The Obsidian Blade – Pete Hautman

Tucker lives a rather boring existence with his preacher father and devout mother.  Tucker notices odd shimmerings in the sky, like little holes or disks in the fabric of the sky.  One day, dad disappears off the roof near where Tucker saw a shimmer.  Later in the day, dad straggles home looking worn out, wearing odd blue foot socks, and walking with a strange orphan girl holding a kitten.  He’s not talking about what happened to him, only that now, he is convinced there is no God.  Next his mother goes downhill, fixating on numbers and falls deep into the throws of melancholia that doctors can’t treat.  Tucker’s dad decides the only hope is taking his wife through the shimmer.  We can all guess the shimmers are holes in time and space (reference to Time Bandits  – watch the movie, it’s a classic!)  Tucker gets tired of waiting for dad to return, so off he goes through a shimmer and his own bizarre encounters.

This is one weird story.  I like weird stories . . . still trying to figure this one out.  I’ve got too many questions, like where did the kitten come from and what’s Lahlia’s story? Hoping the rest of the series will help it all make sense, but I don’t think the intent of the story is to make sense, at least not at this point in the series.  One of the many cool things about Pete Hautman’s writing is that he nails the boy characters.  Tucker is mischievous but likeably so.  I truly enjoyed the first part of the book with the introduction to Tucker’s character; the goofing around with his friends and his relationship with his uncle.  Best for readers who like twists and turns and delvings into the time space continuum and are okay with things not making sense.  Readers who enjoyed the parallel universes of Michael Lawrence’s Withern Rise Trilogy (A Crack in the Line) and William Sleator’s equally odd novels should enjoy the multiple destinies/paths of Tucker and his diskos travelling family.

Side note – I’m seeing more authors with warnings about our reliance upon digital devices.  From the galley, “We must return ourselves to a state of grace.  No cell phones, no computers, no electronic devices feeding upon our senses, no falling upon the digital sword of technology.”

NetGalley Review    Publication date  4.10.12

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