Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Emma Bull's "Territory"

While we were in NYC (which already feels like a lifetime ago), our friend asked me what I'd been reading lately, and I shame-facedly had to admit that I haven't really been doing much of that (my tenth, or twentieth, reading of any Terry Pratchett book barely counts as reading at this point). Territory had been sitting on the shelf for a while, awaiting the right time, and Saturday was it; I started in the afternoon, stayed up late, and finished it last night.

I should probably read it again before I write a real review. I liked the book a lot, but it was strangely understated. Quite a bit of the story is more implied than shown, and the ending feels almost more like a beginning. She's never done a multi-book series, and there's no mention anywhere of a continuation, but I can easily imagine a lot of her fans hoping to hear more about these people. The closer I got to the end, the more puzzled I got by the lack of clear lead-up to the expected showdown, and the final encounter, while dramatic, was nothing like I expected.

Since the book is set in Tombstone, and features many well-known characters, I wasn't sure if I ought to read up on them or not before diving into the book. I ended up not doing so, but if you know your OK Corral history well, you probably get a very different experience. It's an unapologetically fantastical version of the story, obviously, but an excellent read, with finely drawn characters, loving attention to the landscape (I believe Emma Bull lives in AZ these days), and some moments that made me laugh out loud.

Addendum: In this interview there's a mention that she is indeed working on more of the story. Sweet anticipation for her readers!

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