i had such high hopes for this book, but not even a quarter in, i'm throwing in the towel. no time for a full review, but boy, is this just not enjoyai had such high hopes for this book, but not even a quarter in, i'm throwing in the towel. no time for a full review, but boy, is this just not enjoyable to read! maybe it gets better, but honestly, nancy is simultaneously so bland and completely insufferable (no ty to any narrator that starts with "oh i'm so plain and ugly and boring btw i have a Secret Talent that makes me SUPER INTERESTING," like, please), the writing hits all of my "faux victorian in love with its own cleverness" buttons (STOP NAMING ANYTHING CONTEMPORARY THAT HAPPENED TO BE FAMOUS), there are SO MANY ELLIPSES which i realize is a personal gripe, but whatever. i'll probably still pick up the paying guests, as i'm hoping waters' prose improves since the 90s (maybe she even abandons the first person pov? A GIRL CAN HOPE), but i am just not into this one enough to carry on....more
This would have been interesting as a standalone piece, without the novel tie-in and "cliffhanger" ending, which gave about as much suspense as wonderThis would have been interesting as a standalone piece, without the novel tie-in and "cliffhanger" ending, which gave about as much suspense as wondering whether your toast will pop up. The concept was intriguing. I was hoping for one of those stories that uses an inexplicable supernatural event to examine character relationships or perceptions; instead it was just some vague rumblings about the event that caused David's condition, and David being sad. The ending came out of nowhere; suddenly there's some kind of religious serial killer, no explanation, just there derailing the narrative. I understand this is a prologue (or something?), but if you're going to release it as short fiction, it ought to stand on its own feet.
Positives: the opening paragraphs are well written and well constructed to draw you forward. Schwab's writing style isn't entirely to my tastes (not a fan of dramatic one sentence paragraphs used liberally), but it's not at all bad. I'd be interested to see either an actual short from her, or a proper novel; this in-between thing just didn't work. ...more
Unfinished. Considering my usual unending love of Russian/Slavic fairy tales, I expected to tear through this one; but maybe it was the stark narrativUnfinished. Considering my usual unending love of Russian/Slavic fairy tales, I expected to tear through this one; but maybe it was the stark narrative voice, or the (to me) utter lack of anything actual fairy tale-esque, or any mysticism at all beyond vague feelings of dread--I don't know. I think had this been pitched to me as "vignettes about soviet life with a slightly surreal bent" instead of "scary fairy tales," I might have been more into it. I just don't think I was in the right mindset. It definitely wasn't bad, but coming off the very lyrical and folkloric In the Night Garden, I wasn't really in the mood for something this straightforward. The first few stories in particular read to me like something a weird relative might tell over family dinner: decent lead up with a sudden end less bizarre than bewildering, and leaving everyone unsure how to change the topic of conversation tactfully. But again, maybe this will appeal to me more at another time! I'll likely grab it from the library again at...some point....more