Ash – Review: Library

Ash coverAsh by Malinda Lo – 3.5/ 5 stars

I wanted to LOVE Ash by Malinda Lo. I wanted this to be my next favorite book. A lesbian retelling of Cinderella, probably the fairy tale I relate to the most, was destined to be a favorite. So, I looked, and I looked, and I looked for reasons to absolutely love this book, but ultimately, it ended up being a pretty average book.

What started off with a lot of potential, and a lot of initial goodwill on my part, ended up not amounting too much. I, mistakenly, assumed that the prince would instead be a princess, but that’s not the twist. Instead, the king’s hunter is a female huntress and she’s the one Cinderella (Ash) notices. Okay, so, not what I expected, but the unexpected can be good or even great, so this was not a major problem. Instead, there were several other serious problems with the book.

This is a YA book, so it easily could have been a coming out/ coming of age YA book. I would have been fine with that. Except, that’s not exactly what this is. Instead, for a long time, Ash does not question what she is feeling and then when she does, it’s more about the love triangle than it is about her sexuality. For me, it was not clear whether Ash is a lesbian or bi/pansexual, though I suspect it is the latter. This is one of the things I struggled with in the book. I wanted Ash to either embrace her sexuality or grapple with it, but she didn’t do either and instead, seemed to just let the moment decide for her. Now, there is nothing wrong with a character shirking labels; I myself did that for much of my sexual identity. But that’s not what is going on here. Instead, it is almost as if Ash is too young to understand or have sexual thoughts. She comes across more curious about her love interests than attracted to them, which felt more like asexuality than anything else. Again, I would have no problem with an asexual Ash, but I gather that’s not what she is supposed to be. It’s as if Lo was not sure how to portray Ash’s sexuality and thus we end up with this unclear sense of it.

In addition to the sexuality piece being written in an unclear manner, there is an unclear love triangle which is partly murking the waters on Ash’s sexuality. In this retelling, Ash does not have a fairy godmother; instead, her fairy is a dark and dangerous male fairy. He is the other love interest, but it is not quite clear whether she is attracted to him sexually or simply pulled in by this supernatural power he exudes. Maybe it is clearer than I imagine and I simply could not come to terms with the idea that her fairy “savior” is abusing his power to get her to run off with him. It was disturbing, especially since Ash sometimes seems to think that she is attracted to him. It was a close portrayal of how abuse victims end up thinking that they are the one at fault. But, it is all too vague to state emphatically that this is what Lo intended, so it may just be a poorly fleshed out love triangle. Regardless, I was not a fan of the triangle nor of the idea of Ash falling for her fairy godfather.

But, for me, the biggest problem with Ash is that the love interest is an incredibly slow burn. It is often so slow, one is simply reading tedious plot that does not go anywhere or develop anything. In fact, I would have been happy with more character development or more clearly fleshed out plot lines. But instead, there are irrelevant scenes of Ash waiting for something to happen. I grew so bored, this was nearly a DNF. Eventually, it gets better and more things happen, but still they do not happen between Ash and the huntress, who spend long sections of the book having no contact with each other. By the end, I do not understand why either of them are interested in each other. To be fair, I strongly prefer slowly built relationships, but this one was so sparse, it barely made sense.

There was so much potential in this story that I want to rewrite it myself and flesh out a deeper, more beautiful story. The premise is solid and there is much to work with, but it did not end up satisfying me in the end. But, there were parts I enjoyed and I am glad I read it. I am not certain I will read more by Lo, though I want to do so. I worry that these concerns will linger in her other books based on snippets of reviews I’ve seen, leaving her lower on the list of authors I hope to revisit someday. Which is a shame as I think there was real potential for me to fall in love with Lo’s body of work.

