Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tinker by Wen Spencer

Tinker was a great new find by my husband. He found it on a staff recommended shelf in the sci-fi/fantasy section at a local bookstore. Given that the basis for the novel is Pittsburgh, our current residence, the choice at the store was not surprising. Husband read the book in one long sitting (around boys playing, dinner, bedtime, etc.) For him to pick up a book and not put it down until he is finished is not that unusual, but it is typically the sign of an engaging story.
I needed something light since most of my reading these days is interrupted every minute or two by arguing siblings, needs for water, requests for the sprinkler, you name it. Tinker was the perfect read for the middle of the summer.
The basic premise of the novel is that Pittsburgh has, through a scientific mistake, been transported to Elfhome - populated by. you guessed it, elves. Once a month for 24 hours Pittsburgh returns to Earth. This gives humans a chance to come and go, supplies to be traded, applications for college to be mailed, etc. Tinker is the main character of the story. She is an eighteen-year old genius who has lived her entire life in Pittsburgh/Elfhome and works maintaining the local junk yard. There are of course bad guys, good guys, magic spells, and a love story. The appeal of the novel is the unique world that Wen Spencer has created and the great sarcastic character that tells the story.
The line on the front of the book says the book will appeal to Buffy fans. There is a similarity between the sarcasm and wit of Buffy and of Tinker. There is also the parallel between the older magical being who becomes a helper/mate to the protagonist. If you liked Buffy, I would agree, you'll like Tinker.
When I finished I wished that I had the follow-up novel, Wolf Who Rules, because I do want to read more about the world that Spencer has created. She completed the story in Tinker, but she definitely left the book open for a sequel.
I will add one other caveat. According to Spencer's website, she has won awards for Romance. There is a pretty heavy romantic tilt to Tinker. I don't think romance is atypical in sci fi/fantasy but Spencer's story does have a romance style edge to it. The relationship revolves around physical attraction. It is not overtly sexual, but there is definitely eroticism.
All in all, a fun find. It was amusing to read about bridges and highways that I know, even if they had been transported to another realm.

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