There is definite curlage going on at one end of the mouth! :)
    Someone tell me I'm not imagining things here?

  2. Slander! You'll ruin my tough and rugged reputation!

  3. She is! I see it! I think it's because she's got a crush on a demon, and she's hoping to find her very own badger-teakettle.

    I read both of those books (remember at Worldcon when I was fussing because Night Shade didn't have copies of Demon for sale yet?), and thought of you in every badger scene.

    In fact, I think badger = Tessa. Universal constant or sumfin.

  4. Yeah, I gave Jeremy grief about not having Demon as well, being it was one of two books I was really, really, really intent on bringing home.

    And I believe only smarchers of a certain time period associate me with badgers.

    You're speshul. ;p