Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Swan Song – review

Author: Jevron Mc Crory

Published: 2009

Contains spoilers

The blurb: Katrina Collins isn’t like other musicians. She doesn’t grant interviews. She doesn’t pander to the press. No one has ever seen her outside of her musical arena. Her manner is brief, her beauty startling and her effect upon an audience mesmerising.

Lewis Morrison isn’t like other music journalists. He despises music. He loathes musicians. No one can stand to be in his company for more than a few moments. Katrina and Lewis are both damaged.

In the seedy underbelly of Camden, a unique North London habitat, they will find each other and their discovery will bring hope, redemption, pain, pleasure and death. This is Swan Song and it is unlike any other vampire story you have ever read.

The review: Sometimes it is nice to read a novella, by their very nature more complex than a short but easier to dip into than a full novel… being me that is especially so when said novella concerns vampires.

There are some notes at the end of Swan Song and I also liked the concept behind Jevron Mc Crory’s vampires. “The vampire has become, more than ever, a romantic metaphor, devoid of any real threat whatsoever. Many authors nowadays simply neuter the vampire, using him to their nefarious ends in whatever high school setting they choose. For me, the beauty of the vampire is we are entranced just as much as we are repelled. My vampires bite.” So, how did he do?

Rather well actually. He managed to have a truly dangerous creature and yet set her in a modern, contemporary setting. A musician who uses the harp and entrances her audience, I was reminded somewhat of a serpent in the description of her mesmeric danger.

Strangely, however, she was not the character who truly repulsed the reader in this book. That honour went to the human character, Lewis. He was most certainly a most unpleasant character and yet Mc Crory managed to keep us engaged with him – not the easiest of feats. We find ourselves caught in his downward spiral and it carries with it the fascination of the car wreck. Ghouls ourselves we have to see just how low this man will plummet and there is something almost Burroughs-like in this.

As for lore, the novella is sparse on detail but enough is given. The vampire has an ability to touch the minds of humans – indeed she is meant to shield herself within her performances and it is a failure to do that which draws her and Lewis together. She is remarkably strong and is burnt by sunlight. She can drink memories within her victims’ blood.

Short, sweet and to the point, Mc Crory builds a solid story about two damaged individuals and, as I say, sometimes it is nice to read a novella, but… there is always a but, isn’t there… I was left wanting more. More details about Katrina, not necessarily lore wise – though I’m sure that would come – but with regards her life. Perhaps that wish is a double edge sword, perhaps the brevity breeds some of the brutality and in knowing her we would loose some of the danger? I do hope, however, that Mc Crory does bring her back in other works and that she remains a dangerous presence in his works. 7 out of 10.

The ebook of Swan Song is available here.


James Garcia Jr said...

I couldn't agree more. That was something that both of your works had in common. When "Concilium" ended I wanted more immediately. I can't wait to see what's next for both you and Jevron. Congrats to both of you...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers james, progress is slow on the next book from myself. I had slowed the blog input down to try and free time up and then agreed to do a foundation degree, eating all that time and more up!

It will appear eventually though, promise

Jevron McCrory said...

Thanks so much for this review! I meant to leave a comment so much earlier! Thank you sincerely for your kind words, and most importantly your time.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

no problem Jevron