Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jul 25, 2007

A Nameless Witch

This is the first book I've read by A. Lee Martinez, so I couldn't tell if some of the content of the book was intended to be referential. In any case, I don't think it matters too much.

This moderately humorous novel is about a young woman, cursed to be one of the undead since birth, who is taken from her family by a horrible old witch. Given, since her family was keeping her prisoner in the basement, this is actually an improvement. The witch wants to train the young lady as her successor, but the older woman is dissapointed because her acquisition is far too pretty to be a witch. It seems the young lady is cursed to be one of those undead that lures men into bed with irresistable visions of carnality and then devours them.

Then the witch is killed rather horribly. The rest of the novel is the young undead witch's journey to Find Herself, which the author does acknowledge is a fantasy cliche so it's not as bad as it might have been. She encounters humans, likes them, and finds she also has an unfortunate desire to eat them. This isn't so bad until she meets the White Knight and discovers herself nearly paralyzed by her conflicting desires.

I think the novel is meant to be quite funny, unfortunately I found most of the humorous elements fell flat. Note to authors: just because something is egregiously weird does not, in and of itself, make it funny. A duck that is inhabited by a bloodthirsty demon is not inherently amusing. There has to be another aspect to the joke. This may be an application of Scott Adams' "two of six" rule.

The story is cute and enjoyable, and has a simple theme: an imperfect reality is better than a perfect illusion. The frequent references to cannibalism are a little stomach-turning, though, and kills the romantic fantasy just a wee bit. Overall I give it a thumbs-up.

Rating: 3.0


A. Lee Martinez said...

Hi. A. Lee Martinez here. Just came across your review of A NAMELESS WITCH, and just would like to chime in. Thanks for the review, first of all, and the recommendation.

I don't really disagree with your review. My only comment I'd like to make is that WITCH isn't supposed to be "quite funny." It's got some amusing moments, but it's not meant to make you laugh out loud. If you smile at some of the odd bits, then that was all I was going for. For the record, Newt the demon duck isn't meant to make you laugh yourself silly. He's just an odd duck, excuse the pun.

I know I've been labeled as a "funny" writer. Can't really get around it. But just wanted to say that I agree that WITCH isn't particularly hilarious.

Jennifer Snow said...

You're the second author to show up recently on my blog and leave a comment on a review. My Google rating must be going up or something. I felt kind of bad for Joel Rosenberg because I panned his book--his books are not to my taste and I rate on my taste for the most part.

I wonder sometimes who makes these decisions about whether an author is "humorous" or whatever. Apparently someone with no imagination.