LauraJane's Reviews > The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
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Aug 29, 2012

it was ok
Read from August 29 to September 07, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I'll level with you for a second here: I *did* enjoy reading The Hangman's Daughter...but it wasn't the literary/historical fiction I was expecting. It's a murder mystery, and a mediocre one at that. It's fun, but not terribly well written.

The fact that it was mis-marketed is not the author's fault, but there were some issues with the writing he COULD have changed to make it a better story.

So, below are the spoilers:
I was angry that the scene where the bad guy ("The Devil")is finally killed takes place "off stage." I feel the reader is robbed that satisfaction of seeing that vindicating scene and it really should have been included in detail. Additionally, The Devil's back story is only revealed in part - and not enough for the reader to "get" him. We only get one glimpse in to his past, and it's not about how he becomes the bad guy - it just shows him being a bad guy, but in the past. I wanted MORE of his story - WHY is he so twisted? What happened to him? Where did he come from? What are his motivations now? He was just too - BAD.

There were too many times when the same character was introduced as though the reader were an idiot. The Hangman's wife is mentioned like, 15 times and EVERY SINGLE TIME she's introduced as "Anna Maria Kuisl, Jacob's wife" or some variation. It gave me the impression the author didn't trust the reader to remember simple details.

The book wasn't actually about The Hangman's Daughter. It was about the Hangman. And the Physician. The daughter was just a supporting character.

The denouement feels rushed and, frankly, sloppy. Too many loose ends are wrapped up too easily and too fast. I wanted the satisfaction of seeing the intrigue that had to go in to "fixing" the problems left over after the climax.

The plot was just...too thin. Too easy to see through.

What the author did WELL was creating characters who show empathy and depth (aside from the bad guy, who was purely 2 dimensional). He also clearly did his research and loved digging in to what life as an executioner, or physician, or child in 17th century Bavaria was like. He would be a brilliant archivist or historian, but not a fantastic novelist.

Just my 2 cents.

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