J.R.'s Reviews > Drood

Drood by Dan Simmons
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's review
May 07, 2011

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bookshelves: fiction
Read in May, 2011

This book was recommended by a cousin whose taste I respect. It took me some time to get around to it, but to a certain extent I was disappointed.

I should out firstly I’m an admirer of Wilkie Collins and the body of his work. I’m less a fan of the popular paranormal genre and Drood leans more in that way than I anticipated.

My failing in this latter respect was partly unfamiliarity with the writing of Dan Simmons. Oh, I know he’s highly regarded as a writer of science fiction and horror and has a mystery series. But even I haven’t read everyone.

Simmons definitely has a talent for visual imagery. His depiction of the rail accident which nearly took the lives of Dickens, his mistress and her mother and did kill numerous others is appropriately shocking and gory in its realism. The travels of Dickens and Collins through the London slums and the sewer system beneath the city are equally graphic. And his portrayal of Dickens’ reading of the murder of Nancy by Bill Sykes puts the reader at the scene, if words alone can ever do such a thing.

Much of the novel was gripping. Though historically accurate for the most part, my main disappointment was in his choice to portray Collins as a jealous viper who can’t measure up to Dickens’ genius. Secondly (my misinterpretation of what I’d heard of the novel), I was actually expecting a mystery delving into the writing of Edwin Drood rather than a phantasm possibly inspired by laudanum who haunts Collins and has him wanting to murder his friend.

Am I sorry I read it? Of course not, though I wish it had been shorter and delved more into the real mystery instead of fantasy.

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