Is It Time for Marla Mason to Retire?


I recently finished the last two novels in T.A. Pratt’s “Marla Mason” series, Grim Tides and Bride of Death. As usual, I enjoyed their fast-moving stories and the lively dialogue, with some unexpected twists and turns along the way (to be expected when Marla has to deal with chaos witches).

However, by the end of the latter book, I felt that perhaps the series has run its course for me. Part of it is due to the fact that Marla has become more powerful: she is now essentially a god who, if not immortal, is about as close as you can get to being so. As such, I think it becomes more difficult for this mortal to really empathize with her challenges and personal issues. It’s a bit like the old Dugenons & Dragons days for me, when I found I got more enjoyment out of playing low- to mid-level characters. Once the characters get really strong, the only interesting challenges have to be equally strong, and eventually you’re gaming with a character so much different from your average John Doe that it has almost nothing to do with your and my lives.

The other part of it is simply variety. I would like to see Mr. Pratt apply his not inconsiderable talents to fresh new endeavors: new characters, new plots, new worlds, even new styles. I’m sure it’s tempting to stick with a winner, and current fans may complain if he does not keep churning out MM stories, but even I can’t eat pizza every day, regardless of how much I like it. (Okay, I also can’t eat it every day because I’m on a low-fat, low-salt diet, but that’s another story.)