- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (Dec 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312855451
- ISBN-13: 978-0312855451
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.7 x 2.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,062,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A very fine book.
" 'You'll regret it,' he looked up smiling. 'This isn't a threat. I won't _make_ you regret it.' " This was the line that told me that, at last, I was reading something worthwhile. Something that transcends cliches. Something that is humane and believable. Ford's writing is fresh and clean - any faults are its own, not inherent to the age-old cliche. As in many other books, the young hero isn't an especially good dancer - but where else have you NOT read long scenes of the hero's agonizing embarassment at that fact?
However, I have to agree with the reviewer m-fitz about the fact that the various parts of the book just don't seem to add up. The Levee, tribal and elfin magic, Vamps, Loop Garous, Shadow Cabinet secret police and the Shadow itself are intensely interesting ideas, but Ford barely elaborates on them. The book is mum about its most fascinating aspects just when we want to know more.
"The Last Hot Time" has moments of almost magic realism. While reading about Danny's quarters in Patrise's mansion, I could actually relax in my hard, rigid reading chair. The reader is IMMERSED into the words.
Unfortunately, there are many, many moments where the author loses the reader. The characters are too many, and introduced too quickly, to be remembered as individuals. Even at the end I was having difficulty telling Shaker and Alvah apart. After page fifty or so the book begins losing steam - the scenes at La Mirada and at Patrise's mansion are so similar they seem to be re-writes of each other, and so frequent that those two locations seem to be the only ones in the book (however interesting locations they may be). There are many scenes in which the characters half-guess what the other is going to say - but the reader doesn't. Anyone who can understand a single "Contrarian Flow" column will receive a big thanks from me. Lastly, the characters seem almost too mellow at times (while Danny is performing an autopsy, Stagger Lee brings him a mug of coffee - but what coffee it is!).
Ford is very whimsical in assembling the setting: we have mentions of "wire-wheeled cars" alongside "electric folk" music and "spaceship controls." Roaring-twenties fantasy-punk is an excellent sub-genre, and I hope more authors take advantage of it. Ford has done an amazing amount of research, and the book is peppered with information that rings true - history, medical trivia, fine art, etc.
This is one of those books I hope more people read - it has such promise I want someone to fall in love with it. "The Last Hot Time" is original, intense, and complex, and warrants an immediate re-read - something I wasn't too enthusiastic about.
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