Laura 's Reviews > Advent

Advent by James Treadwell
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Apr 05, 2012

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Read in March, 2012

I love mythology. I've always enjoyed reading about the myths and legends of various different cultures and Treadwell blends bits and pieces of some of my favourites up in a blender and laces Advent with them. I also love poetic prose. I like narratives to weave and wander. It's one of the reasons I love Tolkien or the meandering narrative of Susanna Clarke. Given my liking of these things, I feel Advent should have sat quite nicely with my tastes... and yet I can't quite say that it did.

Even though the book has quite a lot going for it, the main reason it isn't sitting pretty with might not even be Treadwell's fault. When I put the book down, my first thought was of the his editor, whoever that may have been. I couldn't help but wonder why this 448 page book was allowed to stay 448 pages long when, frankly, a solid half of those pages were unnecessary.

Now, much of Treadwell's writing is actually quite lovely. In places it's almost poetry. Unfortunately, somewhere within these lovely sentences and long, artsy paragraphs, the story got lost. At the beginning of the book I quite liked Gavin...even though he was called "Gavin". I sympathised with his situation and was curious to know more about the mysterious things he could see but nobody else could. I was curious about the missing aunt. I was curious about Marina, the strange girl of Pendurra who had never heard swear words before.

I was less curious about Johannes Faust. His narrative was told in reverse chronological order and, honestly, it was boring. I felt I was having to wait long enough for action to occur in the main narrative, without these tedious intermissions. Maybe it was because they were set in 1537... I've never been one for historical fiction...

Unfortunately, my curiosity fizzled out well before the narrative started to get going on roughly page 150. I slogged through it, but this was a book I was kind of relieved to close. All I can say at the end of it is that I can see James Treadwell is a very educated man who can write. That's what will stick with me. Not the prose. Not the characters. Not the re-imagined mythological figures. If he (or his editor) could have sliced and diced this 448 page whopper, then I think there might have been a good and gripping story within those pages.

I hate saying bad things about free books. Hell, I hate saying bad things about any books! This one might sit better with someone more concerned with the art of pretty prose than with story. Unfortunately, I'm not that person.
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