My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dead Waters displays the growth of Anton Strout as a novelist as much as it shows Simon Canderous’ growth as a person. This fourth installment in the Simon Canderous series is (like each installment before) better than its predecessors — which works out great for me, because I’ve enjoyed all four of them.
The best part of this series (next to the characters) is the way Strout mixes magic into the real world. The adversary in this go ’round brings the challenge in the best mix of magic, myth and technology I can remember. Worth the read just for this.
The humor sprinkled (sometimes heavily) throughout the tale isn’t forced, like I think it was earlier in the series. It flows from the characters and the situations naturally.
Simon’s partner, Connor, still doesn’t get as much screen time as he should, but the partnership does seem stronger this go around — and Connor’s character feels more like a person. Maybe its because Connor’s family situation is a bit more settled, or maybe it’s just the nature of the case. Doesn’t matter, it’s a lot of fun.
Speaking of fun, Jane, Simon’s girlfriend really gets to strut her stuff magically here, frankly, I’d love to read a solo adventure or two featuring her. More pressing for our hero, however, is the fact that she’s putting pressure on him to deepen their relationship — which causes Simon to go through a good amount of maturing (or at least to consider it).
The ending of Dead Waters is one I should’ve seen coming, it was telegraphed like crazy. BUT, I’d spent most of the book convinced Strout was telegraphing something else, so what do I know? Frankly, I’m not crazy about the major character development that happened at the end, I’m afraid it will lead to this series losing some of what sets it apart from the rest of the genre and become a little more like typical Urban Fantasies. But I figure Strout’s gonna pull this off right and show me I’m worrying for nothing.
I should add here, that almost immediately after finishing this, I sent a tweet Strout’s way bemoaning the ending, and in only a few minutes got a reply that made me laugh. Gotta love an author who’ll take a moment for a fan and this Internet thingy that makes that interaction possible.