Alternate Routes by Tim Powers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having read a number of Tim Power books, I knew enough to expect some RATHER interesting juxtapositions of ideas turned into a huge worldbuilding conceit and a wide exploration of possibilities.
A big mix of mythologies, history, and even poetry? Yep. Ovid, Daedalus, and Dryden mix with a ghost uprising directly tied to the American highway system, and underneath it all, we have an incursion of unreality, the Minotaur's Labyrinth, and a pretty traditional UF hidden beneath these layers.
UF? Well, I don't normally associate Tim Powers with UF, but this is definitely one. I usually thought of him as a proto-UF writer, influencing the later writers with similar ideas.
Honestly, I think I would have preferred a traditional Tim Powers novel. He IS very strong with quirky characters, but quirkiness doesn't always equate to emotionally satisfying characters. But he IS also very strong with ideas, so it's not like I'm complaining about the quality of the book. It's a rich book.
I spent a lot more time figuring out the magic system and its rules than getting into the MC's dynamic. It is what it is! :)
I DID make some heavy connections between this book and Chuck Wendig's Miriam Black series and Seanan McGuire's Ghost Roads series.
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