Friday, July 01, 2005

That Mutant Gene Thing: Rhiannon Lassiter

Hex: Shadows (Basingstoke: MacMillan, 1999).
Hex: Ghosts, (Basingstoke: MacMillan, 2000).

I'm cheating here as I haven't found the first in the sequence (this seems to be a pattern for me with Lassiter, I now have the companion volumes to Outland only to have lost it.)

I suspect these are early novels in Lassiter's career. They contain too much exposition and are very like Margaret Haddix's The Hidden sequence--mutants are hiding out from the European Federation government which distrusts their ability to manipulate the net--but are set in London and the children are older and rather more savvy. There is more than a touch of X-Men here, but one of the things I like is that with the exception of Raven, the children seem talented rather than spectacular.

There are also a few gaffes; by this I mean things that elsewhere Lassiter makes it clear she understands. My favourite was the one hundred year old computer disks that will still be readable, when she has made it clear that the net has grown and developed.

Other things I liked: although there is too much exposition, frequently it is of events which took place between books or which takes place off stage to explain the relationship of apparently unconnected groups. So the issue here is Lassiter still developing technique, rather than an apparent belief that her readership is stupid.

One thought tho that has been bugging me a while: emotional trauma either turns characters catatonic or leaves only the occasional reverie. This isn't just Lassiter: an awful lot of these writers seem to be unsure how to incorporate learning experiences into their young characters lives without actually stating it upfront, so we get told about the effect on them, but not actually shown it.


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