I’m reading The Painted Boy by Charles de Lint. It’s a jump-right-in read and I’m loving it. I plan to zip back into that book as soon as I’m done with this post.
I found it a couple of weeks ago while trolling National Post book reviews. The cover art caught my eye but so did de Lint’s name. I used to read his stuff all the time – my Ottawa Library card was never so busy as when I was reading his books one right after the other. I even have a signed copy of The Onion Girl.
Without giving too much away, The Painted Boy follows Jay Li – a young boy part human, part dragon – as he goes on a journey of self-discovery. A quest really, where he meets all kinds of beings – some human and some not – and of course, where he must face untold dangers as he learns who he really is and what he is truly capable of.
I’m so glad to have rediscovered de Lint’s work through this book. I’ve been on a vampire-werewolf train of late and it’s getting tiring.
I needed something like The Painted Boy to satisfy my addiction to the otherworldly without boring me to death with the push-pull of “boy meets girl but he’s undead or hairy but either way really wants to eat her – how will they ever make it work?”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Twilight saga fan. I eagerly anticipate the cinematic release of Breaking Dawn Part I. I also like Bitten and Shiver but I just can’t be in that kind of storyline all the time.
The Painted Boy is written for a younger audience than some of de Lint’s other work but don’t let that deter you. While the quest storyline is nothing new, de Lint offers a unique spin by introducing his readers to characters you won’t meet elsewhere, and who are interesting to learn about – whether they hold mystical powers or not.