Rebecca's Reviews > The Kingdom of Ohio

The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming
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's review
Jun 18, 2012

bookshelves: historical, science-fiction, romance

I'm about halfway through this book, and don't know if I'll finish it. I would add a summary, but part of the problem is that the book doesn't really know what it is. It's vaguely set in turn-of-the-century New York, where a subway worker encounters a homeless but well-dressed young woman who insists she's a time traveler from eight years in the past, and she lived in the 'Kingdom of Ohio,' a part of Ohio bought in colonial times by a French lord. Then Tesla, Edison, and J.P. Morgan get involved, as well as a present-day narrator full of "had I but known"s that he never explains, and a flotilla of footnotes that may be historically correct but may also be invented.

This book just feels pale to me, in that good books build worlds full of vivid color and characters and settings that you can plunge into and live in--roll around in, as some author I can't remember once said--and this one doesn't. It flits from character to character, never really explaining anyone's story or seeming to decide what story it's actually telling, much less letting the reader know. Usually I don't mind a writer holding things back and making it mysterious, but there's a point at which you just get frustrated with the endless coy hints about things and give up because you know you're never going to get the whole story, whatever it might be. You can only tease your readers for so long before they toss your book aside.

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