thebookswede.blogspot.com | 18 March 2008 | The Book Swede
I’d expected to get a bit of reviewing done yesterday, but then someone informed me that it was in fact St. Patrick’s Day, and, rather than celebrating (as everyone, Irish and non-Irish does) with copious amounts of alcohol, I was expected to celebrate my father’s birthday instead. Slightly taken aback at this ridiculous tradition, I needed a gritty, dark, urban fantasy to set me back on the straight and narrow… Procession of the Dead is all of those things. Nearly. D.B. Shan is, of course, the nom de plume of Darren Shan, the hugely successful author of a Young Adult vampire series of the same name. A series I rather enjoyed, I might add! Moving on from that series, and the later Demonata series, Procession of the Dead is Shan’s first adult work. And does it show? That’s a very difficult question. This edition being a supposed “directors cut” it certainly moves away from whatever YA elements I was anticipating, and was written well, funny in places, and a captivating read. Procession of the Dead is also a suitably moribund title, and Shan doesn’t shy away from killing (lots and lots) of people. The cover, however, does do nothing to dispel ideas that this is aimed at a younger audience, which is a shame. Procession is very gritty and dark, and although I was slightly disappointed by how late the magic came into the novel — it had up until that point just been a well-written crime novel –, when it did come, it was surprisingly creepy, and utilised ideas that aren’t that commonly used. I particularly enjoyed the links with the Incan people — each chapter (and some characters) are named after a month in the Incan calendar — but I would have liked a stronger explanation of why certain things happened. Capac Raimi (June in the Incan calendar, I believe), the wannabe gangster suddenly employed by The Cardinal — the most powerful man in the city, with infinite resources, loyalty … and strange, almost life-like puppets with beating hearts… –, was the main protagonist and we saw everything from his (first-person) point of view. While it was a fun ride with him, and he was a very interesting character, I found some of the things he did at the end of the book a little unexpected. A character of more interest to me, Paucar Waimi — the probably psychopathic murderer — was quite entertaining in a disturbing way. This is a good book, and the characterisation was one of the best bits. Sadly, though, there seemed to be a sudden change in many characters’ attitudes towards the end of the book, but on the whole, I was surprised by just how good this was. I’ll be there for the other two books in the trilogy, though this book was fairly self-contained. There is also a rather cool thought at the end on what it’s like to be immortal and un-killable … while having hold of some weapons of mass destruction…
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