Monday, December 25, 2017

The Familiar Volume Four Book Review

by The Wanderer
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Familiar Volume Four: Hades
Pages: 880

(Contains spoilers for The Familiar Volumes 1 - 3).

Here is what the characters from The Familiar are currently up to ... 

  1. Xanther has acquired some new abilities like being able to dominate in video games, but with that her temperament has changed, between being her usual adorable self, and being a very off-kilter and angry presence.
  2. Anwar has reunited with Mephisto and the two share memories together. Mephisto presents a new project to Anwar.
  3. Astair's relationship with Xanther is deteriorating over a broken heirloom and the cat that Xanther seems to be literally attached to.
  4. Jingjing is still looking for that cat with his aunt. He is preparing to head to L.A.
  5.  Luther is getting hooked up with lots of money and spending his time breaking into people's homes and hooking up with Quantelle.
  6. Isandorno meets with Teyo and the Mayor and worries about Teyo's ambitions for power..
  7. Shnorhk obtains a cat of his own which is left in the back of taxi by a Japanese business man.
  8. Cas continues to hold on to the orb and work with Mephisto until he heads out to meet with Anwar.
  9. Ozgur is investigating the murder of a murderer he was tracking, that was particularly gruesome.
This is the first Familiar installment where some of the other characters get to shine more, while Xanther takes more of a back seat type of role. But even with less page time, she still has a number of memorable moments, especially as she and Anwar head to New York to interview for a potential new job. And this potential new job seems to be very important in opening up some of the larger ways this story could expand some of its more supernatural and X-File styled elements. Every weird Xanther scene continues to be a highlight.

Shnorhk has my favorite emotional scene in the book, and although not a whole lot happens to him otherwise, there are interesting reveals here. Isandorno gets some more page time and a lot of this is devoted to developing the relationship between Teyo and The Mayor, which concerns Isandorno because of Teyo's ambitious persona and his seeing him be ruthless.

Ozgur also pulls in a nice couple of surprises as well. His story finally starts getting connected with even more people and it makes it difficult to see what decisions he's going to be making going forward. Cas with a completely different plot thread is more or less left ending in a similar position as Ozgur about having to make some important decisions.

Jingjing finally makes it to L.A. but otherwise doesn't do much, at least until the end. Luther doesn't do a whole lot other than continue to hookup with more girls and head to the shooting range. But aside from that, the rest of the characters are getting more involved in the larger and/or more interesting supernatural/conspiracy oriented plots. And that can only be a good thing.

Score: 9.0

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