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Wonder – Review: Library

Wonder coverWonder by R.J. Palacio – 3/ 5 stars

Wonder, oh Wonder. I had avoided reading this book because I rarely find that hyped books live up to the hype. I am a critic. I nitpick. It is part of my personality and also part of my academic training. I can thoroughly enjoy a book while I’m reading it and then point out all its flaws while I’m reviewing it. I strongly suspected a book written by an author who saw a boy with a deformed face and decided she had the right to tell his story would be one I would suffer through. I was mostly right.

To start, it’s important we are all on the same page about what ableism is, since it’s central to the critique of this book. Ableism broadly is discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. More subtlely, it’s treating non able-bodied people as if there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed. If you read Wonder, you might have cringed after reading that statement, because you probably remember how nearly every character in the book felt that there was something wrong with Auggie that needed to be fixed. That in fact, his parents spent a lot of time, money, and energy trying to fix him. Or that nearly everyone around Auggie was ableist in some way towards him at some point in the book.

In America, I constantly see quotes that go something like this, “Love is seeing his flaws and loving him in spite of them.” This is pretty much how every character approaches Auggie – they love or like him in spite of his deformed face. But really, true love is loving someone because of their flaws. Ideally, we love each other as they are, not as we want them to be. No one is perfect; everyone of has some sort of deformity. Auggie’s deformity was visible, but for most of us, our deformities are on the inside. Maybe we are too judgemental, maybe we are too harsh with other people, maybe we don’t help out when others have needs, maybe we are quick to anger. These are not things to hate in another person, but instead to embrace in them because it is part of who they are. If we as a society would embrace that we are all flawed humans, with great variation, and there is no such thing as normal, the world would be a safer, happier place.

Maybe the point of having all the characters treat Auggie like he was broken and needed to be fixed was Palacio’s way of showing how flawed that view is. But if that was the message, it was lost on me, partly because of how the school only accepted him once they heard about how Auggie was bullied. Aw, poor deformed Auggie, his life is really hard, but it would be so much better if he was normal because then he wouldn’t be bullied. We should be his friend even though we didn’t like him at all when he was just the deformed kid. That kind of patronizing, ableist attitude makes my stomach turn and I was frustrated to no end that this book is held up as the standard for books about deformed or disabled kids.

Outside of ableism, the book was fine. It was kind of nice to get other viewpoints, but it also felt forced in a lot of cases. I didn’t have as big of a deal with Justin getting his own chapter as other people did, but I don’t think it added a whole lot of value. But I didn’t really think a lot of the individual chapters added a lot of value. They all sounded a bit too similar to me.

Wonder was a bit too happily ever after for me, with everything nicely wrapped up in a neat little bow. I expect that some for a book at this age level, but children are resilient enough for there to be challenging situations that don’t wrap up perfectly well. I would have liked to see more grey than the black and white, good or bad, one size fits all story lines.

In the end, this wasn’t a book about Auggie, but instead a book about how other kids dealt with Auggie’s presence, and that was bothersome to me. This should be a book about Auggie and how he feels about a world which treats him as broken and disabled even when he is neither. Auggie says that he’s a normal kid, but he does not act as though he sees himself that way. In fact, there are several times where it seems like Auggie enjoys being treated differently, for example by having his mom prioritize his feelings over his sister’s. There was a lack of consistency in how Auggie talked about himself and how he behaved. What did he truly think and feel and how representative is his story of children in similar situations? I suspect it is not representative, but I cannot be certain. This is why it can be problematic for a person privileged on a topic to write a main character who is not privileged on that topic. It can be hard to step that far out of one’s comfort zone or to find a way to truly understand an experience one does not experience themselves. While I am disabled, I would not presume to know how to write a character like Auggie as my disability is invisible. Also, I became disabled as an adult. I do not have the same experiences as Auggie to be able to write from his perspective and I would not even call my experiences similar enough to feel comfortable writing his story. This is why I am not exactly critiquing the way Auggie’s character was written, though I am critiquing the lack of consistency. While I suspect the depiction of his inner thoughts and feelings are inaccurate based on accounts I’ve read in the anti-ableism movement, I cannot possibly say for certain. That is for someone who is more similar to Auggie to say and I hope one day such a person writes a better story than Wonder about their childhood experiences.

