Saturday, February 26, 2011

Arty -- The Unseen by T.L. Hines

Lucas is an urban explorer. He lives in steam tunnels under universities, explores abandoned warehouses, and free travels the underground passages of the city. Dishwasher by day, and explorer by night, Lucas works alone, watching the lives of others from his secret hiding places.

But when he meets another explorer, he discovers he's not alone after all. A group called the Creep Club breaks into privates homes to spy on the people living inside... and they want Lucas as their newest member. For Lucas, the Creep Club steps way over the line - he never spies on people in their homes, only watching them in public places.

But he may not have a choice. Lucas finds himself pursued by secret agents from home and abroad, intent on murder...

Sorry for taking that straight from the dust jacket, but it explains it better than I can. Though it fails to mention Viktor, someone Lucas 'protects' from the Creep Club's advances... and tries to off Lucas in return. Oh, and Saul, who recruits Lucas as a double-agent to creep the Creep Club.

Poor Lucas. So much for unseen.

It's a hard book to review, because there's one part of me that loved it, and one that's kind of disappointed. The love part is squealing, Lucas! I love you! You're awesome! Oh, and double agents! Political intrigue! Dark pasts! Orphans! Everything that is awesome in books!

Then the disappointed part is saying, Too many subplots and secrets, not enough explanation or resolution. Unthrilling secondary characters. And where's the character description?

Lucas, as awesome as he is, doesn't have much of a physical appearance, at least according to Hines - tall, thin, and wiry is all we get. Because my generous side loved this book, I'm seeing the lack of description to be a narrative device - Lucas is unseen, after all.

Yeah. Well, the same goes for most of the other characters. For Saul - bald. Leila - dark eyes. Setting and scenery gets three times more attention than characters. Which, I know, isn't an issue for lots of people... but it's one of the problems that got on my nerves the most.

According to the back of the book, the exact genre for The Unseen is "noir bizarre," which is a pretty good way to describe it, though I think the 'bizarre' fits better than the 'noir.' Obviously this isn't a book to suit everyone's tastes. But if you want something incredibly different to read, or if you like 'noir bizarre' books (in which case you're a more hardcore reader than I am), or if you just like a book for the main character, I'd definitely recommend The Unseen.

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