Julie's Reviews > The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
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's review
Oct 17, 08

bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, usa-contemporary
Read in October, 2008

This was an epic in search of a plot, a grand tale that led deep into a dark and foreboding forest, with the promise of mystery and intrigue. But the path dwindled to a dead end in a pile of rotting leaves. I wasn't expecting great literary achievement- this [i]is[/i] pop. fiction- but I was hoping for a more coherent story.

The parts of this book were greater than its sum. I appreciated the detailed research into the suffering and treatment of burn victims- this was as riveting as it was grotesque, and enjoyed the stories within the novel of 14th century Germanic life, feudal Japan, tribal Iceland- that's when Davidson's writing came alive. But in the end I felt these plot devices, as well the mysticism swirled within Christianity, the "love" story between Marianne and the narrator, the ancillary characters fell flat. Even Marianne and her frenzied quest to set free the gargoyles and the dramatic realization of Dante's Inferno was overwrought and ultimately boring.

I also found it derivative of David Mitchell and Kate Mosse (The Labyrinth) in linking characters together from different eras, as well as Elisabeth Kostova's gorgeous The Historian.

I've created a new shelf here: Much Ado About Not Much. This will be the shelf's inaugural tome.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Shana (new)

Shana Julie - I can't wait to see your thoughts on this book. I read it a few months ago. It's certainly gotten a lot of buzz in the reading community.

Julie Shana, I'm about 3/4 of the way through and still awaiting a plot. ;)Perhaps there will be a strong finish! But I think I will be creating a new shelf for my Goodreads library: "Much Ado About Not Much" and this is likely to be the inaugural tome. eek!

message 3: by Kristine (new) - added it

Kristine I read a funny review of this book in EW. It's on my TBR list but I'm not anxious to get to it any time soon.

Review is here. Enjoy :)


Julie And I thought MY review was harsh :0 Thanks for the giggle! I'm in accord with this review- the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get. At least it was a quick read. LOVED (not) the cheese dangling from the nipple image. Ugh...

message 5: by Shana (new)

Shana Lol, Julie. When a book inspires such mixed feelings I'm always so anxious to know what side of the line someone will fall on! I *thought* you might not like it. I wasn't sure though and didn't want to say that until you'd finished. Great review - I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. The narrator's trip into 'the inferno' was most definitely my least favorite part of the story.

Kristine, the EW review is quite ruthless isn't it? It was much-discussed in the book blogging community.

Now I really want to read The Historian. That's another one that has such mixed reviews. I started out thinking I must read it then moved it down on the list in terms of priority after reading so many negative reviews.

message 6: by Kristine (new) - added it

Kristine I enjoyed The Historian :)

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