Friday, December 05, 2014

Review: Hide Me Among The Graves

Hide Me Among The Graves is Tim Powers' sequel to the superb The Stress of Her Regard. While the latter featured Byron, Keats, and Shelley, this novel features the much lesser known Rossettis (Christina, William, Dante, and Maria), Algernon Swinburne, and Edward John Trelawny. The novel shares but two characters with its prequel, John Crawford, who plays only a minor part in that novel, and John Polidori, who acts as a major villain in this one.

The structure of the novel is broken into 3 parts. In the first part, we are introduced to the Rossettis, Crawford, and Susan McKee. Crawford and McKee flee from the Nephilim early on in the novel and have a daughter together, who becomes the subject of John Polidori's attention. The first portion ends with Crawford and the Rossettis figuring out what they're up against, while seemingly failing to rescue Crawford's daughter.

The second part focuses on the characters' attempt to flee the attention on the Nephilim and seemingly succeeding, while the last focuses on their final fight.

While the premise and the delightful interposition of poetry in the text is lovely, this novel doesn't introduce anything new over the prior. Worse, while the characters in The Stress of Her Regard are active and the climax of that novel revolves around a plot to escape the clutches of the Nephilim, too much of Hide Me Among The Graves feels a lot like deus ex machina, with the characters escaping death for instance only by accident.

As such, Hide Me Among The Graves is a lot weaker as a novel and a lot less compelling a read than The Stress of Her Regard. Not a complete waste of time, but definitely disappointing.

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