Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TEMPING FATE by Esther Friesner

Temping Fate by Esther Friesner
3Q 3P?

If you're looking for a quick, fun, light read, try this one on for size. Ilana Newhouse has been having a hard time finding a good part-time job. Maybe she should have paid a little more attention to her guidance counselor or newspaper articles that tell kids how to get a job. She might have thought twice about wearing that: ORC: The Other Green Meat T-shirt. And That Attitude Thing certainly hasn't helped, either. Ilana doesn't suffer fools gladly. (Well, she doesn't suffer fools at all, really.) And her sense of humor can be a little...odd (see ORC, above for proof). All things considered, she doesn't really fit all that well into her tiny, conservative, tourists-love-our-little-Connecticut-town-by-the-shore. And that's why she's wound up at D.R. Temp, Incorporated. This is her last-ditch, all-other-bridges-burned, last hope chance at getting a job this summer. If she doesn't get it, her parents have promised to come up with "something" to get her through the summer. And if that doesn't spell trouble, what does? (Well, "D.R. Temps, Inc.," maybe, but Ilana doesn't know that. Yet.)

Despite her best intentions (she even wore khaki, for heaven's sake!), things don't go well when she arrives for her interview. She's a little early, but still, this is a place of business, right? Surely somebody should be here? But no, nobody seems to be there, and nobody answers her knock. She knocks again, a little harder. She begins to doubt if she's gotten her appointment time right. But she confirmed her interview. Of course she's supposed to be here! She knocks again. And this time, she hears it. No doubt about it. Somebody is inside, giggling. Ilana does not like to be laughed at. She starts to get mad. She demands to be let in. More giggling. Ilana's had it. She takes out her credit card and starts to break in. Nobody is going to laugh at her! And that does it. The door suddenly opens, and Mrs. Atatosk, the head of the agency, is there welcoming her in with a "Well done!" Ilana, it seems, has earned points for her initiative and fortitude. She's just like her dear sister Dyllin (like that is something Ilana wants to hear!). But oh, dear...khaki? It's so...inoffensive!
But wait...is that a skull on her cheek? Maybe she'll do after all.

What the ...? It's not surprising that Ilana finds her head reeling a bit, with an introduction like that. It reels a bit more when Mrs. Atatosk informs her that the skills she needs to work at D.R. Temps are "imagination, innovation, motivation, and the ability to run away. Fast. Often. A lot." "From what?" Ilana asks. "You'll know it when you see it. Or you won't, and then it will be such a pity. Oh, but don't you fret. It's all covered in the Waiver." Gulp. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

But Ilana winds up taking the job at Divine Relief Temp Agency. And that's when she discovers just how literal that name is. Ilana isn't temping at the local insurance company or dong clerical work for some law firm. She is working for the gods. You know, the gods...Zeus, Hera, Athena, those guys. In particular, she is working for the Fates, the three sisters who spin, measure, and cut the life-threads of every human being on the planet. To be precise, she's typing out Death Receipts. Ilana is not at all convinced this is the job for her, desperate or not. The job is weird enough. The sisters are very much weird enough. Oh, and we can't forget Arachne, the huge talking spider. (Do you remember Arachne? The girl who seriously pissed off Athena when she said she could weave as well as she could? Girl, you just don't challenge a god and walk away unscathed! Walk away on eight legs maybe, but that's not exactly unscathed, is it?)

And so Ilana's temping job begins. What has she gotten herself into?

If you enjoy humorous books with a dash of romance and fantasy, give this one a try.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the book, and for me, it was a real page turner.


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