Edward Aubry, |
As Harrison Cody is driving to work on May 25, 2003, the cars, people and buildings around him suddenly begin to disappear rapidly, and are replaced by forest. Very soon, he is alone, and he stays alone for weeks, before meeting Glimmer, a pixie who swears like a sailor and likes to wear Barbie clothes. Yes, a pixie with wings and magical abilities.
Then, as Harrison is driving around, scrounging for food and other necessities, he picks up a broadcast from a disc jockey named Claudia, asking all survivors to come to Chicago. Harrison and Glimmer begin the trek from New England to Chicago, driving at first, and then traveling on foot.
Thus begins a wondrous and magical journey toward solving the mystery of what had happened to the world, and answering such questions as, "How many people are still alive?" "Where are all the other pixies?" "What caused the world to change?" "Can the world be changed back?" "Should it be changed back?" "If they do change the world again, what will be the cost?" The main characters (Harrison, Glimmer and a small band of new friends) end up traveling far in their quest for answers, discover much about each other and about themselves, and grow as people.
Author Edward Aubry does just about everything right in this book. The writing is crisp and technically very good, with very few editing errors. Despite going for 480 pages, slow spots are few, far between and brief. Word usage and phrasing are very good, albeit not as challenging or as rich as one finds in books like the near-poetic Davy by Edgar Pangborn or the excellent The Book of Names by newcomer D. Barkley Briggs.
The characters in Static Mayhem are not only described well, credible and three-dimensional, but they also evolve throughout the book. The prime example is the protagonist, Harrison, who is definitely a different person at the end of this tale, while remaining consistent with the starting personality.
There is no predictability in this highly creative and original plot. You need to throw predictability out the window and be ready for anything while reading this book. A talking dragon named Gustav, with an eastern European accent, is one of the lesser surprises to be found.
The author gives an ending that is also not predictable. I will not spoil it here, but I will say if you're thinking that either the world will return to what it was before 5/25/03 or it will stay the way it became that day, you will need to get more creative in generating possibilities. The ending is also not a Hollywood happily-ever-after conclusion, but more of a thought-provoking, shades-of-gray ending more in line with my favorite novel, Blue Road to Atlantis by Jay Nussbaum. Also, the ending is definite and not a set-up for a sequel. Another book could be set in this fictional universe with some of the same characters, but this particular story reaches a definite conclusion.
I look forward to Aubry's next book, Caprice.
book review by
4 December 2010
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