By Tanith Lee
Hardcover, 195 pages
Jet Latter and her robo-dog Otto are dragged by the family to Ollywood, city of dreams, when her sister’s film career takes off. Jet is bored and feels ignored, so she sets off to explore the city alone (well, except for Otto, of course) and finds the strange underworld of Subway. But Jet and Otto soon discover, there’s another city, even deeper than Subway, where the magic of film becomes a reality.
I’ve been neglecting my quest to read more Tanith, so on impulse, I grabbed this off my shelf. What fun!
I’m not sure if this is considered middle-grade or young adult, as Jet is fourteen and there’s no love interest (not that all YA fiction revolves around a love story, but let’s face it, many do), but there is a bit of spicy language and it has a sort of coming of age theme. The writing is simplistic and the story short, yet Tanith packed in a technology-ridden future world and a vast, fantasy realm.
The story is told from both Jet and Otto’s points of views, interspersed with movie-like cutscenes, outtakes and set descriptions. The latter sections were mainly used to capture moments where Jet and Otto weren’t present or to set the scene for a new location, and they gave a lot of depth to the story, while also providing a writing device I’ve never encountered before (at least, not that I can remember). Jet is a quick-witted girl and I liked the humanity (er…dogmanity?) Tanith infused into Otto.
I read this in a day, chuckled a few times, and was once again fully immersed in the rich, bright world Tanith created. I love her fantasy works, but I have to say, I enjoy her sci-fi work just a bit more. There’s something about the different ways she presents the future that I really enjoy being a part of.
Tanith fans can certainly spare a moment to read this book, and I think pre-teen and teen readers with an interested in a sci-fi/fantasy blend will love it as well.