Tag Archives: ben macallan

Book Review: Pandaemonium by Ben Macallan

pandaemonium coverPandaemonium by Ben Macallan

(link to Goodreads page)

Back cover blurb:

Desdaemona has done a thing so so terrible that she has to run away from the consequences. Again. Where better to look for shelter than with the boy she was running from before? But trouble follows. And if it’s not Jacey’s parents who sent the deadly crow-men, the Twa Corbies, in chase of her, then who is it? Deep under London, among the lost and rejected of two worlds, answers begin to emerge from Desi’s hidden past. Answers that send her north in a flight that turns to a hunt, with strange companions and stranger prey. Dangers lie ahead and behind; inconvenient passion lays traps for her just when she needs a clear head; at the last even Desi has to beg for help. From one who has more cause than most to want her dead…

My thoughts:

You know how there are books that you like, and you can analyze what worked for you and what didn’t, what you think was done particularly well and what you think was a weak spot? And then there are books that you love, and you know you love them because it’s a book about shape-shifting garter snakes set in 17th century Canada, and that is just your favourite type of book ever? (No, I don’t know where that example came from. Shape-shifting snakes sounds terrifying, now that I think about it.) But then there are those books where you just love it. And there’s no easy way to put your finger on why exactly you love it so much, but you really feel like you should rush out to the bookstore and buy whatever copies they have and then force all your friends to read it too. Yeah, those kind of books. Pandaemonium is one of those books for me. (Actually, I did buy Desdaemona, the first book, for a friend who did end up liking it. Win!)

If I had to try and pin down why I liked this book so much, I would probably go with the voice. Which is a hard thing to describe, so I’ll just quote one of my favourite bits. And it shouldn’t spoil anything, since it’s pretty much the cover of the book.

He lifts his eyeless skull of a head, and looks at me.

He doesn’t talk back. He’s a horse. But he rises, and only his head is bone; the rest of him is art. Art made actual. A pure impression of horse, a sketch cut out of light. In the dark, he shines; in daylight, just the same. It’s a different manner of light, or your eyes find him differently, or there simply aren’t the words in English. Or the ideas, in any language, in anybody’s head. The reality of him is… elsewhere.

I loved this book, and highly recommend it, except that it picks up almost exactly where the first book, Desdaemona, left off, so if you haven’t read Desdaemona you should read that first.