Next up: “Tea with the Black Dragon” by R.A. MacAvoy.
A book that was recommended to me by a kind individual on the internet who understood my love of shapeshifting characters.
“Tea with the Black Dragon” is the story of Martha Macnamara, who has come to San Francisco at the behest of her distant daughter Elizabeth. However, when she arrives, Elizabeth has disappeared. Confused and worried, Martha is not certain what to do. By chance, she befriends Mayland Long, a Chinese gentleman who lives at the luxurious high-end hotel where she’s staying. After divulging the reason behind her travels to San Francisco, Mayland offers to assist her in finding her daughter. However, partway through their investigations, Martha disappears as well, leaving Mayland alone to figure out what, precisely, Elizabeth was up to, where she is, and where Martha has vanished to.
This was a very enjoyable read. I was a little uncertain, beginning it. I was afraid it would be one of the books where it’s very unclear whether the ‘magic’ has actually happened, or if it is imagination/wishful thinking/etc. Those always disappoint me. But while this book may start out with you questioning the magic, it leaves no confusion in the end.
It is an interesting read in part because the main characters are older than the usual fare of scifi/fantasy novels. Martha is in her fifties, and Mayland is… um. Older. They are much more established as individuals, as people. There’s no self-questioning or desperate-urges to prove oneself. I liked the different perspective the older point of view(s) gave the narrative.
This is a relatively short novel, especially when compared with recent trends of 800+ pagers. However, it doesn’t feel lacking at all. MacAvoy used sparse prose to great effect in the novel. It’s not florid, or rambling. It’s very efficient storytelling, yet it doesn’t want for detail. The story is complete, though there is apparently a sequel (which I have not read).