Brilliant but flawed,
This review is from: Bone Song (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Hardcover)
I loved the world of Bone Song - a mixture of dark (VERY dark) detective fiction with a world of horror, where the city is powered by necro-flux generated from the bones of the dead, technology is replaced by bound wraiths operating lifts or guarding doors, and zombies and deathwolves abound.
This is the story of Donal, a policeman who is assigned to protect a visiting opera singer; other performers have died at the hands, as it becomes clear, of a ghoulish conspiracy that wants to repurpose their bones. Of course, there is more to it than that and Not All Is What It Seems. Who can you trust?
Meaney shows great investiveness in creating his alternate Earth and populating it and the whole thing is very convincing both in tone and in how the details work together. Having just read his Ragnorok trilogu, I was intrigued to see some of the same devices used there in this earlier book - such as the "person-and-vehicle" compound or the trick of using pseudo-code to describe a character's mind. The deep knowledge of martial arts is there too, informing the various fights (and there are quite a few).
The story is generally well plotted, with a dramatic conclusion which makes sense in story terms, given the weird universe we're in it would have been very easy to finish things off with a bit of mystical jargon, but Meaney doesn't. It is a book I enjoyed. So, why do I think it's flawed? That is because (watch out - spoilers ahead!) for most of the central section of the book, we see capable, experienced members of a police team behave like idiots. To set up the ending, it's necessary that a member, or members, of the team, turn against Donal, assuming he's a spy. But instead of mentioning this to the boss, and clearing the air, they jump to conclusions, ignoring all the evidence they have. It's hard to express how annoying I found this. That I kept reading is a testament though to the sheer pace of the story and the consistency and credibility of the setting: I think it's ironic that the fantastical setting works while the behaviour of the characters doesn't.
But there you go - well worth reading anyway.