Hallie's Reviews > Wisdom of Dead Men

Wisdom of Dead Men by Oisin McGann
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's review
Feb 09, 10

bookshelves: fantasy, for-review, history-project, ya
Read in December, 2009

Was given this for review, but it's sort of impossible to review a book that takes off in a different direction from anything expected at the very end...

Not a book one can read for enjoyment of the prose, but the story is mostly enough to make up for that. The alternative 19th century Ireland is fantastic (literally and metaphorically!) and the Wildenstern family the most unlikely protagonists ever. Major flaw for my taste is the use of phoenetic spelling for the lower-class characters: irritating if you read slowly (and much more so if you read slowly and hear every word of dialogue in your head) and it makes the ultra-powerful characters the norm against which the poor and unprivileged are different. McGann's also developed a fairly big problem for himself in placement of sympathy - though a major plot turn I didn't see coming might have taken care of a bit of that! The new character - a boy who has Wildenstern-like powers - was a bit of nonentity and in fact, I think the ending forgot about telling what happened to him.

But for all that, it's such a different story, and I have high hopes for the conclusion of the trilogy.

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