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Magic Street - Orson Scott Card As with all of Card's books, this most recent of his is very well written.
It takes place in an upper-middle-class black american community. Card's afterword makes much of how he had his black friend vet it before sending it out - I think because he KNEW that he'd be taking a lot of criticism. The characters in this book don't just happen to be black, they make a Big Deal out of being black (or Card makes that deal). At times, his characterization works - but at other times I felt like saying, "Yo, you be Trying Too Hard, bro!"
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It's a riff on the classic stories of wishes gone wrong. An adopted foundling, Mack Street, grows up in a tight-knit community... but he has dreams of his neighbor's dearest wishes - dreams that begin to come true in horrific ways.
And one day he discovers he can slip sideways through a house no one else can see, and into Fairyland... he is, of course, a changeling, and is pulled into the ago-old drama involving Puck, Oberon and Titania...
However, the second half of the book becomes overtly religious. (As opposed to being a book about religious people, which is fine.) But it got extremely moralizing, and, probably because I don't agree with Card's religious views, the story and plot really just stopped working for me. Card, I felt, was trying to overlay a black-and-white duality over a story of beings who have always been amoral (and are here specified as still being amoral), and eh.... it didn't work. There is also a very weird segment where for some very vaguely explained reason, Mack has to have sex with the 'hot motorcycle hoochie mama' who is Titania. But he won't do it before getting married. rolleyes.gif So Titania says they can be married only in the eyes of God (? A fairy says this?) but not the law, so Titania Hypnotizes the preacher into doing a ceremony (dude, I don't think that counts!), but this makes sex OK! And then, even more oddly, Card makes some comment about this being like a gay marriage where partners are "married in the eyes of God but not the law." Just trying to figure out if Card has changed his stance on homosexuality and gay marriage here, or not??? Anyway, it was all pretty ridiculous.