This book was VERY STRANGE but engrossing. Just trying telling someone what it is about, not very appealing - a man driving home from work stops to pick up a homeless man. Within hours, bizarre stuff has happened - his wife gets pregnant and gives birth and the baby is take away in a plastic bag and left by a drain pipe in a nearby park. The baby is found and adopted by some people in the neighborhood, while only the father remembers the strange incident with the homeless man and how the baby originated. The story gets stranger - the child can dream about what other people wish - and when he grants the wishes, terrible things happen to fulfill the wishes. Amazing how ORS can get into the minds of people with such different backgrounds and voices. This book is splashed in color and vibrancy, with twists and turns in every chapter. Not at all predictable, I had no idea where the book was going, dragged out in the undertoe and surfaced near the end. I didn't like the ending, but not because it wasn't well written.
This was a great read. Very interesting twists and turns in the story and I really liked it.
A different styl from Card's usual. Not like his Alvin Maker or the Ender books at all. . . An abandoned baby is more or less communally raised in an African-American neighborhood. Nobody knows who really is his father, and only one little boy knows who his mother was--and that boy may just hate the baby. 'Things' keep trying to kill the little boy, but luckilly he has some very good self-appointed protectors.
As with all of Card's books, this most recent of his is very well written.
It takes place in an upper-middle-class black american community. Card's afterword makes much of how he had his black friend vet it before sending it out - I think because he KNEW that he'd be taking a lot of criticism. The characters in this book don't just happen to be black, they make a Big Deal out of being black (or Card makes that deal). At times, his characterization works - but at other times I felt like saying, "Yo, you be Trying Too Hard, bro!"
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It's a riff on the classic stories of wishes gone wrong. An adopted foundling, Mack Street, grows up in a tight-knit community... but he has dreams of his neighbor's dearest wishes - dreams that begin to come true in horrific ways.
And one day he discovers he can slip sideways through a house no one else can see, and into Fairyland... he is, of course, a changeling, and is pulled into the ago-old drama involving Puck, Oberon and Titania...
However, the second half of the book becomes overtly religious. (As opposed to being a book about religious people, which is fine.) But it got extremely moralizing, and, probably because I don't agree with Card's religious views, the story and plot really just stopped working for me. Card, I felt, was trying to overlay a black-and-white duality over a story of beings who have always been amoral (and are here specified as still being amoral), and eh.... it didn't work. There is also a very weird segment where for some very vaguely explained reason, Mack has to have sex with the 'hot motorcycle hoochie mama' who is Titania. But he won't do it before getting married. rolleyes.gif So Titania says they can be married only in the eyes of God (? A fairy says this?) but not the law, so Titania Hypnotizes the preacher into doing a ceremony (dude, I don't think that counts!), but this makes sex OK! And then, even more oddly, Card makes some comment about this being like a gay marriage where partners are "married in the eyes of God but not the law." Just trying to figure out if Card has changed his stance on homosexuality and gay marriage here, or not??? Anyway, it was all pretty ridiculous.
If you like Orson Scott Card, you will probably enjoy this. I haven't enjoyed many of his recent books and, while this is certainly not on par with his best (Alvin Maker series, in my opinion), at least it is a return to form. An enjoyable fantasy novel.
I think I got this one from my father in law, and (to be honest) I'm not all that certain of his reading choices. Nor am I all that certain I like Card, for that matter. I really liked Ender's Game, but the subsequent books drove me nuts. A few other things I've encountered in Card's work have left me cold as well, so I went into this with some trepidation.
And the first chapter or two had me wondering. I almost put it down, as it appeared to be a thinly veiled religious screed, at least initially. However, I must admit I was wrong about that - at least at some level. To tell you who the characters in the first two chapters actually are would give too much away, but I can say you've almost certainly heard of them before.
Once over the initial hurdle things held together pretty well. There was another spot later on where the religious aspects started to bug me, but they were actually relevant to the plot in that case, so I let them slide.
In the end I found it Magic Street to be a reasonably pleasant if somewhat lightweight read. If you like Card, this is something you'll probably enjoy. If you like modern fantasy, it's reasonably good.
One note: most of the major characters are black and the language used struck me as "off" at times. Not being black and thus not familiar with that culture in any depth I couldn't tell you how authentic it was, but I am quite certain that times it wasn't right. While I clearly noted this at those points - occasionally thinking things like "No one would say that, no matter what color they are" - I didn't let it distract me from the story. Your mileage may vary.
Strange things happen in Baldwin Hills on a seemingly normal day. If I told you what happens in the first few chapters, it would be enough to turn you off this book but stay with it...it gets better. After an abandoned infant is found by a boy, the neighborhood seems to adopt the child, inviting him into their homes and, unwittingly, into their dreams. But Mack Street is not an ordinary boy. He is absorbing their deepest wishes, holding them for someone with a darker purpose.
Interesting enough concept...Midsummer Night's Dream meets Malcolm X. Not sure I really buy the plot, but that seems to be the case with most of Mr. Card's book lately. In fact, I found the explanation of how he came up with the storyline almost more interesting than the story itself. If it hadn't been for all the swearing, I would have considered this a young adult novel. But I am relieved that he didn't get explicit with a few of the situations that were quickly heading that direction.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. Quick, light read.
This book was a fun urban fantasy book. I haven't read a book by OSC for years, but I remember that I really enjoyed him when I did. The characters were very interesting, and the story unique. Very well written, highly recommend for any fan of urban fantasy or OSC.
Loved it. Card is great at contemporary fantasy. Good to the last page!
Unique blend of African American, Celtic Faerie, and ...
This was a wonderful (full of wonder) story! A marvelous interweaving of fairy tale with modern life. Highly recommend.