If you want to read a book that will make you feel warm and fuzzy and don’t plan on thinking too critically about how accurate it is, then this is a solid book choice. From that point of view, this was a 3 star read for me. It is definitely over the top and a happily ever after story that will leave you feeling that the world is a good place. But, if you are looking for an accurate depiction of a deformed child, I suggest doing your homework on this book first and then making a decision for yourself whether it fits your needs. From this point of view, this is a 1 star read for me.

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The Golden House – Review: ARC

The Golden House coverThe Golden Houseby Salman Rushdie – DNF (no star rating)

The Golden House is the type of book I tend to love: high literary fiction which is satire and political commentary. However, even I have my breaking point with such novels and The Golden House has hit it. At almost 30% (chapter 13), this is a DNF for me and I suspect I won’t be picking it back up.

While I do not think literary fiction needs to reference other fiction or the like in order to be literary fiction, I don’t mind it in stories and I do find, when well done, it contributes greatly to the story line. However, in The Golden House, the name dropping is incessant and unnecessary. Very quickly it feels like Rushdie is simply doing it to prove that not only has he been well versed in the classics, like Greek mythology, but he is also completely up to date on news stories and happenings throughout the world. The references are all over the place and quite often add nothing to the story but frustration. The references are often obscure, almost on purpose, and many other times, are things only a few well read people would have come across. The reader is left feeling throughout the book that s/he must be missing something crucial by not understanding all these references. This will be a major impediment to this book finding an audience.

I personally have no problem reading a book that regularly refers to a few pieces of literature, even if I do not know them that well or even have never heard of them. I will stop reading the book to spend time going over the literary reference. Referring to other literature can be an effective literary device and I was interested in the Greek mythology references tied to the characters names in The Golden House. Readers of my blog will note that I highly recommended The Judgement of Richard Ritcher, which continuously throughout the book references a story I had not heard of going into the book. It was an effective literary device. I strongly suspect that had I finished The Golden House, the references to Greek mythology would have been highly effective literary devices. I am not critical of those references. I am critical of nearly every other reference, including to “famous” people and other very specific Manhattan snobbish, high-minded references.

Underneath the layers of random, unnecessary, obnoxious references is a typical literary fiction story, in which the first part spends significant time on character development. If one can ignore feeling in the dark because of the references, there is rich enough character development that I do not think it is entirely necessary to understand the random references (of course, the Greek ones are vital to the story). At about 15%, I decided to not slow down for the references I was unaware of and simply pushed through them. In doing so, I saw the beauty of Rushdie’s character development. It is an unusual style that is a bit challenging to get into, random references aside, but then at some point, it becomes crystal clear who the character is, was, and will be. The reader feels s/he is fumbling along through long sentences that do not seem to be going anywhere, until all of a sudden, one arrives at the destination. I fully grasp why people praise Rushdie’s writing. There is much beauty in it.

Ultimately, the random, incessant references were not why I gave up on this book. I was willing to look past them. By this point in the book, I am mostly invested in the characters and am interested in seeing how this plays out. The reason I gave up reading this book was personal. It is not something easily put into words, in part because of its intimacy and vulnerability, but mostly because it is simply a feeling I get from this book. It would be challenging to write a book about the Trumps, err Goldens, and not leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth. There is something seedy, dirty, misogynistic, and unsettling about this book, but it is just a hint of a feeling, but a feeling strong enough it was becoming increasingly more challenging to read this book. As some one particularly sensitive to such threads in a book, I trust that this book will only become more challenging to read as it progresses and I am currently not in the head space to cope with those challenges. If my dog weren’t dying, maybe I would be, but right now, I am not in a space to read a book that goes down the rabbit hole of the Trumps, err Goldens. I do hope to get back to this book, but I won’t try to read it again until I am able to read reviews by people other than those whom excitedly requested the ARC or snatched up early copies. Only then will I get a true sense of what I am in for if I finish this book and without that sense, I do not see me picking this book back up anytime soon.

