Blood: A Southern Fantasy
by Michael Moorcock
Read by Chet Williamson
Published by Crossroad Press and Springbrook Audio
(Disclosure Notice: I received a free copy of the audio book version of Blood: A Southern Fantasy from Crossroad Press for review purposes.)
I’m just going to come out and say it. I didn’t particular like Blood: A Southern Fantasy (which I will refer to as Blood for the remainder of this review). It was very dense and written in strange and mostly telling style. It has a strange sub-story that appears like an old movie serial between major sections of the book. The sub-story is related to the main story, but that is not apparent until later in the book. In fact, Blood feels more like a collection of memoirs than a novel. I had a hard time getting into the story.
That all being said, what is Blood about? Blood is set in a world like ours and yet very unlike ours. It is set in an America like ours yet very unlike ours. And most of it takes place in the south. There is a civil war going on between the North and the South. In this world the south is ruled, for the most part, by the black man and the white man is relegated to the north and west. Technology is powered by the energy given off by dimensional rifts. Order and chaos sit side by side, not at peace, but not at war either. It is a strange place, and at times strangely familiar.
The story itself follows the journey of Jack Karaquazian, a gentleman and gambler; his lover, Colinda Devero; and his friends and allies Sam Oakenhurst (Sam is my favorite character in the story), another gambler, and The Rose, a half plant half animal being from a different dimension. Through their various adventures, our heroes, are drawn in the great multi-verse to play the ultimate game.
The story is deep and philosophical delving in the nature of the universe, man, and even God in places. The world is both dark and bright, disturbing and horrific, and yet beautiful. In reminded me of the Moorcock’s Elric tales in some respects.
As far as the audio goes, the reader, Chet Williamson, did a good job. The reading was clean and clear. A bit flat in places, but I think that was function of the style of writing more than the narrator. And he did a nice job marking the transition to the sub-story of the multi-verse and the Chaos Engineers with melodramatic flare and style.
In the end, as I have said, I didn’t like Blood. It just didn’t hook me. It isn’t a bad story. There are things I liked in it: The way and type of games the gambler’s played, the strange cults, the strange mix of technology, the overall dark atmosphere of the story’s setting, and the river boats. (I love river boats.) But I just couldn’t get immersed in the story. I believe if I could have I would have enjoyed it more.
I am going to give Blood an overall score of three out of five snark bites. It isn’t bad. It just wasn’t my thing.