Weaveworld is a standalone fantasy written in the late 80’s, set in the “real world” at around the time it was written. We follow two main characters, Cal and Suzanna. In the beginning, Cal gets a glimpse of a secret world hidden in the weave of a carpet, and longs to visit it. At around the same time, Suzanna is urgently summoned by her grandmother, whom she barely knows. Her grandmother is the last remaining guardian of that secret world, but naturally she’s too ill by the time Suzanna arrives to give her any useful information.
The story caught my interest right at the beginning. It was a bit cheesy and melodramatic at times, with a definite 80’s vibe, but it was interesting. However, I started to lose interest after the first third or so, and from there it fluctuated. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to spend more time exploring the mysteries of this secret world and its inhabitants; I was particularly interested in that. Another problem I had was that there is a lot of hopelessness that permeates the second half, to the point that I almost didn’t care what happened by the end. The story did pick up for me some toward the end, but I think the first part was my favorite.
There are some horror elements, but mostly I would just consider it a fantasy story. The horror elements were more gruesome than creepy, and a bit over-the-top at times. The cheese factor was pretty high, at least in the beginning. After a while, I’m not sure if it was toned down or if I just got used to it. As one example, the term used for a power possessed by some women in the story is the menstruum. Yes, really.
So I guess I have mixed feelings. I did like the characters, and I enjoyed the imagination and potential of the story, and I thought it was told pretty well. On the other hand, I was sometimes bored by the direction it took and I rolled my eyes at some of the cheesiness.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. This is another book I’m going into blind, knowing nothing at all about it except that it’s apparently science fiction of some sort.