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on 19 March 1999
This is a kind of tricky one - there were some great elements but some loss-of-nerve as well - it could have been better. I really loved "The Paper Grail" which is evidentally more the classic Blaylock - fantasy in a contemporary setting with engaging characters. This is a supernatural horror story with one of the greatest occult villains I've run across, but somehow Blaylock wimps out before delivering the level of terror the character calls for. The romance between the hero and heroine never develops the necessary depth either, though the characters are, as always, well drawn. 4 stars for characterization, 3 for atmosphere, 2 for story.
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on 17 August 1997
Winter Tides is another very, very good book by one of the best authors of this genre. The only real complaints I have about Blaylock are 1) I wish he wrote books faster so I could read more!, and 2) This particular book had a villain that was just totally unredeemable. I have always liked, in the past, that there was often an understandable side to the villains (The Last Coin, of course, is an exception). Even his very worse were at least mildly amusing. But this book is a lot darker than his others. I would not recommend it to my preteen, for sure. All of that aside, once again, we have a fine book with protagonists that are admirable. Blaylock seems to have a fundamental optimism that shines through his stories. We like that. The character Anne could be better drawn, but I liked Dave. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, or ghost stories. Still, though, our favorite Blaylock novels are Paper Grail, Magic Spectacles, the Disappearing Dwarf (and sequels). And, of course, The Digging Laviathan cannot be equalled. Still, read this new book! And Mr. Blaylock, please write more!!
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on 29 September 1997
James P Blaylock's books are always worth reading. More than that, they are worth buying. In hardcover. Winter Tides is no exception. A Blaylockian blend of fantasy and horror, destruction and redemption, Winter Tides invites the reader to join Dave Quinn as he tries to make sense out of the increasingly weird and creepy things that come home to roost at the theatrical warehouse where he works. And, in Edmund Dalton, a pure capitalist if ever there was one, Blaylock has created his most nasty bad guy yet. But this is no routine fantasy, no tossed-off suspense thriller. It is a welcome return to the skewed perspective of James P Blaylock. He is one of the very few writers who can make his characters seem familiar, not because we've met them before, but because we recognize their humanity as our own. We may never experience their adventures, but we get a glimpse of how we might act if we started seeing ghosts in the ocean mist. Buy this book. Read this book. Tell your friends about this book. Buy it for your friends. You will not be disappointed. Neither will your friends.
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