Sophia's Reviews > Claustrophilia

Claustrophilia by Ezra Blake
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** spoiler alert **
This is the first time Chris has ever been awake. This is the first moment of his life.

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I picked up this one. It was vivid, grotesque, and just when you thought it’d get better, it got worse. It was brilliant. I’ve read nothing like it, and is it any wonder? It was terrible. The good kind of terrible.

I have some thoughts, and since I was invited to leave a review, I’m going to run them through.

The book was well written. Concise, yet balanced with poeticism and description. It’s rare that a book can perfect the balance between the two. I either end up with a sickly-sweet taste in my mouth or chuck the damn thing at the wall because it’s so boring. This was a pleasant read, because I ended up with neither.

A consistent storyline ran throughout the novel, though I am disappointed to say that I feel a stranger to the characters I read about. It was as if the opening paragraph said, ‘Here’s the main character, now have fun!’ while we both awkwardly shuffle around each other because there’s no dimension or integrity. Who is Chris? How can I relate to him? To what he wants? To phrase clearer – how can I care about him? Because the truth is, I didn’t. Not once.

The other characters seemed to have that same flat personality that was warm-pressed and photocopied straight from Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. I wasn’t reading about Ivan Skinner. I was reading about Hannibal Lecter with a red hair dye. I wasn’t reading about Christopher Dour, I was reading about Will Graham with a blonde hair dye. I wonder if they went to the same stylist.

Joking aside, that was the big let down for me. There were too many similarities, and the further I read, the staler and more unoriginal the novel became. We had an unstable and conflicted young man working for the police, a well-dressed smooth-talking cannibal who happened to play piano, speak Latin, and adore Florence.

It felt like I was reading a Hannibal fanfic. At times, I mentally tweaked the names and pretended that was the case. It felt more comfortable. The dialect was remarkably in-character and it made a lot more sense that way. All in all, there was little to no authenticity in this novel. I thought I was looking at well-developed characters with their own personalities and experiences, but once I ducked my head a little, I saw that they were two-dimensional and flat. Which really disappointed me.

Personally, three stars was a stretch, but I went ahead, mostly because I think that this author could do a lot better. He has a dark current and a beautiful way of crafting words. I would love to read an original story by Blake. I think it’d be brilliant.
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Reading Progress

February 14, 2019 – Started Reading
February 14, 2019 – Shelved
February 14, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2019 –
page 17
February 20, 2019 –
page 23
February 20, 2019 –
page 80
February 20, 2019 –
page 93
February 24, 2019 –
page 138
February 24, 2019 –
page 179
February 24, 2019 –
page 203
February 24, 2019 –
February 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

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