Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lisa's Take: Time Dancers - The Meq vol. 2 (Steve Cash)

So about a year ago I picked up the first book of The Meq and was fairly entranced. Ate through the whole thing in a few days. The premise is fairly simple: there is a race of people called Meq, who when they reach 12 years old, stop aging physically. They can stay forever 12 years old until they meet their one pre-destined true love (a love who could have been waiting thousands of years) at which point they can continue waiting or their can “cross over” and mature, in order to continue the Meq bloodline. In about a hundred years there is to be a ceremony of great importance – but none of the Meq really know what it is or what it signifies or what happens – just that it’s very pivotal.

The main character is Zianno (Z for short) who learns of his Meq heritage when his parents die. We follow Z as he figured out what it means to be Meq and slowly is initiated into the very small Meq society, meeting other Meq, learning about Meq-friendly contacts, and assimilating their customs. It takes place over a 40-or-so year period from the late 1800s through the 19-teens. The story is continued in book two, where Z and Co. travel the world looking for keys and tools and information pertaining to Aforementioned Ceremony, as well as battling a renegade Meq assassin. The second book ranges from where the first left off up until World War II.

What makes these books nifty? In general they have pretty solid, engaging, well rounded characters. Moreover, you get an interesting take on world events and different countries at various points through the last couple hundred of years. The first book really was great – I was quite entertained and emotionally invested. The second book though? A little less so. Don’t get me wrong, it was still pretty good and a pleasure to eat through (again with the finishing quickly) but I felt like the author was so caught up in his cool idea that he let characters and emotional ties fall by the wayside. Quite sad. Luckily, as there’s still one book to go (I believe this is to be a trilogy), Mr. Cash has the opportunity to redeem himself!

The last word? I’d say give these a read if you need a break from more serious stuff. They’re definitely candy, and while the second book is less-good than the first, they still average out to a fairly high rating. I’d give them a 7.5 out of 10, I think.