Charles de Lint: Jack of Kinrowan



I m re reading all the Charles de Lint books I own and setting them free through BookCrossing I thought I d found all the magic worlds I could love and believe in but this book proved me wrong It feels like it wasn t written by a man and I mean that as a compliment since the protagonists are women He did well I liked this book It s rough around the edges apparently it s one of de Lint s earlier works but it s a great adventure ust the sameJacky Rowan is the main character in this collection of two novels She s a Jack in the old sense of the word she s full of tricks and a lot of luck If you re a fan of de Lint you know what comes next Faeries are everywhere and they re under attack Jacky wants to help but is she lucky enough for THISI m a sucker for old school fantasy and this fits the bill It s a romping adventure that features faerie biker gangs and god like fiddlers I recommend to anyone who loves urban fantasyGiving it three stars for a good story I only wish it were polished The two books contained in this omnibus edition are about Jacky and Kate two ordinary Ottawa women who get drawn into the machinations of Faerie Definitely not my favorites by de Lint I wish Goodreads allowed half stars because I think this book is really a 35 Jack the Giant Killer retells the Jack motif from folklore de Lint has a good twist by making this Jack a Jacky The strange thing it that the interesting character for me at least is her friend Kate Crackernuts Hazel Kate seems to be of a living character The story makes wonderful use of fairy motif and allusions and what de Lint book doesn t The one weak spot was that romance in particualr the closing pair seemed not so much forced as put in the belief that readers want it The second book Drink Down the Moon isn t totally Jacky s story in fact she feels absent even though she is there There is a fairy romance of a sorts but while it doesn t feel forced it lacks depth The saving grace is the character of Kate and her trick with her book It s a nice book One of the best of the best This book was my introduction to the writing of Charles de Lint One of the very best authors ever I started with his Jack of Kinrowan and then read Moonheart and never left Charles de Lint is one of the pioneers of urban fantasy This book set in Ottawa Ontario Canada is a brilliant trip into this genre I absolutely devoured this book in ust a few sittings The characters are likeable the story is rich and de Lint s style makes it easy to get into and tough to put down I live in Ottawa so the areas described in the book are well known to me however de Lint is brilliant at making you know the area the story takes placeThis is simply a great trip into a great fantasy world Charles De Lint is a fairly well known name among urban fantasy authors and seems to be highly regarded As I ve read most of the books by his contemporaries Emma Bull recently but I d also include Tim Power and James Blaylock amongst that list it seemed like someone worth trying at some point especially since he has a decently fervent fan baseThis is an omnibus of sorts collecting two novels based around the same character Jacky Kinrowan a young woman recently reeling from a breakup who decides to cut her hair and fall into the world of faerie in that order but not intentionally so Along the way she finds she has to deal with the Seelie and Unseelie Courts and their endless war against each other navigate her role as The Jack despite the fact she has no magical abilities although she does have the accidental luck of Inspector Gadget on her side Oh and she s Canadian which means she s probably nicer than anyone you knowThese are somewhat early novels by De Lint but not super early in his career apparent beloved fan favorite Moonheart was published almost three years before the first novel here in 1984 and they definitely come across as a combination of someone still figuring out his style and a collection of moments that remind you of other better moments in other fantasy novels even ones that were done later In De Lint s world much like a lot of other fantasy writers the faerie world exists alongside ours but can t really be seen but once seen brings the protagonist into a world of magic and wonder and danger that involves them in a situation they don t ask for but with a variety of pluck and friends in the right places they manage to overcome all the stuff that should be working against themThe problem is that a lot of it feels weightless without much depth to it Problems abound from the opening scenes of Jack the Giant Killer where a boyfriend bereft Jacky witnesses the Wild Hunt a bunch of guys on motorcycles which only reminded me of a similar and effective scene in Matt Wagner s comic series Mage It doesn t take long for Jacky to get involved in a rescue situation where she has to Jack of Kinrowan An acknowledged classic of contemporary fantasy Jack of Kinrowan brings together in one volume Charles de Lint's rollicking saga of wild faerie magic on the streets of the city Hurled into the mythical land of Faerie by a faceless gang of bikers young Jacky Rowan is stunned when she is immediately hailed as the legendary hero

