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A Red Heart of Memories

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Red Heart of Memories (1999) Nina Kiriki Hoffman

I really like Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s writing. She reminds me a bit of Charles de Lint, probably because the both write about magic just under the surface of our world. Things are such that if we just looked a tiny bit harder, we’d see the magic too. It’s our world, only it’s magical. And it explains all those things you thought you saw out of the corner of your eye, but never stopped to look.

Matt has been wandering for years; never staying too long in one place, just long enough to make friends and move on to the next place. She also can talk with things. Specifically, created things. No door is barred to her, to machine too complex. But her strange talent and her past mean she is uncomfortable staying in any one place for too long.

Edmund is a witch, who wanders around trying to fix things. People or things, he goes where the Spirit leads him, and this time the Spirit leads him to Matt.

I read A Stir of Bones earlier this year, so I was already familiar with Edmund and Susan, however, A Red Heart of Memories takes place decades after, so it was really like meeting them for the first time. Which we really were, since this was written before A Stir of Bones.

I think the best part of Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s writing is her characters. They seem like people you would really like to meet, except that when you think about it, they’re the people that you see every day, only you cross the street when you see them coming because they look different, or you don’t pay attention to them when you see them at work, maybe because you think they’re boring or stuck-up.

I did get a bit confused at one point, when Matt and Edmund visited Abby, Edmund’s sister. I didn’t quite understand what was happening, or why. However, things were eventually explained, and made sense. But for awhile there it was slow going, as I tried to figure out what was going on.

But for the most part, I really liked A Red Heart of Memories. I didn’t think the writing was quite as strong as in A Stir of Bones or A Fistful of Sky, but it is still good, and very enjoyable.

If you have not read anything by Nina Kiriki Hoffman before, this book–or any other–would be a great place to start. Although A Red Heart of Memories and A Stir of Bones contain the same characters, they are complete stories in and of themselves, and can be enjoyed in any order.
Rating: 7/10

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