Medusas Web review Ê 3

review Medusas Web

Medusas Web review Ê 3 Ñ From the award winning author of Hide Me Among the Graves Last Call Declare and Three Days to Never a phantasmagoric thrilling mind bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult secrets of 1920s Hollywood to save his familyIn the wake of their Aunt Amity’s suicide Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned toThe childhood home they once shared While Scott desperately wants to go back to their shabby South of Sunset lives he cannot pry his sister away from this haunted “House of Usher in the Hollywood Hills” that is a conduit for the supernaturalDecorated by bits salvaged from old hotels and movie sets Caveat hides a dark family secret that stretches back to the golden days of Rudolph Valentino and the silent film stars A collection of hypnotic eight limbed abstract images inked on paper allows the Maddens to briefly fragment and flatten time to transport themsel. Another one sitting read from the great Tim Powers I've been a fan since reading THE DRAWING OF THE DARK in 1980 and over the years since he's never failed to astonish and entertain me with his skill and imagination This is no exceptionMedusa's Web initially sets itself up as a Gothic horror with its rambling old house and disfunctional and weird family members but Powers uickly spins things off into fractured time streams plots within plots and a mystery dating back to 1920's Hollywood A word of warning though if you're an arachnophobe it's probably best to avoid this one as there are spiders here that'll haunt your dreamsAs ever it's all heady stuff from Powers There were a couple of places where I felt the complications of the mythos he built and the amount of exposition needed to keep the plot going was in danger of bringing the whole thing crashing down but Powers is a master juggler and keeps all the balls in the air just long enough to speed us along to the finale A very enjoyable way to spend the day

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From the award winning author of Hide Me Among the Graves Last Call Declare and Three Days to Never a phantasmagoric thrilling mind bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult secrets of 1920s Hollywood to save his familyIn the wake of their Aunt Amity’s suicide Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat the eerie decaying mansion in the Hollywood hills in which they were raised But their decadent and reclusive cousins the malicious wheelchair bound Claimayne and his sister Ariel do not welcome Scott and Madeline’s return to. A new Tim Powers novel is always cause for rejoicing around here and this one was excellent When the aunt who raised them commits suicide in a spectacular fashion Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned back to her mansion to stay for a week until the will drawn up just before her death is tested But the cousins who still live at the mansion Claimayne and Ariel don’t want them there and a secret magic threatens to draw them back into its power Still how much can happen in a weekThe magic is complex and creative mingling aspects of addiction with a form of time travel and alien presences in a way probably only Tim Powers could manage Each of the four main characters is affected by it differently Claimayne embraces it Ariel is trying to get free of it and Scott and Maddy are trying to benefit from it without being overpowered by it I loved the complexity of keeping track of when everyone was particularly Scott’s use of it in the first climax there are two which is one of the weaknesses of the book Powers never fully explains how the “spiders” come to be though one way of creating them is revealed; the spiders used by Scott and the others are modern interpretations of something older than they can imagine It enhances the mystical creepiness of them in a way I enjoyedPowers is famous for his secret histories and I’d have to say this is one of the weaker ones in the sense that very few of the historical figures are well known enough to give the story the oomph something like The Stress of Her Regard has However Rudolph Valentino as a character works perfectly as someone I could imagine a modern girl falling in love with across time The historical segments play out seuentially doling out just enough information each time to keep me interested without being confused given that they are all results of time traveling sometimes with multiple characters I did love the sense of place the story has with its setting in and around Hollywood It feels very immediate and the description of the mansion called the Caveat—it has the word carved to one side of the door and the other side has been destroyed so you don’t know until the very end who’s being warned left me with a very Miss Havisham feeling about the whole thingSpeaking of Miss Havisham Ariel totally has the same vibe—that unlucky in love dried up spinster who maybe doesn’t want to be vibe view spoilerI was so glad Ariel and Scott worked out their misunderstanding Don’t get that look; Scott and Maddy are adopted cousins I was pretty sure from the beginning when Ariel reflects on the rejected love note she gave Scott that Claimayne had interfered in their relationship On the other hand that they can realize they’re in love after I don’t remember how many years of her hating himthat was a little too easy But I wanted it to happen so I let it go hide spoiler

Tim Powers ↠ 3 characters

Medusas WebVes into the past and future in visions that are both puzzling and terrifying Though their cousins know little about these ancient “spiders” which provoke unpredictable temporal dislocations Ariel and Claimayne have been using for years an addiction that has brought Claimayne to the brink of selfish destructionAs Madeline falls completely under Caveat’s spell Scott discovers that to protect her he must use the perilous spiders himself But will he unravel the mystery of the Madden family’s past and finally free them or be pulled deeper into their deadly we. I'm tempted to say something terribly cliche about Tim Powers being a national treasure but a writer as audaciously original as Powers does not deserve cliches His ability to pick up seemingly random threads of history and make them make sense together and relevant to the present is unparalleled His best books like Declare and the Last CallFisher King trilogy move the mind the heart and the aesthetic sense whatever that is euallyMedusa's Web can stand with these books unashamed Principally and at the surface it is the story of the last four members of the Madden family Scott and Madeleine; their cousin Claymaine; and their other cousin Ariel Claymaine is the sole child of Amity Madden who recently died in a particularly gruesome suicide; he and Ariel have lived all their lives in Amity's house Caveat Her will made only an hour before her suicide leaves the house to Scott and Madeleine which Claymaine and Ariel naturally resentBut first Scott and Madeleine must spend a week at Caveat which they both left years ago Aunt Amity raised them after their parents disappeared and she often seemed to love them than Claymaine But the atmosphere at Caveat was poisonous and so they each left as soon as they were ableNow they return to find the atmosphere deadly than before Claymaine and Ariel have become users of spiders a way of travelling through time into someone else's body for a few moments When Scott and Madeleine arrive Ariel is on a spider trip into her own future and seems surprisingly friendly towards them; shortly thereafter she becomes uite hostile and is shocked to learn of her future self's behaviorThe story set in the present manages to involve characters like William Randolph Hearst Rudolph Valentino Alla Nazimova and many other silent era film stars and crew It resolves the mystery of the death of film director Thomas H Ince on Hearst's boat in 1924 and why the 1933 silent film Salome was Aunt Amity's favorite movieThere are also mysterious people who want these secrets Some will kill to get them Some will do worse things than thatIt's that kind of bookCalling Powers's books urban fantasy does them a severe disservice because they don't deal with traditional fantasy tropes dumped into a modern setting They are perhaps in line with the work of Charles Williams whose novels tended to be centered on an eruption of the supernatural into uotidian English life But Powers is less overtly theological in his interests than Williams; and his books wander near the realm of alternate history into the much rarer and harder to pull off secret historyAt this point I must confess to a slight personal relationship with Tim Powers; going on thirty years ago he was a teacher and I was a student at a week long workshop I imagine that he would not today know me from Adam but I have some lasting positive attitudes which may slightly color this review; so take it cum grano salis