Baker, Kage: (04) The Graveyard Game

My reaction to Kage Baker’s The Graveyard Game, the fourth Company novel, can be summed up thusly:

Woo! Plot! All the way through!

Which is to say, the book opens with Joseph and Lewis (introduced briefly in Sky Coyote) deciding to search for Mendoza after Mendoza in Hollywood, and thus avoids the prior books’ pattern of spending a while enjoying historical ambience before the plot kicks in. They go questing, learn lots of nasty things about the Company, and find the burdens of their past increasing in different ways, as Joseph wrestles with his guilt and Lewis slowly unravels. And then—cliffhanger! Off in at least one unexpected direction!

Yay, plot.

It’s possible that the unexpected direction could end up being somewhat wacky or over the top, or that the future portrayed in the series (this book spans 1996-2276) could get on my nerves. But I’m willing to roll with those possibilities for now because I like the characters and appreciate the momentum that’s being built up. (In that regard, it may be a mistake to go to one of the short story collections next, but I like reading in publication order.)

The other thing of note here is the point of view, which is omniscient wrapped in a first-person framing device. The omni is a bit peculiar in a series that had been so tightly first-person until now, but I can see why the expanded nature of the story demanded it. (Also, randomly, it made me belatedly notice that Sky Coyote lacked an external framing device.)

Kudos to Tor, by the way, for bringing the entire series back into print, even if it does mean that my copies will be a mix of trade and mass market paperbacks.

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