TBR Reviewer: Mark
Having read and been disappointed by Dan Simmon’s Drood (which follows a similar premise but instead looking at Charles Dickens and his final, unfinished work), I went in to this with very high hopes, especially having so enjoyed World Mart, Leigh Lane's previous novel. But unfortunately, though this is very well written and has an entirely suitable gothic feel throughout, I came away almost thinking I must be missing something. Though very good, reading this is kind of like trying to do a jigsaw where somebody keeps altering the picture as you go along. Every time I felt as though I was getting a handle on this story, along came Ms. Lane who seemed to pull the rug from out my feet sending me sprawling once more!
A book with no clear answers, no certain conclusions and no real sense of closure, this, like I say, is an interesting read if a perplexing one, that has gotten high praise and many rave reviews from critics. I can fully understand why because the imagery and imagination, not to mention research, that has gone into this novel is beautiful and brilliantly conceived. It would be unfair for me to say I didn’t enjoy this. But I was left feeling puzzled by its climax
and quite unsure how much of what I had just read was real and how much the product of a disturbed mind. It is a personal preference of mine that I prefer my endings just a little more neater and contained than is presented here.
A recent author I reviewed described his novel to me as a puzzle the reader needs to decipher and this is true too of Leigh Lane’s book. Is it better than Dan Simmon’s Drood? Definitely! Does it make any more sense? Not really though you cannot deny the technical skill and effort that has been put into something that at least tries to be different from anything else you will have read before. I loved the subtle introductions of so much influence from Poe’s collected work and definitely think that a better knowledge of his fiction would help make this a more rewarding read. But it remains that this is a book that
left me feeling very confused and for that, I am afraid, I can only give this 3 stars.
That said, I still have high hopes for anything else that Leigh Lane has written and this hasn’t put me off any. Indeed, she remains, in my eyes at least, an author I will certainly be keeping an eye out for in the future!