Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bride of the Rat God

Bride of the Rat God

Barbara Hambly

Date: 1994-10-31   —   Book

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Ficiton, Fantasy

With a title like this, who can resist? The tale is set in the silent film era, where a much-lauded but fairly mediocre film star, Chrysanda Flamande works with her widowed sister-in-law, Norah Blackstone. Norah's job is that of a personal assistant, and in a refreshing change from the stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of spoiled film stars, she loves her work. Chrysanda, while indeed a spoiled film star, is a marvelous character, because despite her partying ways and cocaine addiction (not uncommon for the time), she is a fundamentally nice person, perhaps the nicest protagonist Hambly has ever had. She saw the horrible situation that Norah was in when she visited England (as virtual slavey to a boorish family) and immediately offered a job; she actually cares (to a certain extent) about those people she works with, and while she is not the bravest person in the world she is willing to stand firm when she would rather run— high praise indeed.

As to the plot, it is, in fact, the hackneyed sort of story that so enthralled the movie industry of the time. Ancient gods, a cursed necklace, villains that refuse to stay dead, a mysterious Chinaman... in lesser hands, this would be nothing more than a spoof. Yet Hambly manages to pull out a story where you actually care about the characters and worry whether they will make it.

This is a Good Book™. Go ahead and read and enjoy, and don't let guilt over the title stop you.

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