Matt Sturges has written some of my favorite comics. I absolutely loved Jack of Fables and I was quite the fan of his Blue Beetle run. For a while I had hoped that he and cohort Chris Roberson would end up being the saving grace of DC comics but it would appear that was not ever in the cards. Both have parted ways with DC and are pursuing projects in other arenas, with Roberson launching his own company and putting out some amazing work.
But before all of that went down Matt Sturges wrote a fantasy novel set in the land of the faerie that seems to have flown under most people’s radar. I personally only got a copy as a trade for my own fantasy novel when I met Matt at a convention in 2011. In case you are wondering, Mr. Sturges is an amazingly nice fella and a heap of fun to talk to. After a few minutes it is easy to see he has a working knowledge of literature that breeds a certain caliber of writer.
His novel Midwinter is essentially a “man on a mission” story told through the lens of a magical fantasy setting. Imagine “Inglorious Bastards” with magic. The characters and the narrative flow seem plucked from that wheelhouse and the action works within the confines of the concept. The novel veers ever so slightly into that Stephen King-esque “Dark Tower” tone with the crossover between worlds, especially when we start talking about the arrival of a Pontiac LeMans later in the book, but I don’t consider that a negative. I think the tone and style of the book lends itself to a sort of inherit readability. If nothing else, Midwinter is a very entertaining book, by virtue of narrative or character work, at any given moment.
I will say that some plot points do seem rushed, and certain narrative climaxes feel abrupt at times. Resolutions do not have the same measure of weight that their buildups had and the result can be a feeling of anticlimax, but as a whole the book stands its ground as an interesting genre play.