August 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

SymphonySymphony by Charles Grant


I make an effort to find an image of the book I actually read to go with each of my reviews. I feel like it adds something a little personal to an impersonal medium, but with Symphony, I had a hard time finding a good image of the paperback. It has an iridescent cover, and every image I found was all warped and distorted due to the way the light shimmered on the cover. So I went with the hardcover, which, as you can see, also appears to be distorted. Damn these publishers and their clever graphic design departments!

Symphony is the first in a quadrilogy of books featuring each of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, each set in a small, rural town in the United States. It’s a nice effect; Grant creates a microcosm of society where the apocalypse begins, taking what would normally be an epic story and condensing it into small town America. The story follows Grant’s usual style, with a long build-up among a large cast of characters, with the final confrontation taking place in the last quarter of the book. This time he mixes in some of the signs of the Apocalypse, giving the story a different flavor from his other small-town America  stories. There’s even a neat bit of narrative toward the end of the book where Grant passes the narrative from character to character as they pass each other on the street, creating a chain that takes the reader from one end of town to the other.

(Some trivia: Black Oak is the name of the main road through the town that serves as the setting for the story, which is also the name of the X-Files-ish series Grant wrote in the late 1990s.)

For me, I think Grant is an author I can appreciate without feeling the need to read everything he wrote (despite doing pretty much just that). It’s like classical music; I can appreciate it for what it is, but it’s not something I want to listen to every day. Symphony, like most of his novels, isn’t perfect (I wasn’t entirely clear how the protagonist could have defeated the antagonist, as I felt like Grant didn’t develop that enough), but it’s an entertaining read nonetheless, and an intriguing beginning to the series.

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