I received this book from Netgalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.

Add to your Goodreads TBR! The Golden House


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Girls Made of Snow and Glass – Review: ARC

GIrls Made of Snow and Glass coverGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust – 3.5/ 5 star

Girls Made of Snow and Glass started strong and had a wonderful dual timeline, but then the two timelines met and the book became more and more unbelieveable. Initially, the book has dual timelines, with Lynet (Snow White) in the present and Mina (The Evil Queen) in the past. I greatly enjoyed the backstory of Mina as it was relatable and gave her so much dimension. If the book had continued on this trend, then it would have been hands down 4 stars, if not 4.5.

However, at some point, both Mina and Lynet are in the present and the storyline becomes more and more unbelievable as it progresses to the overly optimistic ending. This book is touted as a feminist retelling of Snow White; yet this book seems to fail to understand that feminism does not preclude two female characters at odds with each other. Feminism requires strong, well-developed female characters who are three-dimensional and have their own agency. Mina and Lynet have these things and they were on the path set out for them in the original story. This was a good thing and in some ways, I have no problem with them veering off that path; it was just that it was hard to believe that these particular characters had enough compassion in them to overcome the incredible odds pushing them towards the original path.

Another problem I had with the book was with how many sections of the book dragged. The romance between Nicholas and Mina was discussed in much more detail than was useful, especially when it would have been preferable to develop other characters instead like Mina’s father, Gregory. If the courtship had led to useful information about Nicholas and why he treated Lynet like she was made of glass, then it would have been interesting. There should have been a stronger edit, ensuring that the book focused on the most important aspects of the story and developed all the characters who had a significant role to play.

Ultimately, whether you will enjoy this book will likely come down to whether you will like the ending. The ending was rushed and many significant plot points were barely given a page to explain. Add that to the ending being unbelieveable and not in line with who the characters are, and for me, I ended up with a book that start strong, dragged a bit in the middle, and then fell into some world in which the characters so well developed in the beginning were all of a sudden entirely different people making choices that the laid out characters would have likely not made.

If one goes into this book without strong expectations of how the story should go and is looking for a light YA read, then that reader may greatly enjoy the book. However, if like me, you went in expecting this to be a retelling and the kind of book where well-developed characters then make decisions which make sense based on who they are, then this might not be the book for you. I love fairy tale retellings. I love them even more when there is a lesbian twist to them. It is by far my favorite genre. But because I love them so much, I expect them to be well thought out, well written, and if they chose to retell the story within the context of the original story, to stick to the major points, or at the very least, don’t combine Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and the Snow Queen all into one. Pick one fairy tale, retell it, and be done – well done.

I received this book from Netgalley and publisher Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.

Add to your Goodreads TBR! Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Considering reading it? Check out a free Kindle preview! Ready to buy? Purchase on Amazon or Book Depository. Please note that Diversifying Perspective is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Book Depository Affiliates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to free Kindle previews through Amazon.com and purchase pages at Amazon.com and BookDepository.com. This does not impact the selection of books nor the content of reviews.

Little Gold – Review: ARC

Little Gold coverLittle Gold by Allie Rogers – 4/ 5 stars

Trigger Warnings: Suicide attempt (not graphically depicted) and sexual assault (not graphically depicted)

Little Gold is a touching, heartfelt story about a little girl called Little Gold who is struggling to navigate a family falling apart and a world which is not accepting of who she is: a tomboy and a lesbian. Her neighbor, Peggy, an older woman, with grandmother like qualities, befriends Little Gold in part to bestow upon her acceptance and information Little Gold would otherwise not have received.

