Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Puzzling Plots

One of the things I like most about this book is also what I find the most frustrating. It is completely unpredictable. Typically, you can read the first few chapters of a book and get a rough outline of how the rest of the story will go. For example, in Boneshaker, once the tunnel collapses, you can be sure that Briar is going to go in there, rescue her son, and have a few misadventures, possibly involving her father and husband.

However, in the Windup Girl, it's impossible to tell what the story arch is before it's revealed. Bacigalupi weaves his characters and their sub-plots together so well that, just as you think you've figured it out, something else happens. You get introduced to Jaidee and his family. His wife gets kidnapped. He does X, Y, and Z to save her and it all seems fairly important, but then he's killed. The purpose of his whole subplot was to provide motivation for another subplot and to introduce a new character, who turns out to be more important.

This book's intricacies are refreshing. It's been a long time since I've read a book I couldn't figure out in three or four chapters. But it's frustrating, thinking you've finally got it figured out when another subplot rears its head, changing the shape of the whole story.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I agree with you on the seemingly endless stream of subplots. My favorite, however, was definitely Emiko's story.