REVIEW: Tinker by Wen Spencer
Dear Ms. Spencer:
This was a library book and while it is much more romantic and erotic than the Ukiah Oregon books, it was very confusing. Tinker features a heroine of the same name, derived from her full name (Alexander Graham Bell) and her skills (an 18 year old female genuis). She was created through the manipulation of ovum and seed by her grandfather. I didn’t quite understand where she gestated but in any event, Tinker is a completely scientific being. She owns a scrap and salvage yard in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is a city that spends part of its time on Elfhome and part on Earth. Every 28 days, Pittsburgh returns to Earth – it is called Shutdown and it lasts for 24 hours. During Shutdown, an elf runs into her scrapyard being chased by magical beings – Foo dogs. (part of the myth in this story deals with Japanese mythology). The elf is Windwolf, an elf who Tinker wrangled with years before. She believes that she has a life bond with him and that if Windwolf dies, so does she. She fights the Foo dogs and saves Windwolf.
Because of a college entrance exam, it is determined that Tinker has the ability to build a hyperphase gate. This gate allows regular transitions between parallel worlds – such as Earth and Elfhome. There is currently a hyperphase gate run by the Chinese that allows Pittsburgh to transition from Earth and Elfhome, but it is faulty and requires the Shutdown. This knowledge that Tinker has leads her to become a tool in a fight between Earth forces (NSA, for example) and the oni – Japanese demons. The world building is fairly scientific and even though I read slowly, I didn’t quite understand all the concepts.
Throughout the story, Tinker is displayed as a true genius – one who is brilliant but lacks any social skills. This leads her to hurt someone close to her and it is easy for her to be hurt in return.
On a romantic note, Tinker has quite a few sexual feelings for more than one character, but it seemed reasonable given her age (18). I read on one review that the “sex is entertaining, though there may be rather alot of it for some reader’s taste.” The reviewer must not have been a romance reader since I thought the sex scenes were rather tame. Tinker’s true love, of course, is Windwolf, and given the subject matter, the blend of romance, fantasy and science fiction, this book was revelatory but flawed. The blend of science and magic could have been better explained, even after a re-reading I wasn’t quite sure what how the world worked. Despite my confusion, it was a fresh story then and still remains a fresh story. I liked it enough to buy my own copy after I returned the library one. B