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Spiritride Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1997
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I have yet to be disapponted by any book written by Lackey or any of her co-worlders, and this novel maintains the qualitu of its predecessors.
SPIRITRIDE takes place in Albuquerque and the flat country south of the city around the road to Mountainair. Shepherd's best comment in the entire book is that the energy in these parts is scattered all over the landscape, as much in the air as in the earth. I live there. He's right. It is. He's caught the flat dry flavor of the country, the scratchy scrub vegetation, the heat and the dust, perfectly. Pity he didn't do the same for his people.
SPIRITRIDE's best character is the ghost of the motorcycle racer from the 20s, now watching over all bikers. His next best is Wolf, part-Indian veteran of Desert Shield, coping with Gulf War Syndrome and a grandfather who insists on teaching him tribal legends before it is too late. Unfortunately, those legends and the tribal history bear no resemblance to any Southwestern cultures I ever heard of - and given their history as a forest culture, what's the old man doing living in a trailer in the middle of New Mexico? And if they are descended from a lost explorer from the Viking period, why does the first expedition's wisewoman bear the remarkably modern name of "Margot Jameson"? Why do the details of her faith and practice bear more resemblance to a book written in 1952 than to any of the rather well documented practices of the 10th Century? Time travel?
But the most disappointing part of the book is his handling of the sixteen-year-old boy caught in the war between the bad elves and the good elves. The boy has seen his best friend commit suicide. He has tried it himself, and been hospitalized. He has a stepfather who refuses to discuss any of this, but instead greets the most appalling events with cheerful denial. (Why?) The boy gets involved with a pack of melodramatically drawn Satanist/druggies, then as far as his family is concerned, vanishes for however long the events of the book take. And there the author leaves him, personal problems totally unsolved and a whole new set waiting for him when he returns home - if he does. Shepherd never says. But he's sixteen. If he doesn't go home, he has even more problems ahead. Is Shepherd planning a sequel? If not, he's dropped the ball and dropped it badly.
And, excuse me, "Avalon" as our local Elfhame? That's outlandish!
Read it for the local flavor.