This book was challenging to get into at first. It is heavily British and there are many words which I was not familiar with, though they made sense in context. It is a slow start and it was not entirely clear where the book is going. In fact, I expected the book to go into more depth about the girls who bully Little Gold for dressing like a boy, but that storyline faded away quickly. This is not exactly a coming of age story, particularly around Little Gold’s identity and sexuality. Instead, it is a coming of age story during a family crisis and a significant shift in living standards. It is a story of navigating through the dark.

It is hard for me to describe this book as it is an emotion that carries one through to the end. Somehow, Little Gold grew on me and I felt for her as she watched her family fall apart, helpless to do much of anything. Yet somehow, this is not a book which made me cry; there is always this sense that things will work out.

This book tends to be a bit vague, though the major plot points are resolved. I was a bit disappointed with how well things wrapped up in the end as it was a bit too convenient. But it was so heartwarming, the end didn’t much affect the rating.

I recommend this book to the serious reader; the kind of reader willing to push past a slow beginning to get to an amazing story. This book is not for everyone, but it is an excellent book for the right type of reader.

I received this ebook free from Netgalley and publisher Legend Times Group in exchange for an honest review.

Add to you Goodreads TBR! Little Gold

Considering reading it? Check out a free Kindle preview! Ready to buy? Purchase on Amazon or Book Depository. Please note that Diversifying Perspective is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Book Depository Affiliates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to free Kindle previews through Amazon.com and BookDepository.com. This does not impact the selection of books nor the content of reviews.

The Hate U Give – Review: Library

the hate u give coverThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 5/ 5 stars

This book, The Hate U Give, has forever changed me. It is an incredibly powerful story, yet it is written in straightforward language, making it accessible to anyone. I read this book faster than nearly any other book I’ve read, partly because of this straightforward language and partly because I could not stop reading it. Every time I stopped to do something else, I found my mind coming back to this storyline, trying to process and cope with what had just happened while also trying to figure out what happens next.

It’s description is accurate and lays out the general progression of what will happen next, but it did not capture the intensity of this book. I went into this book knowing that Khalil was going to die and yet, when he was killed early in the book, I found myself crying. It was not the last time I cried either. Starr lives a life no child should be asked to live, balancing race, navigating gang politics, learning now to stay safe, and recovering from tragedy and trauma. Yet, she takes much of it in stride and still lives and enjoys life. She is an amazing narrator and captures the essence of the world around her in a way that transports the reader. She is an objective narrator while also feeling the effects of the world around her. She is raw and poignant and brave. She is the perfect young adult narrator.

The description also does not capture the breadth of this book. The Hate U Give covers many issues around race and racism, but often in a subtle way, which is integrated into the story. It covers cultural differences between white and black people, but in a way in which it does not overly highlight them or shut the reader down. The Hate U Give discusses all of these in a disarming way, allowing the reader to see their own mistakes, self-reflect, and decide if and how they want to make a change. In addition, the book does not over explain concepts, sometimes not explaining them at all and allowing the context to speak for itself. Other times, Starr explains the concepts in a way in which it seems natural conversation. Thomas’s amazing writing style gives the reader the chance to learn and grow without feeling ignorant or racist, which is a true gift.

I need to point out that I am not a typical fan of YA. While I have enjoyed a few YA books, for the most part, there are two things about them that I routinely dislike: love triangles and simplistic, non-descriptive writing. This book lacked both. Yes, there is a romance, but there is no triangle, at least not for Starr. And yes, the writing is straightforward, but it is not dumbed down and even though it is told in the first person, a style I typically do not like, the narrator captures so many details, emotions, connections, understandings, well, just everything. I lived this book, and now it is my proof that both YA books and first person narratives can to better than they typically do when it comes to providing depth.

I loved that Starr’s boyfriend was the role model of healthy relationships, even though the books starts with a moment where he was not the ideal boyfriend. Yet, he is not perfect. He grows and develops and is willing to learn. He makes mistakes, but works through them, and by the end is a great example of not only what a great boyfriend is, but also a great human being. We need more characters like this in books, especially YA books.

