Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: The Onion Girl

When reading any series, in any genre, you eventually come across a book that works to put everything you've read together, showing you a perspective on the world you haven't seen before, sometimes this happens quite early (like Stephen King's The Drawing of the Three - book two of his Dark Tower series, or Louis L'Amour's The Sackett Brand - book five of his series focusing on the Sackett family).

For me, Charles de Lint does this in his tenth book focusing on his fiction city of Newford The Onion Girl, which focuses finally and specifically on artist/waitress/fierce woman Jilly Coppercorn, and finally grants her the wish she's had in all of his books, to see the world of magic; of course, seeing the larger world has it's own costs as well...

The book begins with Jilly awakening after a hit-and-run car accident, stuck in a hospital bed and in significant pain, and as she is now the person who needs support, all of her friends (and many of the leads from previous de Lint novels and short stories), rally around her in her time of need. But the accident, which seems to have put a complete stop to her life in Newford, seems to have awoken something else in her, as she now begins to travel in the realm of the spirits while sleeping, letting her see true magic, but also potentially stopping her from focusing on her life in Newford.

As a parallel story, the book introduces Raylene Carter, a woman with a history similar to Jilly's and who took a decidedly different path. Raylene is fun, brash, and more than a little dangerous, and her story was a really nice counterpoint to Jilly's.

The novel does include a previously released short story "In the House of my enemy" (1993), which fits nicely in the narrative and gives necessary backstory to readers new to de Lint's work.

A great book

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