It looks like it’s that time again, but before I give you the detes on this book I’m going to warn you, this was…not a good one. If you’re looking for a fun review of a book or thing that I loved, I’m afraid you’re going to have to go elsewhere. Don’t fret, it’s not all bad. Unfortunately, it’s also very rarely good.
Okay, let’s start with the positive stuff.
First off, the writing. Claire Vaye Watkins is a good writer, sometimes even a beautiful one. The world is well drawn and believable, the characters seem like real people, the situations that they get themselves into aren’t cliched or caused by bad writing. They all flow from the characters themselves. All these are good things!
Unfortunately, they don’t help to make up for the flaws, and sometimes they even add to them. Let’s start with the characters themselves. They were definitely well fleshed out, complicated, real people (most of them anyways. Some of the side characters were a little one dimensional *cough* weird cult sex priestesses *cough cough*). They were also total dickheads. An unlikable character is not in and of itself a bad thing. It can actually be a great thing in the right hands. But everybody in this story was just such an absolute piece of shit. There was nobody to like, nobody to stand behind. And that’s fine. That’s a choice that you can make. I just find it difficult to invest in a story when I don’t care what happens to anybody involved.
My second issue with the book is the plotting, more specifically the pacing. Maybe it just seemed like this because I wasn’t having fun spending time with the protagonists, if you can call them that, but there seemed to be long stretches where next to nothing happens. There was a lot of rehashing of internal conflicts, lots of empty, open spaces. There was a great idea in here, a good, hard diamond of a story at its centre, I just felt like there was a lot of extra padding around it as well. Too much.
My reaction to this book actually really reminded me of California by Edan Lepucki. I liked and connected with the characters of that novel slightly more, but felt the same level of disconnect and disinterest towards the story. Maybe I just don’t like slow moving, dystopic/post-apocalyptic novels set in California? It sounds like something that I would love. That’s why I bought these books, that’s why my hopes were so high, which in itself might be the problem to begin with. Who knows.
I’m not sure if this has been a very helpful review, but it’s all I’ve got for ya on this one. I’d say give it a try. There’s definitely some stuff in here to latch onto, even if it wasn’t really for me.
Okay, that’s all for now.