by Charles de Lint – Faster-paced and more tightly plotted than many of de Lint’s Newford stories and novels, Spirits in the Wires also introduces a fairly new element: modern technology. More specifically, the Internet. This particular novel was written at a time when Internet use was becoming pervasive. And the possibility of intelligence via computers is nothing new (hello, HAL!). But de Lint explores the possibility of life of sorts existing within a URL, blending this concept with the mythology and magic of his past works in a way that is uniquely his.
The author has explored this concept a bit in past works, when he introduced Saskia and the Wordwood, but this is his first full-length dive into it. He kept it from being an esoteric and theoretical (i.e., dry) venture when he had a computer virus attack the Wordwood site and then had the site fight back. The results: hundreds of people sucked into the Internet and the very real possibility of the end of the world as we know it. In true de Lint fashion, the main characters must open their minds, face their fears and surpass their limits if they hope to save themselves, their loved ones, and (yes) the world.
Lovers of the Newford series and its inhabitants will not be disappointed in this novel… especially if they’ve been waiting for the world as *they* know it (with its prevalence of tech and online activity) to infiltrate de Lint’s fiction more thoroughly. Highly recommended. (finished 3/25/2012)