Authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Barely six months after leaving New Orleans, history professor Max Corbett is returning to a place he hardly recognizes. The girl he’d loved—and lost—is dead, and the once-enchanted city has been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Max has not thought much beyond Gabrielle’s funeral—until a strange old man offers him a map, and an insane proposition . . .It looks like an ordinary tourist map, but the old man claims that it is marked with a trail of magical moments from New Orleans’s history that just might open a door to the past. But it is a journey fraught with peril as Max begins to uncover dark secrets about both his dead love and the city he never really got to know. How is Gabrielle linked to an evil group from the city’s past? And can Max evade them long enough to turn back the clock and give Gabrielle one last chance at life?
Gems: The Map of Moments is a beautifully rendered journey through the city of New Orleans. The storytelling captures the mystery of the city, as well as provides a unique historical perspective. The main character returns to New Orleans to attend a funeral post-Katrina. The aftermath of the ‘bitch,’ as Katrina is called, is chilling but the spirit is enduring. The reader must trust in the magic of the city in order to believe the adventure that occurs to the main character. Through a series of moments, the life of New Orleans is revealed. History and magic are intertwined and the past is a hue, rather than a defined black or white. The language, flow and descriptions opened my eyes and I was able to feel like I was transporting back and forth in time. Even though the story borders on fantasy and paranormal, the author keeps the tale grounded in concrete reality by connecting the impossible with actual events. It is fantastical, but given the unique setting, very believable. And, like the main character, I wanted to believe.
Flaws: The tiniest thing caused a slight distraction. It came down to money. The main character is a teacher/professor. During his visit to New Orleans he is shelling out a lot of cash and tipping generously from place to place. It wouldn’t have mattered if the amount wasn’t mentioned every time he paid. I couldn’t help but start doing the mental math and wondering how a teacher could afford it. This could be rectified by simply stating that Max paid the bill etc. It was a distracting detail and I couldn’t figure out why it was necessary or important. Secondly, the last line/paragraph was rather lame. I hate the type of implied ‘dream’ inferences that were used on the last page. I don’t want to say more, because it might spoil. It doesn’t change the outcome or overall enjoyment of the story, but it was a bit weak.