I had gotten the impression from numerous sources that the second Kreizler book was the weaker of the two. However, I enjoyed The Angel of Darkness mu...moreI had gotten the impression from numerous sources that the second Kreizler book was the weaker of the two. However, I enjoyed The Angel of Darkness much more than The Alienist. I thought that the plot was much more interesting and actually produced a few nights where I had to force myself to put the book down in order to get a proper amount of rest. I even liked the Grisham-esque court scenes. I much preferred the narrative style of Stevie as opposed to the narrative style of Moore in the first book. I was also quite fond of the Stevie/Kat side story. I thought it was charming and added a dimension to Stevie's character; the characters in The Alienist were all underdeveloped, in my opinion, and one got a bit more character development in this book.
Yet, there are still a number of things about The Angel of Darkness and Carr's writing in general that bother me and keep me from loving both novels: 1. The endings kind of suck. Roosevelt came to New York and marched the Navy through the streets? Yeah, sure. 2. The interspersion of famous figures like Roosevelt, Stanton, and Darrow are done clumsily, they seem forced and cheesy. There are writers that do this well, Carr is not one of them. I just think that the purpose of these characters could have been served more effectively with a well-developed fictional character not bogged down in the typecasts of well-known figures. 3. What was with the "what" instead of "that"? I understand that it was a device intended to demonstrate that Stevie was not quite as learned as the average writer, but it just comes across as extremely lazy. I'm sorry, but when the rest of the writing is perfect and Carr just hit control F to find every instance of "that" to switch the "t" to "w", it just isn't effective. And why is he able to use "that" when recounting the words of others? Anyways, this was poorly done. Either develop a well-rounded and colorful way of writing that illustrates Stevie's unique educational background or don't bother trying to develop this part of the character.
I didn't find this book as engaging as I hoped I would. It was a decent read and I moderately enjoyed it, but it wasn't amazing. It didn't keep me tur...moreI didn't find this book as engaging as I hoped I would. It was a decent read and I moderately enjoyed it, but it wasn't amazing. It didn't keep me turning the pages well into the night. I liked the main investigation story line, but I was often annoyed/puzzled by the side plots. As others have mentioned, the main characters are not fleshed out enough to make a connection with any of them. I never completely understood why there were people who cared why they were trying to find this killer enough to follow them, shoot at them, etc. The use of Roosevelt felt forced and kind of silly. Overall, it was an excellent idea, but not executed to its full potential. I'm still going to read the follow-up book, The Angel of Darkness, which is not supposed to be as good, but we shall see.(less)