Monday, March 31, 2008

Book Review: Trial of Flowers by Jay Lake

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite sized book reviews.

Despite having read two Jay Lake novels (Rocket Science and Mainspring), they didn't prepare me for Trial of Flowers. This is an entirely different animal from the other books I mentioned as right from the outset, you're hit with stylistic language, a complex tapestry of characters and plot, and most importantly, a flat-out weirdness and originality that tends to be missing from several mainstream fantasy novels. Lake juggles several characters, each with their own level of depravity, yet these are the characters you're rooting for and sympathizing with. The setting, the City Imperishable, is quite distinct with its unconventionality: factions of boxed dwarfs, crossbow-wielding clown guards, and mysterious edicts such as the so-called Trial of Flowers. Each "chapter" (the book has no chapters but rather it is divided according to point of view) is a compelling page-turner that leaves sophisticated readers wanting more. To a certain extent, Trial of Flowers can be overwhelming for new readers but personally, I do enjoy the style and the technique that Lake employs all throughout. This is easily Lake's New Weird book and if you're looking to try out something fresh, I recommend Trial of Flowers.

Rating: 4/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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