May Contain Traces of Magic

May Contain Traces of Magic

by Tom Holt


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781841495064
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/09/2010
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,086,672
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tom Holt is the author of more than twenty comic fantasy novels and a number of acclaimed historical novels.

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May Contain Traces of Magic 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Shimmin on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Started out very promising; I groaned a bit on spotting a link to John Wellington Wells & Co., who lost my interest a good while ago, but it's a background connection rather than anything major. I liked the basic premise with the sentient SatNav and some of the possibilities it seemed to be offering. As I read on, though, it stodged up significantly. The characters didn't get much development, and spent a lot of time holding out on one another, so on the frequent occasions when people may or may not really be themselves it's a bit hard to notice the difference.There are some interesting ideas in the book (dried water, portable parking-spaces, how fey and demons work), but I felt like they were a bit neglected (particularly dried water, which is a massive smoking Chekhov's Gun that doesn't remotely pay off the anticipation, in fact the meagre bit you do get is rushed and doesn't really explain itself). This was mostly because Holt took the book in the same JWW direction that has already lost my interest: dreams, alternate realities and iterative time travel. One consequence is that it's impossible to puzzle out the plot yourself, so you're reduced to accepting developments as they come, and when they do they tend to feel pretty arbitrary. "Oh, look, he's ended up in another reality again, or possibly back in time, or maybe it's a dream, unless that previous bit was the dream... " A couple of other baffling things are explained away briefly in exposition at the end and that's really all you get.I just felt like this was a bit uninspired. Couple who don't really get on, check. Multiple layers of time-travel and reality-hopping, check. Dissatisfied, unsuccessful male protagonist tossed about by Fate and only occasionally finding the energy to fight back, check. Mysterious manipulative women with hidden agendas, check. People deceiving each other and not even understanding why, only to work it out at the end when the convoluted exposition occurs, check. Deux ex machinesque ending, check. There were some fun touches, don't get me wrong. I do not hate this book. It's a reasonable read, has some keenly-observed sections and ideas, and some very funny moments. If you're going on a long journey, there's no harm in picking it up at the station or airport - but expect to drop it off at a charity shop at the other end, rather than read it again.
gregandlarry on LibraryThing 7 months ago
OK but a bit silly. Couldn't really relate to most of it.
Aula on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Interesting premise and mostly interesting characters. Yet - as with so many of Tom Holt's books for me - he lost my interest about half way through and the rest was a slog. Too much in-depth internal dialogue that got boring for me; I found the plot a bit too complex and tedious.
paganpaul on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A very entertaining book, at least after I got through the first 80 pages. I didn't understand it upto there, but from there it was a hilarious read, with a nice twist at the end.
KayDekker on LibraryThing 7 months ago
It's a pity, but complex plotting doesn't necessarily make good writing. It takes a really excellent writer to tie her or his readers up in such tangles that at times they don't know whether they're coming or going, but without leaving them at the close wondering why all the complexity should have been necessary. Borges could do it; Lem could do it; Margaret Atwood can (sometimes) do it: Holt can't.If you liked his more recent work, it's a fair bet that you'll like this - particularly since Holt has yet again inserted several of his previous jokes and characters.My real beef with what Holt is doing nowadays is that there are already plenty of far less capable writers churning out this kind of stuff. He can do - has done - so much better. I'd happily have sacrificed his work from The Portable Door onwards - possibly even further back - for him to have written just one more of his Lucia books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining book but it does its time coming to a resolution. A very interesting plot but it takes a long time to resolve the various elements.