Patrick Ness is one of my all-time favorite authors and I'm a huge fan of Chaos Walking, A Monster Calls and More Than This. Ness is one of the most talented authors out there and I've even had the pleasure of meeting him earlier this year. It pangs me to say that The Crane Wife isn't up to par with Ness's novels; The Crane Wife is quite mediocre and dull.
The Crane Wife maintains the lyrical, poetic nature of Patrick Ness's writing style, this is one beautifully written novel. Each sentence and metaphor really evoked vivid imagery in my mind, I could definitely see the beautiful artwork that George and Kumiko for myself. The problem is that even though Ness's prose is as refined as ever, it doesn't conjure up the unadulterated emotion and passion that his previous novels were chock full of. There was really nothing to keep me compelled, to make me want to turn the pages because everything felt very blase.
The Crane Wife isn't a straightforward book, it really attempts to be too mystical and sophisticated. As myths usually do, The Crane Wife is a tale with themes and moral lessons that the author pushes upon the reader. I really don't like when I feel like a book is trying to push themes and ideas on me, especially when I completely disagree with the themes being pushed on me. A book like this should leave readers feeling changed and leave an impact on readers, yet all I felt was disappointed. Ness was trying way too hard to inspire readers with a thought-provoking read, to the point where I felt The Crane Wife came across as pretentious.
Kumiko. She's the catalyst who radically changes George's life forever and yet, I didn't really like her. I didn't see what George saw in her at all, I wasn't enamored with her enigmatic nature like George was. Ness shrouds Kumiko in a veil of mystery to the point where the reader doesn't really know anything about her life. I found it ridiculous how George changes his whole life for a woman he barely knows--a woman who is keeping secrets from him. George really doesn't give any thought into what falling for Kumiko would mean for him and his family; he falls for her in one second and from that moment on, he's hopelessly in love for some reason I cannot fathom. George's reckless decisions isn't something you would expect from a middle-aged man because George acts like a rash, fickle teenager. I can't muster any sympathy towards two characters whose decisions are too preposterous for me to accept, I wasn't convinced by their relationship in the slightest bit.
I'm not actually familiar with the original myth that inspired this novel, but I easily could discern what route Ness would take with the ending. It was all too predictable and too trite, I knew what would happen at the end even on the first page. I could tell that Ness wanted to make readers feel overcome with emotion with the ending, but all I could manage was an apathetic sigh. I had thought: Maybe Ness will surprise with the ending, perhaps there will be a huge plot twist. I hoped the ending would be a radical improvement over the rest of the book; if any other author had written this book I probably would have abandoned it earlier but I kept reading because Ness had written it.
The Crane Wife isn't what I would expect from Patrick Ness in the slightest bit; his writing style is extremely evident in this book, but the plot, characterization, and pacing in TCW pale in comparison to his previous novels. While I will definitely read any adult novels Ness writes, I have this intense feeling that none of them could ever compare to his YA novels. The Crane Wife is probably one of the most disappointing books I've read this year, it wasn't the novel I had hoped it would be. (less)