Definitely one for the urban fantasy fans.
Co-written by Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb) and Steven Brust, the book mixes Hungarian folkloric archetypes with a story of modern police and teens. I suspect that Lindholm wrote the folklore-inspired characters, because some of them, especially the title character, reminded me of her early book "Wizard of the Pigeons." There are a few references to tie this in to Brust's 'Taltos' series, which fans of his will likely appreciate.
Overall, though, this isn't a major work by either of these authors. It's all right, but I wanted a little more depth to it. The main villain didn't seem to have any motivation for her deeds other than that "well, she's Pure Evil," and her minions/henchmen were kinda stereotypical, like "the bullied child who turns bad due to his resentment," and "the girl who goes bad 'cause she wants to grow up too fast and be cool" It also could have done a bit more delving into actual Gypsy culture, rather than just dealing with figures of folklore.
I guess there's a companion musical album that goes with this book, which I haven't heard. The chapters all are headed with lyrics from the songs - and they all rhyme really annoyingly. Maybe they're great in their musical context, but many lyrics just do not work as written poetry.
Just thinking about urban fantasy in general.. I love the idea of myth and magic mixing with the modern world, the whole idea of gritty "faerie-punk." The Bordertown series did it particularly well. But very often, I find myself unsatisfied by many books in the genre, and I've been trying to put my finger on why. I think it's because these stories so often deal with the disenfranchised and/or troubled, and too often, one feels like it's coming from an outside, even preachy (or at least message-y) perspective. I didn't feel like the authors of this book really knew (or if they know, it didn't really come through) what it's like to live as a gypsy, always suspected of crimes. Or as a punk teen. Or as a 'reformed' prostitute. Or even as a cop.
I feel a little unfair, complaining here, because the book really isn't that bad, and I do like both of these authors - but I also really like believable, convincing characters, and stories that really let you understand someone from the inside out.
This slipstream fantasy starts off a little confusing, but quickly picks up. It's a Hungarian folktale in the streets of modern Lakota, Ohio. It's a police procedural and a battle between good (represented by three gypsy brothers, who are also birds) and evil (a beautiful queen of an underworld or sorts). It's about growing up and growing old, about letting go and learning to recreate severed ties. It's about being alone and working it. It's about music, fortune telling, traveling and staying home, first love, true love, and the daily ups and downs of a patrol cop's life. If you liked Neil Gaiman's American Gods, give The Gypsy a chance.
Interesting and somewhat surreal retelling of a Hungarian folk story, set in modern-day Detroit. I found it a bit confusing in the beginning; this was due in part to the frequent changes in points of view, and in part because the book plunges right into the story with no setup, leaving the reader to figure out for oneself what's going on. But I persevered and ended up with that delighted, surprised feeling one sometimes gets at the end of a good story.
I'm not familiar with Megan Lindholm, but I regard Steven Brust as one of the most interesting and creative fantasy authors I have read.