Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

Book: Trickster’s Girl
Author: Hilari Bell
Published: 2011
Source: downloaded from NetGalley

The scond-to-last thing Kelsa needs while she's grieving the death of her beloved father is some weirdo stalker who claims he's the Trickster. The last thing she needs is for that weirdo stalker to recruit her for a quixotic quest across the Western US and Canada to heal the damaged leylines before humanity destroys itself.

Here's the thing about immortal gods, though, they're persistent. They've got the time. Kelsa finds herself agreeing to one little favor, then one more, then one more, and before she knows it, she's lying to her mom and fleeing across state lines with the Trickster's enemies in hot pursuit.

Oh, he didn't mention he had enemies? Ooops. Must have slipped his mind.

I enjoyed about 98 percent of this book. It ended strangely and abruptly, and I never felt as if the reunion with her mother, building up throughout the book, got satisfactorily resolved. Hopefully the second book (apparently, this is the first part of "the Raven Duet") will address some of these issues.

While Bell calls her trickster Raven, he's actually an kind of Ur-Trickster, manifesting in different forms throughout world cultures. Loki, Raven, Coyote, Mercury, whatever name you give them, they’re always the most fascinating mythological figures because while their chaos ultimately benefits humanity, it certainly can make a singular human mighty uncomfortable. They’re not around to make things better, they shake things up, the equivalent/forebear of a D&D chaotic neutral character. Luckily, Bell has created a worthy Trickster, and a worthy human to stand with him, and occasionally against him.

The near-future setting, 2098 to be exact, with attendant upgrades in technology (I kept going, “oooo” when I pictured some of the tech that Bell describes) adds a tweak of interest. I couldn’t help but wonder about the events that led to the near-totalitarian US, with border patrol stations on state lines and personal ID cards connected to DNA and required for everything from buying a train ticket to buying an energy bar. Teenagers being teenagers, of course, Kelsa still manages to successfully lie to her mother for about 3/4 of the book.

I downloaded this book from NetGalley because I’ve liked the author’s other works, and I do love a trickster character. It’s an enjoyable adventure with touches of ecological meaning and mysticism.

No comments: