I thought I was going to get this post done early. Of course, I thought I was going to be done with Three Days to Dead about two weeks ago, and I just barely finished it in time for my flight yesterday (I can’t read while traveling in moving vehicles, so it was as crucial to finish the book as it was to remember everything on my packing list). Instead, I’ve borrowed my husband’s computer while he gets ready to work from a satellite office, and I’m desperately trying to convince my jet-lagged brain to THINK. And to think quickly, because otherwise I’m going to be stuck typing this on the iPad in a Starbucks with questionable internet. Mmm coffee…
Apparently though, my brain thinks we’re on vacation already, even though we aren’t, not until I’m done writing this. Fortunately, I’ve never met anyone, no matter how intelligent, organized, and efficient, who doesn’t suffer from this problem when a break is so tantalizingly near, so I don’t feel too terrible. I will say, upfront, that I won’t be home again until January 3, so my updates may be non-existent/short/incomprehensible over the next two weeks. I blame that on family, friends, and the Christmas cookie coma I plan to enter this weekend (and by blame, I mean I cannot wait for that to happen). But before I jump off into the whirlwind of holidays, birthdays, and family reunions about to commence, I do want to say a few words about this book.
I love urban fantasy (it’s been a standby for me since I was in the sixth grade), and when I learned this weekend that there are people (people I love! In my own family!) who have never even heard of “urban fantasy” (oh yes – it’s true – I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to explain it), I want to give a fun book from the genre a moment in the spotlight. I think most fans of this particular genre would agree with me that it isn’t easy to find solid, interesting new authors to read.
I’m personally holding onto the newest Dresden File book (which I would call urban fantasy, but which wikipedia insists is “contemporary fantasy” – the wider umbrella under which “urban” falls) for that very reason. It’s a beloved series, and this fall has been too crazy for me to take time to really appreciate a much-anticipated book like that one. Nevertheless, I wanted something light and gritty, and Three Days to Dead fit the bill perfectly. The three strongest points in its favor? A fresh, original plot, strong writing, and a well-written female protagonist.
If you imagine that any of these things could be taken for granted, you may not be a fan of this genre, because let me tell you, we will endure a lot of crap to get a fix when necessary. Seriously. When I was growing up, there was one bookshelf at my local library with science fiction and fantasy, and I read it all – the good, the very bad, and the “I’m embarrassed that the library may still have these titles on record under my card.”
I’m not sorry, in retrospect, that I read some of those books, mainly because they gave me a barometer for the good stuff. It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to have good books when we’re reading enjoyable, well-paced, clever stories like Meding’s. And while we may never suffer a shortage of great literary fiction or historical biographies, we have seen some dark times in the world of fantasy. We have had to slog through some books that should never have been published. We have had to praise the existence of the Kindle because finally (finally!) we could read some of those terrible books without anyone being the wiser.
It’s a painful thing, to be embarrassed by something so beloved, but it happens. Admittedly, I read almost all of my fantasy novels on Kindle for just that reason – even if the book itself is good, the cover usually gives me away with some unfortunate art. What can I say though? I love guilty pleasure books, and I always will. I’m only glad there are authors out there still willing to dip into the murky pool to get me what I want…