Sunday, April 07, 2013

370 words about "Oculus," by author Michael Offutt.

In one word, I'd sum "Oculus," by Michael Offutt, as:

UNFAIR.

But I get 370 words. I'll use them all to explain.

I finished "Oculus" last night. The ending of the book being nothing so much as a headlong rush into a melee of darkness, I was getting more and more into it, feeling the excitement rise and then

BLAMMO,

the book ends, leaving you hanging until the third in the series, apparently being written right now, by which I mean it had better be being written right now, so stop reading this, Offutt. Get back to writing the third book.

"Oculus," continues the trilogy  begun in Slipstream, the plot of the series being "Boy discovers he has the ability to control the flow of time, and also he is the last heir of King Arthur, and there is more than one world, and demons are real, and also he is good at hockey."

(NAILED IT.  I should write book blurbs.)

That doesn't begin to describe how Oculus reads.  From the opening dreamlike gunfight the story unfolds deliberately, piece by intricately plotted piece, layering on myth, science and detail until the entire thing feels real, which is really saying something when one is talking about a book in which a giant stone mouth grinds up bodies to feed to a shadow devil that lives in a black hole.

The many characters have fully-fledged lives which make the people real, too -- and not always in a good way.  Even the main characters have flaws that balance their likeability, making them, too, real-er.  Those details come out in the backstory and mythology, too, legends and hard science mashed into each other: Oculus meshes fantasy elements with scifi so seamlessly it was like reading Foucault's Pendulum co-authored by Larry Niven. Those details, though, don't detract but rather feed the story, which is driven by  adrenaline-producing action setpieces ranging from hockey games to the incredible battle at the end.  Oculus is something you can keep going back to, re-reading and soaking up details, and that's good because until Offutt gets that third book out, I and his other readers are going to have to live with doing just that.

(Done, with four words left over!)

________________________________________________________________________________

In Random Word Reviews, I get a random number of words to review something.  Now aren't you glad you asked? Find more reviews like this here.

Read 10 1/2 questions With Michael Offutt, and my review of his first book, here.

CLICK HERE TO BUY OCULUS BECAUSE YOU LIKE GOOD BOOKS, DON'T YOU? OF COURSE YOU DO, AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM. SO GO BUY IT.

2 comments:

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

hehe. Briane you make me giggle. I'm so glad you liked it. :)

Andrew Leon said...

I have it, and it's on my stack.