**spoiler alert** This was an interesting read for me - it is definitely a book in need of an editor's touch, and not just for the spelling and gramma**spoiler alert** This was an interesting read for me - it is definitely a book in need of an editor's touch, and not just for the spelling and grammar issues present throughout. It was actually difficult for me to not break out a pen and start taking notes and making edits.
Christy has a lovely idea here (seriously - I loved the premise), and the prologue is gorgeously dark. I found myself wishing that the darkness of that prologue had maintained itself throughout the book - that when Orabella and Rosalyn enter Mr. Satine's home, you could feel the harshness of the world just outside. I wanted the walls of Mr. Satine's home to fight at keeping the darkness out. I wanted the darkness of the world to be more than sex, and I wanted it to be more than talk. In fact, other than the prologue and one other moment of violence toward the book's end, there was very little that left me aching or shivering, very little that let me know this wasn't your standard world. The darkness promised in the prologue was this work's greatest asset, and it was lost in the romance that came from it.
I got the impression by the end that this was a nano novel... the fact that the start was so strong - something that the author had clearly imagined in her mind a million times - while the middle sort of petered out and fell into predictability cried 'nano' to me. I'm not sure if it's a side effect of this nano impression or the genre (victorian romance), but the story itself was very predictable - I was on maybe page 7 or 8 when I knew basically how the story would end, minus a character who hadn't yet been introduced. Not only that, but I got the feeling that Christy needed to do a bit more research into the era she was using as a backdrop - she had a few facts that fit, but I got the impression that she had found a few neat facts and threw those in to say "isn't this cool?" (something that I myself have been guilty of in my own writing...)
There were also some problems with the characters. Dialogue was occasionally anachronistic, and some of the out-of-place swearing pulled me out of the novel going "he would never say that!" I also wanted the grounded Orabella to raise a few practical questions when Mr. Satine offered them a place to stay. Characters seemed to act or not, protest or not because the author wanted them to rather than because the character themselves would do so. I wanted Christy to take the leash off her characters and let them go... Because Christy knew exactly where the book was going, it often felt as though the characters were being herded toward that destination. Because of this, characters occasionally felt two-dimensional.
It occasionally felt as though Christy was angling toward a dark or perhaps S&M based romance, though she never committed to that. I think the work may have been stronger if she either removed what hinted at that or really embraced it and worked with that idea. After all, these folks have a dark and twisted past... we never see that they've overcome it, or left it behind them - they seem to me a little bit twisted and warped throughout. To leave them physically but not emotionally scarred felt odd to me. On that note - I really did enjoy the scar idea - though I think it became overdone right about chapter 12... and then again in the epilogue (which portrayed a bit too normal and happy and perfect of a romance for these clearly damaged people).
All that being said, I did enjoy the read and I truly did see the potential for the book to become something special. With some strong editing, this novella could truly sing, providing a dark and twisted version of a victorian romance. I really do think that Christy has the ability to produce something great - the prologue tells me this. I'm really hoping Christy goes back, looks at that prologue, and produces something with some real bite to follow it. It will take a merciless rewrite, but it will be worth it.
In rating this book, I'm treating it as a rough draft, not a final product. As a rough draft though, since I do see promise, and since I did love that intro, I've upped my rating a bit. If Christy can go back into this and realize that promise, this could easily be a 4-star book. (please - let that dark sick twisted humor come through more!)
P.S. - it's "brunt of the labor', not 'grunt'... a shame, because Christy has a cute and clever pun using the wrong word.
I've been on a bit of a post-apocalypse reading kick of late, not sure why. Sadly, it hasn't made for very good reading, and has made me want to rip oI've been on a bit of a post-apocalypse reading kick of late, not sure why. Sadly, it hasn't made for very good reading, and has made me want to rip out my hair with all the bad science authors have been throwing into the genre.
This was the book I needed.
It is a slow, quiet book, expressing an odd kind of peace. The writing is well-styled and lyrical (thus extra yummy for me), the disaster itself fits the energy of the book: it creeps up on the MC who, months later, is now explaining to us the readers what exactly happened. The characters are caught by surprise. You do not see a mad rush to stock up on supplies, a desperate and immediate fight for survival. You see a painful war of attrition that is barely a war at all. It is life, the unstoppable passing of time, a world that goes on even when we can no longer recognize that world. I think 'eerie' is a good word to describe this book.
The cause of this new existence is also believable, and fits with many political and conservationist books of our day: we, as consumers, have ignored the warnings. We have lived off the planet, off it's non-renewable resources, with no eye for tomorrow. And in Hegland's book, those resources have reached their end. War, disease, fading power, food shortages... they all play a role in creating Hegland's world.
As the girls evolve in their new world (another thing I love - they are forced to change, and they actually DO change... hooray!), Nell shares what she's learned from the dictionary, from other books, from her experiments with the woods themselves. She shares dry text and brings it to life by tying it to her own life. She shares the myths of Native Americans, brief flashes of history, and slowly, in time, she pulls herself into the stories.
She accepts aspects of her fate, and turns them into her future, her existence. The two girls pull each other through the darkest days, through discovery, and on toward life. I love it.
Okay, I've gotten tired of Crichton books. He always writes the same exact story, no matter what the general plot is. It's like he's plugging in a difOkay, I've gotten tired of Crichton books. He always writes the same exact story, no matter what the general plot is. It's like he's plugging in a different set of nouns as he goes. And the endings suck. Really. Ideas are frequently interesting, but... there's only so many times I can pick up a new book just to find that it is, in fact, the same book....more
I really enjoyed this book - the stories woven through it were believable, well researched, and interesting. The Main character was well thought out,I really enjoyed this book - the stories woven through it were believable, well researched, and interesting. The Main character was well thought out, she fit her role, and was knowledgeable. She felt like she really was a scholar specializing in medieval manuscripts - And that believability is what kept me hooked.
What didn't was the story between the MC and her family. It just wasn't as interesting to me as the rest of the book... ...more
My biggest problem with this book, beyond the disconnect others have commented on, was that the main character just didn't seem to know her professionMy biggest problem with this book, beyond the disconnect others have commented on, was that the main character just didn't seem to know her profession. By the end of the book, I felt like this could have happened to anyone, that what she did for a living meant nothing. It was deeply, deeply frustrating for me!...more