Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Familiar Volume Two Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Familiar Volume Two: Into the Forest
Pages: 880

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The original transcript of this review has been lost. Click here for more info. What follows below is a short rewrite.

The first volume of The Familiar was quite an introduction to such an ambitious story. You can expect the second volume to be more of the same, with a few more of the more minor characters getting more page time, and some light being shed upon a few mysterious people that have been referenced throughout the last book. At the heart of it all is still Xanther and her cat, so here's where everyone's at.

  1. Astair - Angry and jealous about Xanther's cat, and depressed about her rejected thesis, she now works towards changing her thesis.
  2. Xanther - Is enamored with her cat, which is turning out to be something a lot more than it what it originally seems. Strange occurrences soon begin happening to Xanther as well.
  3. Anwar - Is still stuck writing some strange game code for Enzio, whom Mephisto used to work for. He begins to develop an unnatural amount of energy. 
  4. Ozgur - Wants to retire but the Captain is trying to convince him to stay on.
  5. Jingjing - Is given lots of cash by his aunt to complete a special task. He is still getting high.
  6. Isandorno - Is trying to get into Guatemala to meet his boss, but is delayed by lots of dead animals by the side of the road.  
  7. Luther - Is searching for an escort named Melissa. 
  8. Shnorhk - Needs to get to a clinic to check his respiratory problem 
  9. Cas - Is hiding out at Sorcerer's place while continuing to learn more about the orb.
Astair and Anwar get a lot more time to grow in this book, and I'm beginning to like and appreciate them as much as I do Xanther. Isandorno, once he meets his boss, gets one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever read in a story. A lot more is revealed about Cas, the orb, and the mysterious Sorcerer. And it's becoming clearer as to how her story is going to begin fitting in with the others.

Luther seems to take a lesser role in this story, but he also appears to be getting a tie in to another character's arc. A lot doesn't happen with Ozgur and Shnorhk, they both have plenty of potential. Jingjing's narration continues to be the most difficult to decipher, and almost always warrants a reread ... and even then it's still really confusing.

The mystery and supernatural elements are stepped up and I got to know more about Isandorno, Cas, and the Wizard, but I’m still looking to learn more about Jingjing, Ozgur, and Shnorkh. More of the narratives are directly tied together but there are still some that are hanging. I really want to know what roles the Narcon’s will be playing. They are constantly changing and correcting the narratives, which can be as humorous as it is misleading. This early in the game I’m not too worried about what’s missing. I like the second volume as much as I liked the first, and I’m sure for those who’ve already jumped they will continue to read future installments.

Score: 9.0

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