Sunday, June 1, 2014

Regina's song by David and Leigh Eddings

The story of the Greenleaf and Austin families is twined together in the town of Everett, thirty miles north of Seattle.  A friendship forged in the Vietnam War survived the war and the return stateside creating a brotherhood of choice, an extended family for both of the men that grows to include children.  For the Austin family their child was Mark, and seven years later the Greenleaf family welcomed twins Regina and Renata.  Over the years the close bond between the families turned Mark into a surrogate big brother for twins, who were so identical even their mother couldn't tell them apart without a few tricks - tricks that fell by the wayside when the twins were old enough to undo ribbons and clasps.  The twins have such a strong identity as twins that Mark dubs them the Twinkies, and addressed them individually as Twink.  When Mark moved away to college it could have been the end of the extended family, but he stayed closed with both his own family and the Greenleaf's.

When the unthinkable happens and one of the twins is brutally raped and murdered the remaining twin drops abruptly into insanity, reverting to the twin speak that the twins retained into their late teens.  When Mark visits the remaining Twink in the private asylum she recognises him, even though she doesn't recognise anyone else, and she slowly starts creeping back to the real world.  With the support of her doctor, Mark, and her aunt Mary Twink finally leaves the asylum and returns to the real world, moving to Seattle to live with her aunt while she audits one of Mark's courses at the University.  It seems like she is finally connecting the real world, regaining some of what she has lost, but she still has some bad days where she screams about blood, and wolves, and water.  When a serial murderer starts attacking people in Seattle and Twink starts having more bad days her father wants to bring her home, but Twink is desperate to keep her independence, and while Mark supports her an idea is starting to niggle at the back of his mind about Twink and the murders.

Regina's song is a genre bending novel that defies classification - refusing to fall neatly into any genre while blithely skipping across several seemingly incompatible genre.  This is one of those books that I re-read every five years or so because the atmosphere at times is spine tingling, especially when you get side swiped with aspects of unexpected genre, and while some of the writing is fairly pedestrian and mundane the idea behind the story and the ending is just "wow".  Telling too much about the story ruins some of the punch of the little supernatural twists, but this is one story that you need to experience and enjoy for yourself.  It is a little dated now, having been set in the mid to late 1990's but it is not so dated that you can not thoroughly immerse yourself in the world of small town Everett and the world of the University campus. 

The people who surround Mark and Twink are diverse and strong characters in their own right, and their various specialties add to the depth and strength of the story.  This is a story that is just crying out to be made into a movie or a television mini-series, although admittedly in places it would be a rather gory movie because of the murders.  It took me over a day to read the story because unfortunately the copy I have has really tiny print in an unusual font that makes it difficult to read in low light, but when I got down to the last 40 pages I had to finish in a spring to get to the ending. 

This book will not appeal to the average Edding's fan who likes the usual Edding's fare of gods and goddesses interfering in the lives of mere mortals across several novels, but it is an intriguing read that pushes the boundaries of what you are willing to believe - and pushing you to really examine what you consider to be right and wrong, the difference between justice and vengeance and which one is better.  From the reviews on Amazon it is pretty clear that this book is one that readers either love or hate, with no real middle ground.  It is also one of those books that sits in so many genre that it is not easy to recommend other books to try, but some of the books below may appeal, and some are already reviewed here so you can check out the reviews before borrowing or buying your own copies.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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