Okay, I’ve been reading this book again, Bride of the Rat God, by author Barbara Hambly. It’s set in Hollywood in 1923.
Over in GQ I asked a question about finding dates for full moons, because the lunar cycle is a major plot point in the book. This is a link to that thread:
Lo and behold, I found that someone else once started a thread on this book, although it isn’t a long one, so the link above has a link to the original thread, started by our very own Eve, in 2004.
Despite the florid title it really is a good book. What’s not to like about the fast life during the silent film era? Add a mysterious Chinese curse, wild parties, and a vampy star whose studio created bio is a work of fiction as much as the films she’s in, and you have a recipe for an amazing ride through a past era.
Eve, back when you said you know too much about the silent film era and wouldn’t read it because you’d be nitpicking the details. Did you ever change your mind? If you didn’t go ahead and give it a try. Think of it as historical fiction, with created characters moving among the IRL names.
Has anyone else read this book, and if so, what did you think? Who was your favorite character? I liked just about everyone, except for the studio head. I even liked the crazy director who kept trying to find a way to film Metamorphosis! The book is simply a lot of fun, and, IMNSHO, is well written.
I read it once, some years ago, and haven’t gone back to it yet only because I’m “saving” the re-read for an appropriate time. lf you want to introduce someone to Hambly this would be be a good choice because it’s one of her few stand-alone stories (Stranger at the Wedding sort of qualifies also).
It’s been long enough that I remember only bits and pieces in addition to the overall story, but it left a very favorable impression. One scene that stands out is the protagonist (I think) trying to decide whether to gift an actress with candy or perfume. Her friend advises her that said actress has an ironclad “no potato clause” in her contract and concludes, “Better get her the stinkum.”
And there are the foo-foo dogs… but I don’t want to spoil that part.
Sigh. I went and checked Amazon, because the title sounded so familiar but I couldn’t place the plot. But, no; this isn’t one I’ve read. I think it’s one that had a coming attractions blurb in the back of a number of paperbacks that I did read.
The sigh is because now I have to read it. That Look Inside feature is incidious.
That book is probably my favorite lighter novels of Barbara Hambly, and she’s my favorite writer by far.
Eve, if you’re reading this, it might help to know that Ms. Hambly got her Master’s in History from UCLA, and she researches the shit out of everything she writes.
I’m actually trying to write a screenplay based on the novel as something of an exercise. If there were ever a novel of Ms. Hambly’s that I’d like to see make it to the screen (after A Free Man of Color and Those Who Hunt The Night, it would be this one).
*Dragonsbane *also is better as a stand-alone book. Hambly wrote the sequels while she was grieving, and they aren’t her best work. But the first one was written as a one-shot, and I’ve given it to several people who really enjoyed it…including a couple of people who swore that they didn’t like fantasy.
As for Bride, I love it. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the settings. Even the bad guy is a GREAT bad guy, though of course I wouldn’t want to have him as one of my acquaintances. And I always enjoy Hambly’s magic systems.
I’ve been rereading all her books that I loved in high school lately, and they really do stand up. The Darwath ones (well, the original trilogy - the later ones kind of suck) remain particular favorites. Keep meaning to read Bride of the Rat God again.
I read this last year and enjoyed it. I wasn’t crazy about the fantasy elements, but the setting was great. The book’s cover is perfect, although the blurb is misleading, implying that the book’s protagonist is Chrysanda the glamorous film star rather than her more dowdy assistant, Nora.
I loved this book, and at the time I first read it, my mom was raising Pekes and Poms, so I enjoyed every last delicious description of the Pekes in the book. It is an amazing slice of that life at that time, and a quite unique book.