I remember watching the first season of The Simpsons and getting a sense of the layout of Springfield as it progressed. As the show continued, season after season, and as I kept watching, Springfield became larger and larger, with more and more major landmarks that defined the city. After several seasons of the show, and after images started to hit the Internet trying to fit all of Springfield into one single picture, I started to realize that Springfield was huge.
I bring that up because I'm starting to feel that way about Oxrun Station. In the first few novels, I was under the impression that the city was really a town, quaint and removed from large pockets of civilization, but with the last two novels, the town is becoming more of a city, with the more affluent citizens living apart from the rest of the town, a university, and even its own rock quarry. Grant populates the town with what's necessary to tell the story, but as the city grows, it becomes less quaint, and less removed. With the strange goings-on that are characteristic of the town, it becomes harder to accept them as the city grows larger and people still choose to remain there.
The Bloodwind isn't really a good Grant novel. It's better than The Curse, but not by a whole lot. Grant takes a ridiculous amount of time creating the protagonist in the novel, and while he does pepper that time with a few portentous events, it takes a whole lot longer for the story to get going that it did in his previous novels. In those novels, he still went at his own pace to develop the story, but here it just begins to drag on and on, testing the reader's patience. In an odd moment of irony, the main character, Pat, gets frustrated with another when the other character refuses to get to the point about something.
Once the story gets underway, the novel gets a lot better, but that doesn't really happen until about halfway into the book. It's actually a better buildup and conclusion than what I've seen in his previous books (there's less ambiguity and more of a definitive "We beat the bad guys" vibe to it, without wrapping up all of the loose ends), but having to get through the first half of the novel is too much of a chore to call it a great novel. Had he gotten to the point more quickly, I might have considered this the best of his novels I've read thus far.