Britt's Reviews > The Lady in Blue

The Lady in Blue by Javier Sierra
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's review
May 08, 08

bookshelves: history, fiction, religion-spirituality, mystery, magical-realism, time-travel
Read in April, 2008

** spoiler alert ** This book came highly, highly recommended by multiple coworkers who absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, it was not a book that engrossed me. I had to force myself to read it, and it took me a long time to get through. The topic was somewhat interesting, but I felt no connection with any of the characters or any of the events and didn't really care what happened.

I decided I would finish it because what I kept hearing was that the ending was shocking. It was not. If anything it was abrupt and kind of annoying. Here is a quote that will show you why I found it annoying: "Your mission will be to let that information out into the world in small doses so that it does not have so traumatic an effect when our enemies make it public, for we seriously fear that the matter is already out of our hands. / "And how will I do it?" / "That's what we must agree upon. But I have several ideas. For example, you can ask someone to write a novel, film a television series, shoot a movie . . . whatever! They could use a version of our propaganda. As is well known, when the truth is disguised as fiction, it for some reason ends up being less credible." / . . . / "Why don't we simply invite this journalist to write the novel you propose? When all is said and done, he already possesses certain elements with which he can begin to weave the story. He could even title it something like The Lady in Blue . . ." Ugh, that is cringe-worthy to me. Sometimes being self-referential or incredibly self-aware is not a bad thing in books. In this one, it is just an ugly bit of writing. Why do that? Why bash us over the head with trying to say, "OH Ho! Look at my book for it is full of hidden conspiracies and truth! Just kidding. No really, the Vatican told me to write it. Really. *Wink*" It makes me roll my eyes, and it was the most annoying part of the book.

Now, as a translation, it is horribly awkward. Much of the dialogue & exposition is clumsy and unnatural. I'm sure a lot of this is due to the translation, but I have to fault the author for making some of the dialogue seem like poorly written narrative instead of actual dialogue. I guess in Spanish he might explain things in a more colloquial manner, so I am mostly blaming the translation as I can't read Spanish well enough to tell.

Also, it occasionally feels like you are being beaten over the head with the excessive repetition of certain facts. It unfolds way too slowly, in my opinion. While a lot did happen and a lot of info was exchanged, I feel as though nothing happened and nothing was learned.

I guess a good thing about the book is that it introduced me to some interesting historical tidbits, which are probably more interesting in their own right than this fictional account of them.

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