Indigara by Tanith Lee is a fast, fun read. I got it at Half Price Books for $4.98 when I met The Page Flipper on my cross country road trip. Although it is a slim hardcover, almost $5 is a pretty high price for me to pay for a book. A lot of the books I got that day were from my wishlist or recommendations from Chelsea, but Indigara was a pure impulse buy.
The cover of Indigara really appeals to my interest in cyberpunk and technology but for the most part, the book did not live up to all that the cover promised. I am still trying to figure out if it was just lacking something or if I had false expectations. I love books that play with concepts and warping of reality. This book has the main character, Jet, falling into some sort of old movie and getting stuck there.
The first half of the book was really fresh and funny. But the second half of the book really lost me. One of the dangers of playing with the reality of the main character is not giving the reader anything to grasp onto. Indigara didn’t build up enough depth for the chaos to hold up. “’I believe when a real living person. such as Rena Kimber, or Bennet Ash. enters Indigara. they leave a sort of echo—a sort of shadow of themselves behind them, outside, in the real world.’”
In a way Indigara is a bit like an Oz or Wonderland. But in another it isn’t anything like it because it lacks the sort of charm that compels the reader to return. Confusion simply swirls into more confusion as Jet tries to understand the world she is stuck in and how she got there. Jet’s struggles to get out Indigara don’t connect with her struggles in her real life.
I don’t really know why but this book really reminded me Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker. I guess there is something in a whimsical quality of the storytelling that is similar. In the end, Indigara came together for me a bit more than I expected. Unfortunately for me it wasn’t enough to redeem the weird and confusing middle of the book that I had a really difficult time connecting with.
It is interesting because as I was close to finishing the book I started reading some of the blurbs on the back. They make the book sound amazing. They make the book sound like something I would love. Did I miss something? Am I mistaken? I often wonder if sometimes my reading experience had more to do with my frame of mind than the reality of the story and the writing. I am not sure if there is really any definitive way to explore this. But I have found that anytime I have go to reread a book I didn’t enjoy, I tend to have a similar reaction, though possibly combined with a better understanding of its positive qualities.
“Tanith Lee has given us a map to the outer limits of imagination.” – Washington Post
“Shows how brilliantly a write can incorporate poetiic fancy with skillful plotting and characteriation. Lee is a master of lyricism.” - SFReader
In Indigara Jet finds herself on a movie set, but not just a set, stuck inside some sort of reality that used to be a movie. There are lots of great books that play with a similar concept but in a more unique and successful way.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The Sylvie Cycle by Roderick Townley
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Wake series by Lisa McMann
Choices by Deborah Lynn Jacobs
Dreamhunter series by Elizabeth Knox
The Black Book series by Jonah Black
Have you read any books that played with the concepts of reality? Which of these types of books have you enjoyed?