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They ll devour anything that even partially resembles it even if the result is a hollow facsimile trapping the echoes of other works inside itself and hoping that if the structure warps the sound enough you won t recognize it from its source If you ve exhausted your fantasy library and absolutely have to read something that mentions faeries then this is a harmless but toothless option never raising its pulse over pleasant But there s other work far worth your time perhaps even stuff by De Lint himself This is merely a shadow Solid urban fantasy set in Ottawa and sticking pretty close to the traditional British Isles faerie creatures Sidhe the Slaugh trolls kelpies giants hobs spriggans the Wild Hunt shapechangers dwarves pooka hags bogans swan maidens and swan men and goblins Characters in these two books do mention that the fae came across to the New World with European settlers to find that the natives had their own magical beings already but these beings are never seen in these stories Jack of Kinrowan is actually two books originally published separately In Jack the Giant Killer the first of two novellas in this book Jacky Rowan has ust realized that her life is not going where she wants it to go She drifts along refusing to take care of her life and ust staying at home doing nothing She decides to change her life after a nasty breakup In a fit of piue she goes out drinking alone Staggering home she sees a little man being chased by 9 men on motorcycles She tries to help him but the little man is killed She runs to a nearby house to try to get help but no one answers the door She runs back to where the little man s body was only to see it disappear leaving behind only a red capThe next day she almost convinces herself that the alcohol was Eros Unbound (Great Loves, just making her see things that weren t there but she can t explain where she got the cap from She puts it on and starts to see people straight out of Faerie She eventually finds out that the Unseelie Court has been getting stronger and stronger and has actually stolen the local Laird s daughter The Seelie Court is so weak that everyone is afraid to go in search of the poor girl Jacky decides toust go looking herself With a hob s stitcheries giving her invisibility and swiftness the help of her best friend Kate and a whole heap of a Jack s luck Jacky sets out to set the local Faerie courts to rightsI loved how Jack becomes Jacky in this story Who says women can t be clever lucky tricksters She fills the role of Jack perfectly coming up with ingenious solutions to problems and avoiding pitfalls in the tradition of the best fairy tales I also loved how Jacky reached out and took control of her life It obviously can be done but it s usually easier to Ma mre m'a tu - Survivre au gnocide des Tutsis au Rwanda just keep going with the flow It takes real bravery to make a real changeWhat I have always loved about Charles de Lint is the way he weaves fantasy into modern life Yeah urban fantasy is common now but de Lint was one of the earliest authors in the genre Reading this for the first time years ago I loved how urban Faerie have developed a tolerance for iron And why wouldn t the Wild Hunt appear on Harleys This is taking place in the 20th century after all Iust liked the idea that there is to the world than meets the eye and fairies are not fragile creatures who can only survive in the wilds They would have to be adaptable I love Charles de Lint because of his characters I can t say that Jacky and her friend Kate are some of my favorites but I do love to read about their friendship They are silly and brave and honest with each other and neither would ever abandon the other The other novella Drink Down the Moon was not as strong for me Jacky has gotten a little over confident and makes some big mistakes As a result an evil force has wrought havoc on the wild faerie and has started causing big damage in her area of Faerie Kinrowan Kate is the true hero who realizes what s going on and starts acting on it There are two parallel plots throughout most of this story I was most interested in Jacky and Kate s story On a straight read it gets a little old to read about the humans Johnny and Henk going through the same bewilderment that Jacky and Kate went through as they adapted to Faerie in Jack the Giant Killer The books were published years apart and reprinted together later so that s not entirely de Lint s faultThe wild faeries that Johnny and Henk stumble onto are a little too belligerent and blood thirsty for my taste They have been through a lot but it s not the humans fault I did like mercurial Jemi and her relationship with Johnny but the rest were very angry and bitterSo 4 stars for Jack the Giant Killer and 3 stars for Drink Down the Moon I ll round up to 4 because I love de Lint so much His Newford books are still my favorites but this was a very strong entry in his body of work. Kster hero whose lot is to save the Elven Courts from unimaginable evilDrink Down the Moon Once the realm of Faerie drew its power from the Moon herself But now a ghastly creature has stolen that power and enslaved the Fair Folk and Jacky Rowan herself Only Johnny Faw a handsome fiddler unaware of his magical gifts has the power to set them fre.

