Weekly Capsule 04.4 & Book Review: IndexingPosted: January 29, 2015 | |
My first book review of the year, and it’s one that’s right up my alley – “Indexing” by Seanan McGuire. Part fairytale retelling, part police procedural, it is set in a world where fairy tales can become real and often kill people along the way. A black-haired, pale-skinned person can be in a lot of danger from eating apples, a talented flutist can become the Pied Piper, and a girl falling into a coma can cause those around her to fall asleep as well. It tells the story of Henrietta “Henry” Marchen, an agent of the ATI (Aarne-Thompson Index, the fictional index of fairy tales) Management Bureau, who specializes in preventing fairy tales from becoming reality. While saving the lives of innocent people swept up in the narrative, Henry and her fellow agents also have to fight against their own stories and avoid becoming fairytale characters themselves.
An urban fantasy dealing with fairy tales? I was sold. Partly because I once wrote a TV pilot dealing with the same subject (though my story is more similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just replace vampires with fairy tale characters), and partly because this reminds me of the Thursday Next series, another favorite of mine. However, I was a bit disappointed with “Indexing”. The beginning is kind of slow and repetitive (I later learned that it was first released in episodes on Kindle Serial, which explains the repetition, but doesn’t make it any better), it does pick up once the main villain is introduced, but it becomes episodic and slow again at the end, and the ending just sort of happens. I was expecting something more climactic.
Also, I don’t think Henry is that engaging as the main character – she is a Snow White, and the book does a good job of showing her struggle against the princess archetype, but she is sometimes outshone by her team member, Sloane, who is supposed to be a Wicked Sister/Evil Queen. It’s more fun to read about someone trying not to be evil because some narrative force wants them to be, rather than someone trying to avoid eating apples and falling into a coma.
Still, it’s a clever take on the genre, and there are some interesting twists on the familiar characters – a male Little Mermaid and a transgendered Rose Red, for example – so it’s definitely worth checking out, if you’re a fan of this type of stories.
As for my outfit, it is based on Henry’s off-duty look – “gray stonewashed jeans and a dark blue cotton shirt that had been white when I brought it home” (because she’s a Snow White, so the narrative turns her clothes blue, you see). I don’t have gray jeans, so this is the best I could do to recreate that. And of course, I had to add my “poisoned apple” brooch too.
Shirt: Mango, Jeans: H&M (hand-me-down), Boots: Betts, Brooch: vintage