Book: Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
Spoiler level: very low
Here's the thing with Blue Diablo: I want to savor the world and characters and cool writing, but I also want to tear through it like a kid at Christmas. I’m so into it!
For one, I’m highly curious about the unfolding mystery—esp. last night, as an exciting piece of information turned up that I won’t divulge. (Except to say this: eeep!) Also, I love how the magic is layered just below the surface of our actual world.
Unlike with many paranormal/UF books, you can actually believe that this world could exist on this planet at this moment. (Unlike, say, BDB, where you’d think Anderson Cooper would've taken notice by now.) The Mexico/Texas setting totally adds to that. And the powers have grown in coolness from when I first noted same. But what struck me most last night was the characters.
Actual humans for characters
The characters here are so like real people, especially the two we start the book with, Corine and Chance. I really get them, right down to how they dress or decorate their homes. I get that that Chance drives when they go somewhere, I know what that says about his personality and also what it means when he doesn’t drive. It make the book like a friend.
Corine and Chance’s raw and broken relationship
This is one of my favorite things about the book, this compelling and expertly drawn picture of a couple who broke up many months ago, but who are still raw from their wounds, and still half in love. Chance and Corine have sworn each other off, but this quest has thrown them back together.
Their knowing each other so intimately makes for all kinds of cool minor details like this: He ate with silent economy that told me he knew he needed the fuel more than he wanted the food.
And poignant moments like this (Corine narrating):
I stood for a moment, wrapped in my plush hotel bathrobe, and watched him sleep. Somehow he always looked innocent in repose, a ridiculous premise if you knew him at all.That scene of her leaving him all those months ago slides back now and then in exquisite and haunting ways. I also enjoy how their relationship continues to evolve within its brokenness:
As I turned, I heard him whisper, “no, don’t go.”
I didn’t hesitate because he wasn’t alive in the moment with me but remembering in dreams, perhaps remembering someone else as well, In a remote corner of my mind, I wondered whether he had spoken those words aloud as the door closed behind me. Could I believe he’d loved me once?
Chance turned his head, and in the sunlight angling through the window, his eyes looked inexpressibly weary. “Thanks.”Ooof. Okay, and I just have to put out this description, so bewitching, and emblematic of the story:
I tried to smile. “You’re welcome.”
Jesus, I didn’t know what to do with this Chance. He frightened me with his intensity Once, I’d believed he was all cool calculation, but I was starting to think that maybe he’d hidden a lot of what he felt. I just didn’t know why.
“Nothing in the world is like I thought was.” He paused before adding quietly, “not even you.”
The sun was setting by that point, blazing fire over the Sierra Madre. Slate and charcoal clouds gathered over the mountains in the distance. The highway uncoiled before us like a dark, patient snake.Dark, patient snake!! Dude!