A Night in Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

March 12, 2006 at 12:00 am | Posted in 4 stars, Book Reviews, Fantasy | Leave a comment
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Roger Zelazny is probably best known for his Amber series, which are kind of lightweight adventure fantasy stories. His best work (in my opinion, of course) is Lord of Light, where he tells a more sober story with a lot of mythic and religious elements. A Night in Lonesome October is something of a hybrid between the two. It takes the lightweight style of Amber and the mythic elements from Lord of Light…although here the myths are popular myths of vampires, werewolves, and Elder Gods. Well, I’m not sure if Lovecraft is popular, but you get the picture.

There is good and bad in this combination. The good news is Zelazny is almost without peer when it comes to writing light intrigue. The plot involves a lot of maneuvering through a somewhat tangled web of alliances and plots as various supernatural entities cooperate and compete in an attempt to open (or close, as the case may be) a gate that will allow Cthulhu and friends to return to the Earth. Zelazny doesn’t make it so complicated it becomes confusing and the narrator…the familiar of one of the participants…is very engaging. The downside is the book is ultimately no more than a confection. There’s no deeper meaning here, it’s just a fun ride. There’s not even any real tension, because even though the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, the characters themselves don’t seem to be all that concerned. Oh, they occasionally allude to the seriousness of the situation, but they don’t seem to be losing any sleep over it. And since the characters aren’t tense, the reader isn’t either.

There’s no law that says every book has to have Deep, Important Thoughts or even Spine-Wrenching Tension and for what it is this is a very good book. It’s even a quick read, by modern standards. Recommended to those who enjoyed Amber or who like the sound of a light hearted supernatural romp.

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