Recently my wife and I rented and watched Get Smart. While I found it a hilarious movie, I noticed something pretty interesting. The bad guy didn't monologue. There was never any cut-and-dried explanation as to why he did what he did. There was no great speech detailing the many wrongs he was trying to avenge or set right. He just did what he did and it was up to us to figure out why. I kind of liked that. It was refreshing to have that left in the dark. I certainly have my theory, but I can't say for sure that I'm right. And I'm okay with that.
So why do I bring that up when it comes to Shade? Because the book is chock full of ambiguity. Lots of it. Slathered on. To put it bluntly, I was confused an awful lot in this book. I still don't totally understand what a Mulo is. I'm not sure exactly what the Mulo was trying to accomplish. Maybe I missed it (I seem to recall I finished reading this book late at night; I tend to skim when I get sleepy), but the ambiguity didn't diminish my enjoyment all that much. If anything, it helped me get in the characters' heads a bit more since they were all a bit confused at times too.
Now obviously there has to be continuinty and an overarching explanation of all that happens. If we got John Olson locked in a room, he would be able to tell us exactly what was going on and why. But it's all right to leave readers in the dark every now and then. Or at least, I think it is.
The key, I think, is balance. Isn't that the way it is in everything? Too much ambiguity and the reader will become too frustrated to finish the book. Not enough, and things become too predictable and the readers might get frustrated for other reasons.
So there you go. Have I made myself clear? If not, that's okay too.
Go see what the other tourists are talking about on this, the final day:
CSFF Blog Tour
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here