Hang Wire by Adam Christopher
Ted Hall is worried.
He’s been sleepwalking, and his somnambulant travels appear to coincide
with murders by the notorious Hang Wire Killer.
circus has come to town, but the Celtic dancers are taking their pagan
act a little too seriously, the manager of the Olde Worlde Funfair has
started talking to his vintage machines, and the new acrobat’s frequent
absences are causing tension among the performers.
Out in the
city there are other new arrivals – immortals searching for an ancient
power – a primal evil which, if unopposed, could destroy the world!
Adam Christopher's books have received many praises by lot of different reviewers, I have always wanted to read one of his books to see whether it was true. So when I was presented with the chance to read his latest book, Hang Wire (luckily a stand-alone), out this February by Angry Robots, I couldn't say no. And I have to second the opinion of many other reviewers. Adam Christopher's books are that good! No wait... they are great!!
To be honest when I read the synopsis of the book I didn't really have a clue as to what would be told in Hang Wire. There are several leads that might steer you into one direction but when you start reading it first takes you to the past, 1906 and 1889, and there is pretty weird stuff going on in those times. Then the story opens up with our main protagonist Ted, in present day San Fransisco. I was like OK... lets just go with the flow. This doesn't mean that I hated the story this confusion was good. And these early events really payed off when I could relate them with the latter events of the books, it's like those time when you have those moments that the penny drops (don't know whether this is a correct saying but we have one in Dutch which I literally translated). Anyway back to Ted. He is celebrating his birthday at a Chinese restaurant and when he finished with fortune cookie, it opens with a literal bang, it explodes with something magical. Yes you read that correctly a fortune cookie! Soon after these events Ted starts to behave differently, having sleep walking episodes and more weird stuff going on. The events with the fortune cookie is just the beginning of a much grander and darker plot that has been set into motion.
Coinciding the the weird stuff that surround Ted's character are several dark and gruesome murders claimed by the Hand Wire Killer. These murders have only come to show after a new circus, The Olde Worlde Funfair has come to town, completed with an eccentric set of performers to say the least. This circus has all the types from tightrope acrobats to clowns and even Celtic Dancers. However one of the performers: High Wire, is frequently absent in his doings much to the annoyance of the other performers.
The storyline of Hang Wire is set up from multiple perspectives and mainly from the above mentioned characters: Ted and High Wire. Ted's storyline was one that I found very interesting after the events of the fortune cookie he is not feeling well, but tries to get the best out of his current life and tries to live it as best as possible. For the most part Ted you are kept pretty much in the dark about what is truly happening to Ted's character, his episodes of fainting are getting more and more frequent but what really is going on is only revealed later on, I did like reading about Ted a lot, he is this kind off nerdy guy and blogger and this totally reflects back in his attitude and his character. Next to Ted, High Wire makes up a majority of the story in Hang Wire, now perhaps you are guessing High Wire a tightrope artist, his absence and the Hang Wire Killer, well I am not going to say anything at all. Just that you will be utterly suprised by how his parts end. Similarly like Ted I enjoyed High Wire's story quite a lot, his parts never lost the pacing and when you look at all the perspectives that you follow in the book, also those of the Olde World Funfair manager Joel, or the Gods, yes I will get to that in a second, it's all very good and cool stuff to read. The pages for me just flew by, Adam Christopher has a way with creating a great natural flow and utterly fast pacing in Hang Wire. Be careful that you don't have any plans in the afternoon when you pick it up... you wont be able to put this book down.
Now Urban Fantasy. Hang Wire is classified as that. However. There aren't any vampire's or werewolves or any of that, but well yes there are Gods but even these aren't the standard ones. Adam Christopher shows his own interpretation of the popular UF genre. Ok so I promised the Gods, this was just brilliantly executed. It's not the almighty all powerful Gods that you have read before but the Gods have claimed bloodlines and lineages, and "godhood" if you can name it that, is passed on from generation to generation. Even in this you are kept pretty much in the dark about which characters are the immortal walking among the mortal, but when you find out how it actually works all the past dialogues and scenes and events all fall in to place.
But what about the action? When it goes down, it goes down full force! The start-up and middle parts of the story really focus on giving the reader one hint at a time about the history of several characters and help to make the present storyline makes sense. The first half did feature some action but only in snippets. Though this didn't take away that it wasn't good, more on the contrary it really helped to put up a great foundation for a cracking and full storm ending of the book. In the end there is just this perfect battle scene with the Gods and the other supernatural creature in Hang Wire, that brought me directly to the edge of my seat. I do have to remain very vague about everything else it would spoil just too much of the story. But with the incarnation of a warrior god and the god of the ocean, life and death, you know the action will be pretty tight! And with what Ted has become... well... (yes I know now you will be eager to pick it up! and so you should)
Hang Wire is a awesome read (and that's understating it by far), from the first pages I was hooked. Not only has Adam Christopher written a great story, it is also his writing style that readily pulled me in and never let me go. Despite what other people might have said about the coherency of the story I didn't have this problem at all, yes I have to admit the start was a bit weird, but it was good weird, I just abandoned the normal layout of a story and embraced the story as itself and it worked, later on you learn by bits of information handed to you what actually went down and how it did. All the later events and information was easily relatable to the earlier parts and slowly, like for me a good story has to, it all falls into place and for Hang Wire I can safely say expect the unexpected. There are a quite many twists and turns along the story and some pretty cool action. I am always very happy to see when authors take an existing genre or genres further and twist it into their own vision and leave their mark on it, this is exactly what Adam Christopher did with Hang Wire, this crime/thriller urban fantasy mash-up has all the good things of each genre going on without the usual tropes. Too bad Hang Wire is a standalone but I will definitely look forward to reading more of Adam Christopher's book in the future.