Ave the daughter of a powerful ruler from the Unseelie Court enlisting the help of new friends in the process and relying on the fierce sassy attitude of her best friend KateDe Lint has clearly done his research and even if he does get bonus points for setting the action in Ottawa of all places there are times when it seems that the story exists to depict the various members of the world of faerie and give us reasons to go meet them all leading eventually to slight plot coupon feel where Jacky has to collect the new magical object or talk to the next interesting person to move forward in her plans most of which seem to fall into place by happenstance anyway She comes across as nice and willing but innocuous with the hint of romance between her and another faerie oddly chaste and lacking almost all chemistry anyway so for the most part you re impressed at the scenery as the parade of various denizens of the mystical realms appear to either help or harass poor Jacky The problem is that De Lint often has a hard time making this feel magical Where a John Crowley can imbue such a situation with a dreamy weight that feels like a half remembered dream or Neil Gaiman can impart a feeling of impending lost innocence and deadly menace De Lint mostly plods along without breaking a sweat too much relying that we want to see Jacky succeed because her and Kate are nice people and the other court is capital E evil than anything anyone does or earns While he gets credit for including two women as lead characters stripped of any sense of the personal that the best fantasy can have whether it s Matt Wagner basically writing a metaphorical version of his autobiography in Mage or Emma Bull constructing a version of her life that never existed in War for the Oaks and making it feel real through her connection with the music scene you re left with a story where the magic is all in the funny names and bizarre situations While Jacky does her best to struggle it never feels like anything is at stake in the same way that War for the Oaks where the decision to stick it out versus running for her life felt like a choice with real conseuences for everyone involved It all lopes along easily but the closest it comes to actual magic is the character of the gruagargh the only person that seems to have a sense of weight and age and mystery that the rest of the novel seems to lack the hint that there are mysteries that can t be explained and probably won t be something that Little Big and even Holdstock s Mythago Wood seem to do effortlessly The only thing effortless seems to be the climax which achieves Gaiman levels of But it s the Mes recettes au baby-robot journey that s important right But it s a pleasant read even if it s not super memorableUnfortunately once the shock of the new wears off you re left with another story in pretty much the same style when he returns to the characters for Drink Down the Moon Jacky and Kate have roles in their newobs but for the most part the story focuses on new characters a fiddler that gets caught up in events when someone tries to steal the power of the moon and a friend who is half faerie but has a sister who is fully in the realm of faerie De Lint spends too much time focusing on them and not enough on what could be the far interesting story Jacky screwing up her first real crisis and all the conseuences that stem from that and how everyone has to deal with the fact that the girl in charge they re all trusting to solve their problems doesn t have the slightest idea what she s doing But again it all slides down easily as everyone romps around in situations that don t hold any surprises As lacking in inner lives as Jacky and Kate are at times Kate s wacky best friend shtick is light years entertaining than the often colorless supporting characters that the novel introduces Even the villain who is supposed to be dangerous enough to ruin everything holds none of the mystery and swaggering menace that he barely gathers to himself before he s revealed and afterwards isn t much better than a B grade villain ranting and raving his one trick briefly taking Jacky out of the picture isn t something he apparently is able to repeat even after he s in a position to do it again giving everyone time to fumble together a way to stop him And once again the climax comes far too easily and uickly ending it on a note so lightweight you might find yourself wondering if you somehow missed the climax a variation on music brings out the real magic done far better and viscerally in the rock and roll oriented War for the OaksBut both these novels stand as missed opportunities given a chance to really evoke a world of wonder and mystery De Lint often seems like he s coasting on our memories of other better novels and is willing to hope that his audience is so eager to read stories like what they already adore that. Ack of Kinrowan and directed to save the land from a treacherous evil forceContentsJack the Giant Killer A faceless gang of bikers on Wild Hunt through the streets of present day Ottawa hurtles young Jacky Rowan across the threshold into the perilous land of Faerie There to her dismay she is hailed as the Jack of Kinrowan a once and future tric.

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Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of than seventy adult young adult and children's books Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre he is the recipient of the World Fantasy Aurora Sunburst and White Pine awards among others Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll conducted by Random House and voted on by readers put eight of de Lint's b