Sunday, 21 November 2010

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Next Queen of Heaven - Gregory Maguire

Release Date: 14/10/10


Strange events are occurring in the small town of Thebes, USA. Knocked out by a falling statue of the Virgin Mary, Mrs Leontina Scales wakes up not quite the woman she was before. What on earth are her sons and her foul-mouthed daughter Tabitha supposed to do with a mad mother who speaks in tongues? Meanwhile, choir director Jeremy Carr needs a rehearsal venue for his gay singing group. Could the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mysteries be his salvation? As the year draws to a close, the Radical Radiants battle the Catholics, a Christmas pageant goes horribly awry, and a child is born...Frantic, funny and farcical, The Next Queen of Heaven is a modern masterpiece from the incredible imagination of Gregory Maguire.


The latest release from Gregory and to be blunt, one that was a real struggle to get through. Why? Well to be honest with you I hated the principle female character. She was not only obnoxious but also one that really didn’t fit in that well with what the author was trying to do which when backed with a barrel load of swearing meant that it lost any point in being there in the first place. Was the author trying to shock? Possibly. Was the author trying something new? Nope. There are other authors who have written this type of tale better and in all honesty smarter than this writer.

Swearing isn’t big and it isn’t clever. If you’re going to use it, it needs to be in context as well as appearing only as a last resort so that the reader knows that it’s a real time of peril etc. Here it’s just littered into the text almost carelessly which overall loses all point of its use. A great shame as the title did have a lot of potential but if you want witty writing with a great sense of humour backed with some serious plot outline then go for Tom Holt or Terry Pratchett or for something a little different try Christopher Moore. All the aforementioned authors are definitely way above this puerile title.


Angela Addams said...

I haven't been able to read his work for a while now. I think Wicked was the peak of his writing career...which sucks for him cause it was the first. If I find this one on a bargain table I might be inclined to purchase it though.

Anonymous said...

I read Wicked and was blown away by Maguire's complex tale and characters - he brought to life, under a very dark light, figures of American pop culture which could be considered untouchables... but it worked! Wicked was such a terrific read.
Then I read Son of a Witch and was so disappointed, it took me a year to get A Lion Amongst Men to make amends with Maguire.
Not every tale is worth telling, I think I'll follow your recommendation and not waste my time and money on this one.