Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review: Spirit in the Wires

Charles de Lint's 2003 novel Spirits in the Wires is one of those delightful fantasy novels that works both on it's own merits and as an interesting look at how we viewed The Internet in the early 2000s. The novel, based in his fictional city of Newford, connects Christy Riddell, a renowned folklorist (and regular Newford supporting character) to two women, Christianna Tree and Saskia Madding, both of whom come from strange beginnings and are about to go on a journey that melds the World Wide Web with de Lint's faerie mythology.

In the novel a virus has struck the Wordwood, a popular website that works like a sort of sentient Wikipedia, and has been mentioned in any number of de Lint's other works over the years. Initially shutting down the website, the virus mutates and soon regular users of the site disappear in a sweeping world-wide event that connects the novel's primary characters with a number of others from de Lint's world.

The story works as a journey, but travels back and forth between three groups, giving the reader a number of well-developed characters to follow and some pretty amazing wonders along the way. I don't want to get into too many specifics as much of the fun of the novel comes from the various twists and turns of the plot, but it is definitely well worth the read.

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