Donna's Reviews > Albert of Adelaide

Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson
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's review
Apr 09, 2016

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from March 21 to 26, 2016

I remember picking this up at BEA a while ago but I just got around to reading it now (obvi). I wanted something light and quirky and what better to read than a story about an anthropomorphic platypus? I mean, just reading the blurb there it sounds really cute and fun and it was just what I needed.

Only it was kind of eh. I read off of an ARC so the final product could be slightly different but I found the writing rather lackluster. I’ve read simplified writing that’s completely on point but this wasn’t it. It was short on description, relied on redundancies, and read too much like a kids’ book as opposed to a fun read for adults. And I do think there is a line there; I don’t think this is a book for children. But it read like the author having a little bit of a hard time finding a medium between light and fun and dumbed-down writing and didn’t quite hit the mark.

It’s a story about a platypus that gets a rude awakening when he goes out into the world on his own. He’s been working on what is basically a pipe dream about this idealistic “Old Australia” but it turns out to be more trouble than it’s worth. It turns into a rather dark story toward the end when Albert finds this anger deep within him that allows him to kill others, mostly as a means of protecting himself and the others he’s close to. It’s about a guy finding himself, only this guy is a platypus.

I wanted to feel more for the story than what I ultimately did and I chalk that up to the writing itself. The blurb itself lends to a voice that falls just short of what the story actually is. Or rather the other way around. The story doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set out by the blurb. It’s not quite that quirky, not quite that cute. It’s written in a way, mostly through repetition, that doesn’t allow for the quirk to really shine. The writing is almost talking down to the reader without really intending to. So what started out as me being really excited for the story quickly turned into me just getting through the book because I wasn’t impressed by the writing.

The characters were developed well enough and I could definitely see their growth throughout the story. I thought the tale about Muldoon was particularly grabbing. But I didn’t feel anything for any of them. There was a distance with the writing that I couldn’t get past. I wanted to love it but the story wouldn’t let me.

ALBERT OF ADELAIDE was sort of fun, and I liked the world that Anderson built with these animals and the particular roles they played. But it was reading a story from a distance and because I couldn’t become as invested in the characters as I like to be I didn’t like the story as much as I wanted to. Kind of disappointing but it is what it is.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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03/21/2016 marked as: to-read
03/21/2016 marked as: currently-reading
03/26/2016 marked as: read
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