Hang Wire by Adam Christopher: Review

Hang Wire by Adam Christopher
Title: Hang Wire
Author: Adam Christopher
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: January 2014
Length: 384
Series: Stand Alone
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery:  ARC

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From GoodReads:
Ted Hall is worried. He’s been sleepwalking, and his somnambulant travels appear to coincide with murders by the notorious Hang Wire Killer. Meanwhile, the circus has come to town, but the Celtic dancers are taking their pagan act a little too seriously, the manager of the Olde World Funfair has started talking to his vintage machines, and the new acrobat’s frequent absences are causing tension among the performers. Out in the city there are other new arrivals – immortals searching for an ancient power – a primal evil which, if unopposed, could destroy the world!

This book follows several different characters whose lives intersect. Ted just had his birthday and had some sort of accident at his party. He is having trouble with his sleep. Joel is on a mission to follow the light. Bob has retired to the beach and is a regular tourist attraction, because he likes to ballroom dance with tourists. Finally, there are the Hang Wire killer who is stalking the streets of the city and an acrobat from the circus who is chasing the killer. There is something sleeping under San Francisco, and what Ted, Joel, Bob, the killer, and the would-be hero do will either cause it to wake or stay under the streets.

I finished this book on Friday, and I have been struggling with what to say in this review. Let's first review what I disliked the about the book. I found that there were two big problems with this book. (1) The world building rules were not defined. There are gods in this book from different cultures, but there is no explanation why these gods are in San Fransisco or if there are other gods roaming about the city or the world. I was also confused why the gods mentioned in this book are in this book. They didn't seem related to San Francisco or have another connection to this story. (2) There were a lot of POV characters in this book, and the chapters were short. I had a hard time caring about the characters and remembering who was who, because the chapters ended and moved to a new POV character before I got interested in them. About one-third of the way through the book, I started to get into the groove, but I was definitely feeling a bit frustrated by this point.

Although I had some problems with the world building and revolving cast of characters, the writing kept me hooked. I didn't want to put the book down; I really wanted to see how everything came together. I was really surprised how content I was reading this book even with its problems. I also really enjoyed the feel and the atmosphere of the book. People have described Hang Wire as noir fiction. I typically expect characters to be a bit more cynical and the city to be a bit more rundown for a book to be considered noir fiction; however, the feel of the book was noir. There is something haunting about this book that harkens to noir even though it isn't (at least in my opinion).

Overall, this book was okay. I wish it had been a bit longer, so the world building could have been more developed. Also, there was a bit of info dumping at the end of the book that was probably added, because the world building had been so vague up until that point. Christopher at that point had to just bluntly tell his audience what he was thinking, so the readers knew what was going on, if they were still confused. If you are a fan of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, or the television show Carnivalé and are okay with limited world building, this may be a fun read for you. Unfortunately, for me, this wasn't a great fit. At the same time, I enjoyed the writing, and I am still excited to try some of Christopher's other book.

I give this book a 2 out of 5.
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Emily (Fluttereal Flight) said...
January 27, 2014 at 12:19 AM

This book looks pretty interesting! :D But sorry you didn't enjoy it very much, Pamela >< The writing sounds great and all, but I know from the premise that sometimes, it's the concept that's not a great fit :(
Lovely review, all the same, Pamela!! :D

Nathan (@reviewbarn) said...
January 27, 2014 at 7:15 AM

Pre blogging days I tried the author's other series and didn't connect with the first book. Hang Wire had a premise that really interested me, but enough to read because of the issues I had the first time around.

Chene Sterckx said...
January 27, 2014 at 8:55 AM

I generally love books with gods and all different types off characters. This books sounds a bit confusing and with stop/go type flow. Sorry this one didn't work out so well, hopefully the next book will be amazing!!

Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

kimbacaffeinate said...
January 27, 2014 at 4:38 PM

When multiple pov's work it is brilliant and when they don't it leaves you feeling cold. I am sorry this one disappointed but those are issues I would struggle with as well. Sorry I haven't been around I am struggling with illness.

Miss Inga Page said...
January 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM

This sounds like it could have been an interesting read! The fact that there are Gods from other cultures is something I think I would find really fascinating, but I think the large number of perspectives would confuse me. I'm terrible at keeping track of characters, even when there are only a couple... so having LOTS of them, with frequent changes, would probably be a recipe for disaster! It is one of the main issues I had with The Night Circus, especially with the addition of frequent time changes!! I'm pleased to hear that you were hooked on the writing though! Great review! :)

Pamela D said...
January 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM

The book was definitely interesting. It just wasn't a good fit for me.

Pamela D said...
January 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM

I am sad to hear that you didn't connect with his other book, because I was holding out that his earlier books would be a better fit for me.

Pamela D said...
January 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM

This book just wasn't a great fit for me. I am sure there is a better book for me around the corner.

Pamela D said...
January 28, 2014 at 12:01 AM

I am sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling well! No worries!

The combination of multiple POVs and short chapters didn't work for me in this one. Oh well.

Pamela D said...
January 28, 2014 at 12:04 AM

After a few chapters, I was kicking myself for not taking a few notes to keep track of the characters. There weren't even that many characters, I just kept getting their names mixed up!

Pabkins said...
January 28, 2014 at 2:05 PM

See I just must have clicked in a really weird way with it. YEs I totally see all of your concerns. I loved his writing style here. This is the second book I've read by him. I loved the concepts I do wish they were tied together better but I still really enjoyed it. I think he was reaching for so much and this definitely will be either a complete hit or miss with readers. For me it was a hit but that might also speak to my current state of mind being very fractured right now. I do think there was a lot of ways it could have been improved. Better explanations throughout instead of at the end being one and yes too much jumping from character to character. I think the time spent with each character should have been longer so we could have attached better ...maybe I should put this in my review I'm not done writing LOL. copying it now muuuwhahah

Pamela D said...
January 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM

LOL. The end of your comment made me laugh.

I really love what he was trying to do in this book. It was just too short, so the world building and character growth really suffered. I want to read his other books still. It wasn't a bad book by any means. This just isn't the first book I would recommend to someone looking for something in this genre.

BTW, YOU CAN SEE DISQUS!!!! I am so happy. :) I was so sad when you couldn't see the comments. I might still change commenting systems, but now I can take my time, because you can comment in disqus. :)

Pabkins said...
January 28, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Yes I was sooooo aggravated that I couldn't comment cause then I was like - HOW WILL SHE KNOW THAT I"M STALKING HERRRRR??? Cause you know it loses its creepiness factor if you don't KNOW you are being stalked. Which that would be unacceptable.

Pamela D said...
January 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Exactly. If I am going to be stalked, I want to know. I am now thoroughly creeped out. Thank you. :)

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