This is a difficult book for me to review, because it is hard for me to decide my opinion on it. It came highly recommended, and is based on fairy folThis is a difficult book for me to review, because it is hard for me to decide my opinion on it. It came highly recommended, and is based on fairy folklore, which I love. But I think this book fits certain tastes that are not mine, and I had certain expectations which were not met.
This is more a work of literature as it is fantasy or magical. Anyone with more of a literary bent than I would be able to appreciate it better. It was full of nicely descriptive writing and academic intellectual navel-gazing surrounding a slow plot that seemed like it was packing for a drive across the country, only to limp across the yard very, very slowly.
Much of the book centered around thoughts and conversations about literature: Shakespeare, Pope, Chaucer, Dante, Homer, Keats, Swift, Austin, plus a much longer list of names I've never heard of. These are, for the most part, works I am unfamiliar with, that were spoken of by characters who had deep understandings of the subject matter. Most of the time I felt like a lot of important or clever or insightful or funny things were going on, and I was missing all the in-jokes. Now and then, when I was able to catch grasp of a full conversation or situation, I laughed out loud, or eagerly anticipated the next page -- but for the most part, I was confused. It would be sort of like a non-geek or time traveler trying to read something like Ready Player One, or just the internet in general.
The bits of magic and mystery were slowly eked out, just enough (barely) to keep me interested to the end. The characters were certainly interesting and likable. There were pages with quotes so insightful that I wanted to underline or dog-ear the page, but it was a borrowed copy, so I couldn't.
To sum up, I sort of feel like I did at the end of reading Ulysses (though not quite as strongly in any sense). I'm completely unsure whether I liked it. I would only recommend it to someone who is either patient, or loves classic and romantic literature. For the most part, it helps me conclude I will always have a hard time appreciating literary novels....more