Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lost Library (Lost Library #1), by Kate Baray (author), Kelsey Osborne (narrator)

Catherine G. Cobb, July 2015

There's a lot to like about this book.

Lizzie Smith and John Braxton are likable, interesting characters. The Lycan don't act out a stereotypical and scientifically disproven version of wolf dominance. The story is exciting, and keeps moving. The way magic works is interesting, and even the bad guys are somewhat interesting.

But.

You knew there was a "but" coming, right?
When Lycan John Braxton starts hanging around Lizzie's home (for good and sufficient reason), naturally the local dogs go nuts over the presence of the wolf. This includes Lizzie's two dogs.

Lizzie sees the wolf the first night, and mistakes him for the neighbor's dog, Spencer, a big, friendly, affectionate malamute.

Notice how much we know about the neighbor's dog. We know his name, his breed, his personality.

Guess what we know about Lizzie's dogs. Not just at this point in the book, but by the end of it, we still know only that they are dogs, and there are two of them. No names, no breeds, not even any dog type, and no clue where they came from or why she has them, something most dog owners can tell you at length and in as much detail as you seem up for tolerating.

Lizzie never talks about her dogs. She is concerned that someone gets them fed and walked at a point where she, without spoilers, genuinely can't herself. She tells us she's happy to be back with them when that happens. But it's very superficial, and none of it feels real.

My initial impression was that Baray must not be a dog owner, but apparently she is. She has pointers and bloodhounds. That makes this even weirder. Why does the otherwise likable Lizzie have dogs she doesn't even bother to name? Seriously.

Maybe the pointers and bloodhounds are a Clue. Maybe she decided that Lizzie's dogs must be small dogs, and that, as it does for many Big Hunting Dog people, makes them "not real dogs" for her.

And maybe not. But that's a huge lapse, for a dog-owning writer to make her protagonist's dogs anonymous, faceless, personality-free props.

There's a lot I liked about this book. But the dogs being there apparently solely for Lizzie to be really, really annoyed that they bark at, first the wolf outside, and then the guy that she initially doesn't trust at all, is weird and distracting and annoying, and really kicked me out of the book every time they were referred to in passing (they never got more mention than that.)

I liked it. I did, honestly, when I was allowed to forget the cypher-dogs.

But some serious eye-rolling happened.

Important note: No dogs die in the telling of this story.

I bought this audiobook.