Jan 272015
 

tim_powers_last_call_coverLast Call, by Tim Powers

Synopsis: A dark Gaiman-esque retelling of The Fischer King legend, mixed with Tarot mysticism and gambling, set in the early 1990s.

Book Review: An interesting tale. It kept my attention and moved quickly. It is filled with a delightful plethora of psychotics who are all demented in new and interesting ways, and you cheer when they finally meet their well-deserved doom. The creepiness of the story reminded me strongly of Stephen King, although I’ll admit I have actually read very little Stephen King, so that’s more of an impression than a statement of authority. I liked the treatment of alcoholism as well. Powers pulls in many aspects of many myths, creating a very rich mythical stew that is savory to read.

However, something about it felt lacking. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe because I’ve always thought gambling is dumb? Or because the particular myths Powers chose for this book don’t inform my upbringing, and so didn’t mean anything to me on an emotional level. Perhaps because I couldn’t figure out why the hell anyone would want to be the King in the first place. It comes with a truckload of shit, and not a single discernable benefit. Why no, I don’t care to needlessly complicate and endanger my life for no reward. The ending also fell flat, which was a bit disappointing with such a strong foundation. It builds and builds but doesn’t go anywhere. It’s a fine book, but I didn’t get anything out of it, so… Not Recommended.

Book Club Review: A pretty good book for book clubs. It reads fast and there’s a lot to like. Due to the previously-mentioned deep mythological roots there will be a lot to discuss if one or more people in the group are well-versed in those myths, or English Lit generally. We kept talking for quite a while, and went over time. Certainly no one disliked it. If you have other options I’d suggest keeping this one at the back of the list, but you could do a lot worse. Mildly Recommended.

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