By: Charlie Fletcher
434 pages (Trade Paperback)
An organization known as The Oversight polices the line between the normal and the supernatural, but only a few remain. “When they fall so do we all.”
* * *
It is a curious thing, how novels written in Victorian or pseudo-Victorian time periods are so often written at a higher writing level than your average book. Sentences are crafted a bit more artfully and there are more than a few big words for me to look up, like horripilant and crepuscular. I’d like to point out that my spell check doesn’t even think horripilant is a word, but that may be because this is more of a British usage.
My biggest problem with this kind of writing is that it slows me down. In this case the story wasn’t difficult to follow, it just took a little more time to digest all the verbiage. There are plenty of books out there that are written far more elaborately than this. Personally, I prefer clear writing to fancy writing, not to say that fancy writing can’t be clear on occasion. I don’t want to break up the story to look up words I don’t know, I just want to jump in and immerse myself in it. For me, the more advanced the writing the more distance I feel between me and the story, and it’s more difficult for me to get into it and bond with the characters.
Now to solve this problem authors either need to write more simply, or I just need to become smarter. Hmmm…I’ll work on that.
As for the story, even though I felt like the writing overshadowed it a little bit, it was good. The perilousness of being the last people secretly holding everything together, keeping the things that go bump in the night in check, added a great sense of urgency. The characters were ultimately great, but it took me most of the book to warm up to them. By the end I really liked them, which would have been more of a problem if it were a standalone novel, but since it’s a trilogy (from what I can tell) nothing is wasted. The magic was grounded in folklore which made it feel more plausible, and the idea of getting lost in a maze of mirrors for all eternity is especially cool.
Sophisticated writing aside, it was an interesting story, and I’ll be adding the sequels to my reading list. I guess I’ll just have to start reading the dictionary in preparation for the next one. But hey, being smarter is never a bad thing right? Until next time…