Dalton Lynne's Reviews > The Alienist

The Alienist by Caleb Carr
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Aug 04, 2011

it was ok
Read in April, 2011

If I had to sum up The Alienist with one word it would be this: plodding. The description of the book on Goodreads calls it 'fast-paced'. False advertising right there! Fast-paced it most certainly was not. LOL

The book was a bit of a disappointment in various ways.

One, I didn't feel much of an emotional connection with the main characters. I don't know why ... whether it was the author's writing style, the time period, or what. But I just wasn't drawn in to their world or their personalities. I cared more about some of the sideline characters than any of the primary ones.

Two, it seemed that at any opening, the author took the time to go off on historical tangents that didn't appear to serve much purpose for the plot but felt like they were primarily done to provide a 'feel' for the environment. Sometimes those diversions can work in a book, but more often than not, in this book they didn't. At least, not for me. I kept thinking ... "Get ON with it!!"

Three, the ending was rather anti-climactic. There was this huge build-up about the killer and when the 'face off' occurred it was just ... meh. That could have been due to the fact that by the time the ending of the book came around I was eager for it to be over and done with, so there wasn't much I was inclined to appreciate by that point.

The reason I can't give the book three stars is because on Goodreads, three stars is for 'liked it'. I didn't really like it as much as I'd wanted to, so a two star label fits better for me - two stars is for 'it was ok'. And that's how I feel about the book. It wasn't great, it wasn't the worst book I've ever read, I didn't really LIKE it a whole lot, so it was just ... okay.

My feelings about this book come as a surprise to me, given the great reviews I'd read. I'd been looking forward to reading/listening to it, but by the time it was over I was thinking: FINALLY!
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Page Wench It's like I wrote this review! Captured my thoughts perfectly.


Melissa Morrow I felt exactly the same way. If I could write good reviews like you, this is what I would have written. :)


Stephanie I too am unable to believe the good reviews this book has gotten over the years. It's the opposite of "fast-paced" --more like a soap opera where everything is drawn out as long as humanly possible! Maybe the author got paid by the word.


message 4: by Mad (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mad Leon Exactly; plodding and no connection to the characters. They didn't seem to have any personality. I finished it but it took a while.


message 5: by Dalton (last edited Nov 07, 2015 03:12PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dalton Lynne Sorry for not replying to these comments earlier; I haven't logged into this account for a while. Thank you for the compliments, Page and Melissa. I'm certainly glad to know I wasn't the only one who found this book tedious and boring to the extreme. In truth I feel like I was misled by all the rave reviews I saw - because those reviews, combined with the synopsis, made me quite intrigued to check it out. Boy was I in for an unpleasant discovery. I'm almost sorry I forced my way through it but if I hadn't I wouldn't have been able to write this review. :D


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