Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Chasing The Moon

by A. Lee Martinez

cover  

Have you ever had that lurching feeling of unease when you discover the world is stranger and more unknowable than you ever thought possible? When Diana moves into a new apartment she has that feeling constantly. Her new home comes with cheap rent, furnishings, free food, an indefinite lease and her ideal décor, but there's a catch. There's a voice coming from the closet, but she's forbidden from opening it on pain of death and she can't get out of the apartment unless she does.

Elsewhere Calvin, Lord of the Wilds, is gathering a kind of primal cult around himself. He's a blip in the universe, an immortal entity with impressive powers and poor sartorial skills. He regards his followers with indifference and barely-suppressed boredom. It takes his assistant, Sharon, to anchor him in the world at all. Sharon would like to date Calvin, but she's resigned to the idea that nothing can ever come of her desire. Besides, the cult are getting ready for something really big.

Diana's new apartment has invested her with certain powers, but she has trouble adjusting to her new sense of reality. Eldritch horrors are attracted to her and weirdness erupts all around like some kind of fast-forwarded plague. It's as though the ground she stands on is never solid, and sometimes it's not even in this universe. However it's a light kind of strangeness, and the monsters are much more in the style of Jim Henson than H. R. Giger. They have a tendency to be furry, chatty and safe rather than outright malicious. Diana is always disoriented. As more and more mysteries accumulate she's forced to question her sanity. The apartment block is run by a man called West, who spends most of his time trying to avert global disasters and keeping reality from falling to pieces. He's an enigma, and so are all the other inhabitants of the building. Is there any chance of romance between Diana and Chuck, the warden of apartment two? And why does West insist that she can't pet or feed the dog guarding Chuck's apartment?

Diana squares up to quite a few monsters, but the one that outmatches them all is Fenris, the creature that chases the moon. Should Fenris ever catch up with it the resulting cataclysm would tear the universe apart. There doesn't seem to be much anyone can do in the face of such an inevitable apocalypse, but Diana is the kind of person who won't be discouraged from trying to save the day.

The story builds up to an exciting cosmic battle, but there's also an entertaining juxtaposition throughout as life's more domestic concerns make their presence felt. New neighbours, relationship troubles, retail sales work and awkward social situations are at least as much of the novel's attraction as all the freaky universe-hopping monsters. Chasing the Moon is actually surprisingly deep, too. Diana ponders existence, the search for meaning and our place in the universe in between fighting to restore some sort of order to a reality that changes like a fashion victim with ADHD. Nevertheless the tone of the story is fun. It's rarely laugh-out-loud funny, but it's undeniably cheerful, madcap and cute.

8th June 2011

Book Details

Year: 2011

Categories: Books

  Fantasy
 
  Cheerful
  Female Protagonist  

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

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