Perfect Circle Rothdas book review RSS
4.0 Stars

The quoted reviews for this book are actually dead on, so I'm not sure that I have too much else to add. "Stephen King meets Ibsen." Yep, it is a ghost/exorcism story that is well written and deeply tied into family. "I read is all in on gulp". Yep, it is a very fast read, and I consumed most of it in one evening.

I couldn't quite give the novel 4 stars though, since it was good and enjoyable and very readable but not excellent. I suppose strictly speaking this is urban fantasy, but the quality and feel of the book is so different from most books in the genre that I'm not sure the term is really useful. As always with Peterson, the supernatural elements in the story have this wonderful combination of intuitiveness, creativity, and precise physical detail. He describes witchcraft with the same sort of physical detail that he might use in describing setting a fishing lure or some other bit of minor manual cleverness. And as usual, the supernatural elements are set amidst a richly realized family structure/history. Reading Sean Stewart is always a treat, and it makes you imagine an alternate history where fantasy authors are all just absurdly good writers.

There were a few tiny, niggling things about the book that bothered me. One is that it doesn't seem to be in the same alternate universe as his other books. The timeline and supernatural system are similar to his other books, but not quite the same (kind of like Against a Dark Background relative to the Culture novels). There is much less magic in this story, and it seems to be limited to just ghosts. I would have loved to have another book set in his main timeline, and I kept going back to the fact that this story is not quite in the same timeline as the others. A second annoyance for me is that the story is set in Houston, and is deeply connected to the city. It is constantly grounding itself in the street names and parks and restaurants of the city, which is unfortunate, since it is such a terrible, terrible city. Lol. It reminded me a bit of the first time I heard someone called Houston "H-Town", and how I couldn't tell if it was ironic or not. He does have a few nice touches in there (he comments on the oddity that concrete culverts are called bayous in Houston, which has always puzzled me), but overall I think I would be happier if it was set in another city. Anyway, this was like the other Peterson books that I've liked so much, except faster, lighter, and on a smaller/more contained scale.