Review: Up Jim River by Michael Flynn

Up Jim River by Michael Flynn
Up Jim River by Michael Flynn

Up Jim River
Michael Flynn
Tor, 2010

First Line:  This is her song, but she will not sing it, and so that task must fall to lesser lips.

Up Jim River is the sequel to Flynn’s 2008 novel The January Dancer (review), picking up almost immediately at where the first novel left off.  Where The January Dancer was written as a story being told, sort of an extended flashback with brief interludes in the here and now, Up Jim River takes place entirely in the present.  If you haven’t read The January Dancer you really ought to stop now and go ahead and do that.  These are two books that are part of one story and reading one without first reading the other will not only deprive you of essential information but deny you the chance to experience Flynn’s masterful use of language from the start.  Like The January Dancer before it Up Jim River uses a very poetic style that is more reminiscent of a fantasy novel rather than a futuristic space adventure.  However where The January Dancer’s narrative style occasionally bogged down the plot Up Jim River maintains a laser focus on the here and now telling a tighter story, with deeper characterization, and without sacrificing any of the linguistic wonder that Flynn so easily captures.

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