April 15, 2011

Magic Time by Marc Zicree & Barbara Hambly

Title:  Magic Time
Author:  Marc Zicree & Barbara Hambly
Format:  PB
Pages:  422
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Harper, 2002
ISBN-13:  978-0061059575
Series:  Magic Time, Book 1

Favorite Quote:  "You may have noticed that certain events have been transpiring around us, demanding we extend ourselves to new and surprising heights.  I think we are in a process of transformation.  Not physical, all of us, but ... in other ways."

Synopsis (Amazon):  For rising young lawyer Cal Griffin, it's just another day in the Big City -- until the lights go off ... for good. Suddenly packs of pale crouched figures are stalking the darkened subways, monsters prowl Times Square, and the people all around Cal are ... changing. Similar weirdness is happening everywhere, from the dank, cold heart of a West Virginia coal mine to a remote lab in South Dakota -- where a team of government scientists has unwittingly invited something catastrophic into the world -- to the highest levels of power in Washington, D.C. And Cal Griffin is not the only one struggling to comprehend the surreal, devouring chaos surrounding him -- nor the only one who will be forced to accept a new role in this brave new world of nightmare and wonder. For the forces bled from the stilled machines are fueling a consciousness both newly born and ancient -- and more than one unlikely hero will be needed for the titanic battle between the darkness and the light.

Review:  I didn't know what to expect from this book.  It is set in modern times and tells the story of a governmental experiment gone horribly wrong.  It could have merely been a rehash of many other stories and it could have paled by comparison.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It is a fast-moving, thrilling novel.  The back-story is unique enough that no comparisons are even necessary.  The main characters are all great, each in their own way.  I especially like Doc, the immigrant doctor from Russia, and Goldie, the psychic homeless man.

The experiment, called by many names, but known mostly as The Source, has changed the world and the people in it.  Some of the changes seem benign, even good.  Many of them seem dark and evil.  Not everyone is even affected and the changes vary from person to person.  At this point, I believe the Change comes upon a person and recreates them to a form most nearly what they deserve, based on their own personality and values.  Whatever the reason for the numerous types of changes, all the changed people have become creatures from fantasy, or very nearly so.

The base of The Source rests somewhere in the Western U.S. and it is calling, dragging, and drawing the changed ones to itself.  Cal's sister is one of these and he must try to save her, with help from his friends.  I have already begun the second book of this trilogy and can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Rating:  8.5 / 10

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