Sirk TV Book Review: STREET FREAKS [Grim Oak Press]

Author Terry Brooks has the ability as a writer to make the essence of a word stand out and be both modern and retro, naturalistic and impressionistic. His latest is no different. But like one of my favorite novels “Magic Kingdom For Sale – Sold”, it exists on its own merits. It is its own world both lithe but insistent with character, well drawn but individual. Unlike the “Shannara” precepts which is its own world, his new novel “Street Freaks” [Terry Brooks/Grim Oak Press/384pgs] creates something new in its urban perception while still integrating Brook’s signature storytelling style. Ash, the lead, is a catalyst of sorts but only to allow us into the world and anchor our perceptions. It is those around him that provide the heart in many ways but through their own perception. Much like what “Battle Angel Alita” is striving to be, Brooks brings it into a point of view that both young and older can enjoy. The background of jacked up racers is just the construct. The aspect of Ash when he is learning to drive with T.J. or driving with Cay gives all the perceptions that “Fast & Furious” delivers while providing an undeniably cinematic construct and underlying thrust of narrative. There are also many parallels to say “Rogue One” as well in terms of a family bonded together even in death. The structural points including the slow reveal of truth but also the revelation of love (done very subtly by the way) in the essence of Cay comes off very natural.

Again that basis of old school storytelling balanced with a modern sensibility makes the story work. The technology Brooks introduces is just effective enough without having to explain too much. The notion of memory is a big plot direction as well as a metaphor in terms of how it plays, how it is remembered and how it feels (much in the way certain parts of “Inception” propel that story). The race day and Oracle sequences and how those play out work as well as any big blockbuster set piece whereas aspects like in the cottage either mid story or through the end can play like a old 40s film or Hitchcock movie. An actress related to this writer recently related that female roles are moving back to the ability to be feminine and strong “like they were in the 40s” instead of what she said the recent trend towards “girly”. “Street Freaks” adds a perception of that with gusto with women taking the lead and action in most of the story in much a similar fashion. “Street Freaks” is an original world with homages to what came before it but continues to show Terry Brooks has not lost any of that magic and still propels and shows his ability to create a lived and breathed in world with characters both engaging and dynamic in an entertaining, emotional and cinematic way.

A-

By Tim Wassberg

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Posted on October 1, 2018, in Other Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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