Sunday, January 12, 2014

Surfing the Human Wave: Cedar Sanderson's Pixie Noir

Sorry I'm late with this review, folks! I was having some trouble formulating my thoughts in re: Pixie Noir. Now, though, I think I've got it all sorted out:

The general premise of Pixie Noir can be explained thus: Lom, a bounty hunter from a parallel fantasy universe, is sent to the human world to collect Belladonna, an heir to the throne who isn't particularly eager to leave her Alaskan home but ultimately agrees to accompany Lom "Underhill." Thus commences a plot in which dark forces throw everything they can at the main characters in order to undermine the status quo.

I could be wrong about this, but I suspect this novel was strongly influenced by Larry Correia's Monster Hunter universe. In many scenes, it has the same feel. Which is not to say there's anything wrong with that! I enjoy Correia -- and I generally enjoyed Pixie Noir for the same reasons. What I find particularly refreshing is the fact that Lom is permitted to be a guy without the author subsequently apologizing for his icky fascist cishet attraction to boobs.

The first person point of view also works for the most part, although you do run into the usual downsides of the approach. Number one, I occasionally had trouble wrapping my head around Bella because we never really got the chance to peak inside her head. I'm still left wondering, for example, why Bella was so disturbed by her fairy form Underhill. I'm a tomboy myself, but even I would probably enjoy such a transformation. Number two, I wish I could learn more about the antagonists! Obviously, a monster needs no "believable motivation," but what about the human conspirator? I'm fascinated by the suggestions throughout the narrative that the court Underhill is decadent and semi-stratified by race. In my view, if we had seen more of the court's negative attitudes in re: human beings, said character's willingness to join forces with the Dark Court might've made even more sense.

I understand, however, that Cedar plans to make this a series, so perhaps you can view the above as my personal wish-list for future novels -- which I do intend to read!

Final Verdict: Recommended.


  1. Yes, the sequel shares perspectives between Lom and Bella, and it is much more about Underhill's inner workings. And about Raven, and the family above, as well.

    1. I'm reassured, actually, I was worrying since Trickster Noir doesn't have as much action as Pixie does. But my reviews are starting to show me that it will be ok! I wasn't trying to re-write Correia, but I do read his work. While I was writing PN, I was reading Spillane, Hammett, and other Noir authors, to get that tough-guy feel for Lom.

    2. Aha! So it's more that you and Correia are both channeling the same Noir authors (probably). Got it!

      Oh, by the way: Don't think I didn't notice your slam of a certain Hugo-award-winning modern-day sci-fi author who shall remain nameless. ;)