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Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
Reviewed: 2014-12-30, 02:15, My Rating: 3.5 out of 5, review contains spoilers: No
In the end, there's probably not too much to add to my interim post on Midnight Robber.
Certainly there were no real surprises to the ending. Tan-Tan passes through not-nice back to a character I cared about, and matures. The ending is fitting, and earned.
The book is written in Jamaican patois. Not having read the physical book, I have no idea how well it reads - it might take a lot of getting used to - but in the audiobook, Robin Miles does a fantastic job of rendering it comprehensible.
So many times I was reminded of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (which I really ought to get round to reviewing). There's a lot of shared background, including the Anansi mythology on which both build in their different ways. Both are lightly seasoned with folk tales - Anansi stories/Tan-Tan stories - though I have to say that some of the Tan-Tan stories rambled rather too much to hold my attention - that is responsible for the loss of a star.
Not mentioned in my interim post were the aliens. They were well drawn for the most part, though at times a little black or white in their roles. At the risk of simplifying too much, their role was predominantly that of the Native Americans - certainly it wasn't hard to find analogues for a Tonto figure, though I would not say that the Midnight Robber was always the Lone Ranger.
I remain sceptical that enough YA readers would push through the Tan-Tan aged seven chapters, and the descriptions of abuse definitely rule the book out for middle-grade readers. The book asks its readers to empathise with characters across a wide spectrum of ages, which lifts it above the common herd of YA books, but does make it harder to pigeonhole. That makes it a good choice for adventurous readers - of all ages - not looking clones of the latest fad.
So overall a rather more uneven and less mature work than Sister Mine , but Nalo Hopkinson remains an author whose oeuvre I will continue to explore.Midnight Robber on Amazon