Sunday, February 08, 2015

Review: Indexing

Indexing is Seanan McGuire's novel about fairy tales gone amuck. It was originally sold as a serial and the structure of the novel reflects it. McGuire's also written novels by the name of Mira Grant, one of whom (Feed) I've previously reviewed as a mediocre novel.

The premise behind Indexing is that fairy tales (known as narratives) have a power all of their own, and once they get started and locked into the persons involved, will make their way to the end, uncaring and leaving dead bodies (or sleeping bodies) in their wake all in service of the story. Hence there's a secret government agency formed around finding narratives and stopping them in their tracks.

The net effect of this is as though you have the Cthulhu mythos replaced with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, etc. The premise is interesting, but McGuire does a lot less with the premise than you might expect. Each episode revolves around one particular archetype, and in itself seems to be ok, but the overarching story linking them all is weak, as is the character development. Everyone lives up to their stereotype.

The result is disappointing: you keep reading hoping for the author to deliver a grand plot that was hinted at, only to discover something pretty prosaic. Read Fables instead.
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