Disclaimer: English is my third language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. You can read this review also in spanish here.
Although I'm an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy I have many gaps in the classics of this genre. I can't avoid reading new books, as you know those who follow the blog regularly. I have come to wonder if a new section of classics in the blog will compel myself to discover renowned authors of which I haven't read nothing yet.
Tim Powers, author, among other successful novels of The Anubis Gates, is in this category.
Following the dynamic that characterizes my reading list, before reading his most famous and recognized works I've chosen a novelty, Medusas's Web, to be published shortly. I think my decision has not been entirely successful.
The story is a strange mixture of time travel, thriller and horror novels relationated with haunted houses. After the suicide of her aunt in mysterious circumstances, two brothers are called to her mansion in Hollywood to fulfill her last wish: to spend a week there as they used to when they were kids. In the mansion they will meet with their cousins, with whom there is not very good relation.
Much of the family is addicted to spiders, geometric representations that when are looked allow time travel so that the traveller gets into the skin of other people. On the same trip you visit both the past and the future in a very ingenious but quite complex system. The two brothers will have to solve some mysteries from the past to try to survive in the present.
I liked the author's style, especially the relationships between the characters and the dialogues established between them, with irony and black humor, and with a funny touch of resignation in front of all the fantastic events they must face. I also liked the surreal tone that permeates the novel and the fact that Powers doesn't put things easy for the reader; the plot has some difficult moments that generate intrigue and tension.
The problem is that, from the middle of the book more or less, once you are used to the system of time travel, the plot loses interest. It is too irregular, with interesting high points, but with long boring fragments. With fewer pages I'm sure it would have been a better book.
In short: a novel with an engaging style and a very interesting and original premise about time travel, but with a plot that ends up losing interest, probably because it's too long, and with some repetitions in the plot.
It will not be the last thing I read of this author, for sure, but this novel hasn't convinced me completely.