Maryana's Reviews > The House of Special Purpose

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: senior-fiction
Read from December 19 to 27, 2011

I am a fan of John Boyne's books for younger readers and this was the first adult book of his that I have read. I hate to say this, but it was a disappointment. With such a talented author and such an interesting history to work from, I was expecting more.The romance was less real and more descriptive, sacrificing depth for emotion and passion. The 'revelation' at the end of the book was predictable. Also, and possibly worst of all, there seemed to be no purpose to the journey of the characters. While it is arguable that the characters face their lives with grace, bravery, loyalty and eventually, love, they have little hope and much of their lives revolve around themselves. I will admit that the plot structure (which started at the beginning and end simultaneously) was very clever. However the threads it drew together could, in my opinion, have reached a more satisfying and meaningful end. On the positive side, John Boyne's language did not fall in quality and the writing style, while not of his usual caliber, was still above average. Significantly also, Boyne reminds readers that historical figures, even those as infamous as the Romanovs, were human beings with hopes, dreams and beliefs; living and breathing people. In a society that tends to be a little too critical and skeptical of those that came before, this was slightly surprising and refreshing at the same time. However, I would not say that this last positive point is enough to make this book worth reading. I would be very selective of the audience I recommend it to, as I am sure there are many better books out there that could achieve the same or better than Boyne has done with The House of Special Purpose.
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