Monday, April 27, 2009

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: Don't read it in a library

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem by Karina Fabian is not a good book to read in a library. Last week I read through the book in my library, receiving disapproving looks from the librarian with every snicker. I rarely laugh out loud when I am reading, but the antics of the characters in this book did it for me.

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem is part of a series of stories written by Fabian, featuring Vern, an immortal dragon cursed by St. George to do good works. Most recently, he has been doing those good works in New Mexico as a private detective specializing in crimes related to magic. A portal between our world and the world of Faerie opened up creating a commerce between the two worlds. Vern, along with Sister Grace of the Faerie Catholic Church, fights evil on both sides of the portal usually resulting in saving one of the two worlds.

Vern's most recent (nonpaying) job is to babysit a bunch of “magicals” on a trip to a Mensa convention. Riding herd on pixies, brownies, fairies, an Indian trickster named Coyote and a Valkyrie named Brunhilde, may be in Sis. Grace's words: “ the toughest job we've not gotten paid for.”

From there the romp includes averting a dozen crises from invisible brownies to averting an interdimensional war sparked a rivalry between two fairies.

The strength of Fabian's writing lies in creating memorable characters populating improbable plots that seem perfectly credible as you read them. She has the unique ability to wrap a parody around a strong believable plot.

The stories are written in such a way that they can be read and understood easily without having read any of the other books in the series. However, in some ways, this leads to the only flaw in the story. Fabian frequently interrupts the flow of a scene by a long aside about something which took place in a previous story. Sometimes this works, but many times it is not necessary to know that bit of the backstory to understand the current plot. This is a hard balance for the writer of a series to strike. I suspect that as more books and stories about Vern emerge, Fabian will find that balance.

I can recommend this book heartily, but be warned: Don't read it in a library!


Blogger Deborah Cullins Smith said...

Terri, you are too funny! I can just see a stern librarian with glasses perched on the end of her nose, frowning and hissing, "SHHHH!" while you giggle and swipe at the tears running down your face.

I don't read any of Karina's stories in public. But my dogs DO give me funny looks when I burst into hysterical guffaws! Gotta love Vern...

April 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Fortunately, she wouldn't say anything to me since I'm on the faculty, but if looks....


April 27, 2009 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger cathikin said...

I know what you mean about snickering out loud. I read a lot of the book in restaurants and doctors' offices, and I couldn't help laughing out loud. I got quite a few stares, but it also gave me a chance or two to tell someone what I as reading. But library...bad idea.

April 27, 2009 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Karina Fabian said...

You want something really bad? Imagine coming up with these scenes while in public! I'm sure folks around Minot AFB think I'm a mad genius--or just mad--because I'm always laughing to myself.

BTW, they live in Colorado--sort of west of Canon City. Thanks, too for the note about the asides. I'll keep it in mind!

April 28, 2009 at 7:25 AM  

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