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A Scattering of Jade by Alexander C. Irvine

Review by Mike 2004-02-28

A Scattering of Jades is Alexander C. Irvineís debut novel, and as such it is surprisingly good. Set in nineteenth century USA, it draws heavily from Aztec mythology, which for me is a refreshingly new niche in the fantasy jungle.

At the centre of the story is Archie Prescott, a poor nobody trying to get by with his wife and daughter in the less fortunate parts of New York. What Archie isnít aware of is that his daughter, Jane, has been marked by mysterious powers as the catalyst for the return of an ancient, terrible god, and that he is the only one who can stop this from happening.

Irvineís writing is simple but elegant, and itís only in rare places you notice that this is a first novel. The characterization is also excellent, and the plot well paced. I found the beginning somewhat confusing, when Irvine bombards us with unpronounceable names of Aztec deities and the viewpoints change a bit too rapidly, but once things started coming together it was an enjoyable read all the way up to the end, which was good, but not fully convincing.

With A Scattering of Jades Alexander C. Irvine has made an excellent start to his career as a writer, and Iím sure we are going to hear more from him in the future.

4 amulets out of 5.

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