Review: Medicine Road by Charles de Lint

August 6, 2009 Books, Reviews 0

Medicine RoadBuy It Now: on Amazon


Music, Mischief, & Magic

Laurel and Bess Dillard are charismatic bluegrass musicians enjoying the success of their first Southwestern tour. But the Dillard girls know that magical adventures are always at hand. Upon meeting two mysterious strangers at a gig, the red-headed twins are drawn into a age-old, mystical wager along the Medicine Road.

One day, seeing a red dog chasing a jackalope, Coyote Woman gave them human forms. They became Jim Changing Dog and Alice Corn Hair. In return, both of them must find true love within a hundred years or their “five-fingered” forms will be forfeit. Alice has found her soul mate, but trickster Jim is unwilling to settle down — until he sets eyes upon free-spirited Bess Dillard.

Yet time is running out for the red dog and the jackalope. In just two weeks they will journey to their reckoning at the Medicine Wheel. Meanwhile, a motorcycle-riding seductress and a vengeful rattlesnake woman are eager to meddle, and Bess and Laurel, caught in a web of love and lies, must find their own paths into the spirit world. (from Tachyon Publications)

The Fangirl’s Review: B+

Medicine Road is an imaginative novel that blends mysticism, mythology, and romance into a lovely story. De Lint’s prose is effortlessly pretty; despite the fact that this is the first novel of his that I’ve read, I was immediately pulled into the story despite my lack of familiarity with the overarching story of the Dillard girls.

Those of you who’ve read my romance reviews (or who’ve just listened to me rant in general) know that one of my biggest pet peeves is the “love at first sight” trope. Maybe it’s because I’m a big old cynic, but I just can’t buy it when two people in a book (or a movie, so on and so forth) immediately fall in love without knowing anything about each other.

There’s a very quick romance in this story, and it treads the line for me. Thankfully, it’s not written as if the two were suddenly struck by a bolt from the blue and knew that they’re soul mates or any of that stuff. For me, it was a nicely realistic depiction of two people discovering that they’re both highly attracted to each other and highly compatible. And their relationship hits bumps, so it really does veer away from the traditional pattern of the trope. But I still have trouble buying into love that happens so fast. Your mileage may vary, depending on your level of cynicism. ;)

Overall, I found this to be an engrossing, masterfully written story complemented by Charles Vess’s gorgeous illustrations. I loved the characters, each of whom was very well-developed and interesting, some of whom left me wanting more. Coyote Woman? More please!