Definitely on the plus side for this book, the weird, nonhuman creatures, felt weird and nonhuman at times. This doesn't sound like a big deal, unless...moreDefinitely on the plus side for this book, the weird, nonhuman creatures, felt weird and nonhuman at times. This doesn't sound like a big deal, unless you've run across books where the alien creature never felt alien. They did feel human at times too, but given the circumstances they were living in, this is actually makes a certain amount of sense.
I didn't have many problems with the book. I did figure out a number of the surprises before hand, which made waiting for Mona, and sometimes other characters, to catch up a bit frustrating. Also, Mona seemed a bit dense at times. She doesn't strike me as a character who was intended to be so, but, for example, she needed the connection between someone being punished for breaking a rule, and the fact this person had had a seizure and dropped into a coma after telling her something, pretty much spelled out for her.
There is some inconsistency with the author's use of a set of plot important objects. Namely, that they can be gathered without effect while wearing gloves, but effect people when dropped on their non-bare chest. There is also a character who shows up briefly to reveal stuff, and is never mentioned again, who just felt too plot convenient.
While the ending does make sense for this story, it also felt like a bit of a cop out. In some ways it seemed more like the author didn't feel like leaving any loose ends, but didn't want to have to come up with other fates for certain characters.
I also found the author's decision to write in the present tense frustrating. I have nothing against the present tense, but since I don't run into it that often, it made it difficult for me become immersed in the story and occasionally threw me out. Obviously, this is a YMMV issue. (I have similar issues with things written in the second person POV.)
Overall, not a great book, but not a bad one either.
When I received this book, I was a bit worried. I'd failed to notice it was Christian fiction when I'd requested it. However, I was delighted to find...moreWhen I received this book, I was a bit worried. I'd failed to notice it was Christian fiction when I'd requested it. However, I was delighted to find that while there were definite signs or religion throughout the book, it wasn't preachy.
The back of the book describes it as "epic medieval fantasy" I don't think this description is really doing the book any favors. While the stakes in the book may be high, since the story is told solely from the main characters perspective, it doesn't really have an epic feel to it. The medieval part feels more like a technology level than an actual medieval setting.
However, for all it's flaws, I enjoyed this book. I found Errol to be an interesting character and I actually cared about what happened to him. While the world building lacked a certain realism, I did find certain elements the author created intriguing.(less)
To start, this book has one of the worst jacket summaries I've run across in years.(Note: Not the same as the one here.) My first impression was that...more To start, this book has one of the worst jacket summaries I've run across in years.(Note: Not the same as the one here.) My first impression was that this was going to be a book about a female serial killer. Its actually a fantasy novel. Unfortunately, it's the kind of fantasy novel you get when an author decides they're writing a serious book, rather than that genre crap.
The basic premise has potential. Isserley, and her people, are real human beings, and view vodsels (us) as no better than animals. Isserley, and one of her co-workers, have undergone painful and extensive surgery so they can passably blend in with vodsels without attracting too much attention. This allows them to set up shop on a farm in Scotland, where Isserley brings hitchhikers she has determined are suitable for their purposes.
The book suffers from a lack of basic world building. I never got the impression that the author bothered to figure out much about the society of real human beings. I was left with the impression that they were kind of like us, but lived underground, and didn't look like us. There's also no explanation over the name. I wouldn't expect another species to think of us as human beings. But if another race, with a different language, uses that term for themselves, I want to know why.
The book also suffers from problems with the point of view. Most of the book is told from Isserley's point of view. However, every time she picks up a hitchhiker we get to see inside their head for a brief period. The shifts aren't jarring, but most of them don't add anything to story. There's only one that adds something that couldn't be conveyed by other means, but there's no payoff.
In fact, the lack of payoff is probably the biggest problem this book has. The author sets up something that seems to promise an interesting twist to the story, and then nothing happens. An important visitor from back home shows up unexpectedly, criticizes using vodsels for food, and Isserley finds herself attracted to him. Then he goes home. Near the end of the book, Isserley makes a bad choice of vodsel in a moment of panic. Yet, since it's late in the book, we only get to find out he's been reported missing and the cops are looking for information. Isserley decides she wants a different life than this, then the author drops a bridge on her.
Over all, the book shows promise that Michel Faber could write something interesting, but this isn't it.(less)
I really liked this book. It is, at its heart, a glorious piece of English Lit. AU fanfic, with well written OCs and fabulous world building. And for...moreI really liked this book. It is, at its heart, a glorious piece of English Lit. AU fanfic, with well written OCs and fabulous world building. And for the most part, it's a good, fun read.
However, the author made the mistake of wanting to write the book in the first person. I have nothing against first person narratives, as long as 1)the character is interesting, which Thursday is, and 2)the author can show all the scenes they need to from this one person's POV, which Mr. Fforde couldn't. This leads to not only occasional chapters jumping to third person narration, which I could overlook, but also shifts within chapters and, unforgivably, even a few paragraphs. I'm disappointed that the editor didn't catch this problem.(less)
The ending of this book is actually pretty good. However, the beginning never seemed to build any tension. Things aren't left for the reader to wonder...moreThe ending of this book is actually pretty good. However, the beginning never seemed to build any tension. Things aren't left for the reader to wonder about, but are instead simply revealed very early on. And most of the characters felt pretty flat.
The back cover's promise of "Unexplained stage effects appear as cast members disappear" turned out to be an extremely anti-climatic one of each.(less)
I love fairy tales. While this is a completely original story, it evokes the feel of stories passed down through the ages, all the while, skillfully i...moreI love fairy tales. While this is a completely original story, it evokes the feel of stories passed down through the ages, all the while, skillfully interweaving them into a larger story. The writing is beautiful, and sucked me right in, despite a heatwave that had my glasses sliding off my nose.(less)