Recommended for: Read in July 2021 ★ ★ ★ ★
Suzanne Palmer has been one of my authors to watch, and the first two books in this series are a lot of fun. The Scavenger Door closes a door on Fergus Ferguson’s adventures, although you know the saying about doors and windows. It’s an interesting book, taking a close look at Fergus’ Earth connections but his ‘finding’ challenges are less personal than the earlier books. It leads to a particular narrative schisms that lack the same emotional resonance as the earlier books.
Fergus is adventure personified, but being on Earth has him full of feels, particularly guilt about his past and other’s exposure to his hazardous life. This leads to strange reflective pieces that have little to do with the mission at hand. Think of it, as it were, as the thoughts that fill one’s head during the moments driving to and from work. However, I’m not sure I particularly enjoyed those feelings as a refrain, the thoughts we have time and time again. I certainly got tired of hearing his, and welcomed the moments where he appeared to have an emotional breakthrough, as rare as they were. “Isla’s complaint that he was taking his gift too passively seemed to have legitimate cause… He was, he thought, very attached to his particular ideas of who he was, even if he was sure they were mostly wrong. The only thing he was sure about, in what he thought was a minimally biased way, was that he was good at finding things.”
It’s a good thing Fergus is good at finding things, because he has been handed an extensive agenda by the alien Ignatio. I confess, when I realized the extent of the tasks, I experienced a flashback to that moment watching Speed when–spoiler alert–I realized Sandra still wasn’t safe and now had to deal with a runaway subway car. Emotionally full, and ready to move on, or at least, stop and reflect. Alas, it wasn’t to be. That’s not to say the individual episodes aren’t fun, amusing, or challenging, because they are. It’s just to say that I lack a certain endurance for that kind of marathon task and would like to be home and tucked in bed by midnight.
Nonetheless, there’s no way that complaint should be construed as not enjoying the book. It’s just a lot, but that’s gonna happen when you have to save the universe. And seriously, I should have been expecting it, as Finder was a non-stop adventure from one end of the known planet systems to another.
It’s a good thing that I really enjoy Palmer’s writing and the tone. I’m definitely a fan of how she puts both words and ideas together, particularly that sly little humorous tone that comes about, but without needing to spell things out for the reader.
“Sorry if I’ve inconvenienced you,” Fergus said, feeling not sorry at all.
“Oh no, not at all!” the agent said, as if there had been no sarcasm in Fergus’s words. “Chaos is a delight. Without it, nothing new would ever be born, or learnt, or dreamt. But it must be considered. Not by you, I mean; it’s all way over your head.”
I’m definitely in the fan club, and if I don’t read this quite as many times as I read first two, it’s only because it’s so packed, I’d really like something a little less effusive. And because sometimes Star Wars is all you need.
Many, many thanks to both Netgalley and DAW for the advance reader copy. Of course all opinions are my own–you ever know me to be a mouthpiece for someone else? Also, of course, all quotes are subject to change. But I think they give nice insight into the thoughtful and entertaining writing.