Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Two by Marjorie M. Liu
Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu
This book dispelled any and all aversions I had to characters with animal DNA. How?
First, Liu lulled me into the story with words. Lyrical, haunting arrangements so vivid, painted with such startling truth that I could hear, smell and see the world of Dela Reese. Within pages, the magical quality of her prose had already prepared me for Hari’s bizarre arrival. Liu deftly suspends reality for Dela and reader, overwhelming senses and commanding attention. Liu’s voice is stunning and enticement enough to compel readers forward.
Second, Liu promises danger that is elemental, evil in its purest form. The suspense is gripping right from the start, the mystery unfathomable. It is a rare combination of threat—villainous men of the modern world and evil materializing from Liu’s mystical world of cursed shapeshifters. Whether by prose or ingenuity, Liu manages to defy formula. She builds a world unexpected and easily wraps characters and readers in fear of the unknown.
Third, Liu’s characterization skills match her writing ability. Quite simply, Liu makes readers ache for Dela and Hari.
Everything about this story was unexpected. The characters, each turn of events, the outcome. And most importantly, the exquisite manner in which captivates the reader. She doesn’t just invite the reader into her world. She entices, lures and dares the reader.
Tiger Eye is an absolutely gorgeous book.
Shadow Touch by Marjorie M. Liu
This story features characters established in Liu’s first work, Tiger Eye. It offers the same vivid, other world characters and the unspeakable evil in which they are trapped. And Liu’s writing is just as stunning here as it was her first time out.
The only difference is in reader experience. The characters of Shadow Touch were not as easily embraced, their actions not as easily reconciled to their experiences. This is not to say that Liu failed to tell their story with unerring truth. I believe she portrayed Elena and Artur honestly. Their bond however, remained tenuous throughout the story. And, as the reader, I sensed an unfulfilled expectation.
I can’t say whether the omission was the result of the story’s brief timeframe or the nature of the characters’ scars. I’ve heard some say that Elena and Artur’s relationship needed more development time. Others may say that Artur’s gift, by its very nature, negates the possibility of any romantic relationship.
I can’t comment either way. I loved their story, its mysteries and miracles. It was a page-turner and one I would highly recommend to fellow readers. The difference in reader experience between this one and Tiger Eye ultimately lay in nuance—a difference in depths. In Tiger Eye, Liu dragged me under. In Shadow Touch, she allowed me to break the surface, resulting in a hair more emotional distance between her characters and me.