Saphrina's Reviews > claire-obscure

claire-obscure by Billie Hinton
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May 20, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2012

** spoiler alert ** This is more some thoughts on the book rather than a review.

I've rated the book three and half stars, although unfortunately I can't add half a star here on goodreads. I really, really want to give it four. (After dwelling on it some more, I decided to give it four stars.) The fact that I've just blown off four odd hours in the middle of the day and the gamut of feelings was incredible in the first half of the book. (Although, I do read other books in the same fashion.)

I've been reading a lot of romance of late, not my usual forte (as I keep saying), but it's been convenient. Lately I've been thinking a lot about reviews because usually I don't like to write them. I feel inadequate since my thoughts are emotionally biased and driven, but on the flipside I think that a review perhaps is the least we can do for an author and lately for the amount of indie authors. That all being said, this isn't quite a romance.

Firstly I'll admit that the title didn't grab me, and I do wish the artwork on the cover was a little better or a little more inline with the book.

This book is an ethereal stream running out to meet the ocean. It's poignant and beautiful as well as being painful and dark. Billie Hinton writes beautifully, let that be noted.

It's interesting that the way in which Claire's teenage rape is written is without full impact (on the reader). The Claire I read has withdrawn into herself and it's not until later on that I felt it hit me just how much impact it and other events in her life have and on her behaviour and decisions.

I think the first half of the book was great, I'm not sure if I was comfortable with all the places it took me, but the discomfort was effective (I'm still feeling it now).

I wish there was more connection with Finn, the ending left me with feeling that Finn's character whispered away on the wind, some sort of enigma in black turmoil. (Yes the relationship was incredibly unhealthy and enabling.) I'm torn between the effectiveness of the ambiguity and the unanswered actions in the book. The contrast between Finn and Raoul was beautifully written. I felt that Finn has was hard in his softness and as Raoul was soft in his hardness.

Some of the book dragged a little, but I was glad I perservered it. What stood out to me most was Claire's inability to say no and in some respects protect herself and the others around her. It's like she is able to give of herself in the moment, but she is unable to do so outside of that. Her waxing and waning connections with people all seem to stem back to what has happened to her.

One of the parts I felt was saddest was Claire's relationship with her father, who loves her and is trying to connect with her. It's so sad that she admits she leans towards her mother who is distant and disinterested. I feel as though she punishes her father with this distrust, as though her conception was a lie because her father is gay, yet she allows others to take advantage of her while she internally wades through her emotions. Though her interaction with her parents in the book is minor.

She never quite takes the leaps she needs to (rebellions aside), meaning she never really quite makes the decisions. Clarie's situations almost seem to be one of circumstance.

I don't think I'll be reading the sequel. After seeing the blurb and seeing the line about Bingham I felt that was a little too obvious, that's not to say that I might not change my mind. I liked his character a lot.

Definitely worth the read, albeit being quite a dark read. I did like it very much, but not for the faint of heart.
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