I do not know how to do this book justice, even though I so very much want to do it justice. Some reviewers find it more challenging to review a book they do not like, but I struggle with reviewing a book I love. I do not know how to capture the essence of the book, how it conveyed to me its secrets, how it moved me to a whole different place on my journey, how it will stick with me like a memory I actually experienced, or how much I want everyone else to read it. Some books speak to the soul, but that is a deeply intimate conversation which is hard to relay to others, or at least it is for me. This book not only spoke to my soul; it changed it. I can never look at the world the same way again and I am better for it. The hype for this book is not overrated and this is definitely a must read book. It will likely be in my top five reads of the year and has already made my favorite list. I likely will read this again, something I very rarely do, and I will devour everything else Angie Thomas writes. This is an incredible novel on its own, but to then realize that it is a debut speaks volumes to the quality of Thomas’s writing. Read this book; you will not regret it.

Add to Goodreads! The Hate U Give

Considering reading it? Check out a free Kindle preview! Ready to buy? Purchase on Amazon or Book Depository. Please note that Diversifying Perspective is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Book Depository Affiliates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to free Kindle previews through Amazon.com and BookDepository.com. This does not impact the selection of books nor the content of reviews.

The Shadow of the Wind – Review: Library

The Shadow of the Wind coverThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – 3.5/ 5 stars

When I walked into my library and saw this book on display, I immediately wanted to read it. I took it home and had to convince myself I needed to wait to read it until I finished the book I was currently reading. It’s not often that a book calls to me in such a way that I want to drop everything to start it, but The Shadow of the Wind called to me, which is a bit poetic since the entire premise of the book is that a book called to Daniel and led him down a path of mystery, intrigue, and danger. I wish this book had been as compelling for me as Daniel’s was for him. While I started with really high hopes, those hopes crumbled throughout the book.

In The Shadow of the Wind, a young son of a bookstore owner, Daniel, comes across the book, The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. Yes, both the actual book and the fictitious book have the same name. Daniel devours the book and then seeks to learn more about the author. What he learns is that there are no other books by Julián Carax left in print because someone has been systematically destroying them. I found this to be an intriguing premise and to a certain extent I was captivated by its slow reveal, but there were several aspects which left me unsatisfied.

The first was how Daniel responded to this information. While the book blurb seems to indicate that Daniel will set out immediately to solve this mystery, actually, he is much more focused on a girl than the book or the story around the author of that book. While there is value in this story line, it drags on for entirely too long. In addition, this is where I stopped having a great affinity for Daniel. Like his father, I was incredibly disappointed with a choice that Daniel makes and honestly, it made much of the rest of the book unbelievable to me. This one action greatly shows who Daniel is and it isn’t a kind of person who would much care about unraveling a mystery, especially at great cost. While I enjoyed the unfolding of the mystery, I struggled to understand why Daniel was a central figure in it or why there was no movement on the mystery for many, many years and pages. My loss of affection for Daniel was a serious blow to the book as I care much more about characters than I do plot and this ended up costing the book a full star.

I also had problems with Daniel’s love interest. Unfortunately, it is challenging for me to say much about my problems without possibly spoiling the book. Suffice it to say that one love interest is better developed and makes much more sense in the context of the book and what the author is trying to accomplish where the other one is annoying instalove with little development and does not fit well within the broader story. Add to the top of that the constant, horrible, unnecessary sexism and it was hard to read much of the plot on the love interest at all. Of course, the sexism was not only towards Daniel’s love interests, but nearly every female character in the book. Yes, I understand that during the time period the book is set in, there was significant sexism and also that there may be differences in cultural views on women, but in the end, much of this commentary was strictly unnecessary and simply detracted from the enjoyment of the book. Again, I care much more about characters than I do about plot and these comments prevented me from having great affinity for nearly any male character in the book.

Since I found myself unable to connect to male characters, I pretty much was unable to connect with any character as nearly all female characters were background characters used to drive the story along. The most depth we get from female characters is from two different women who reveal much of the solution to the mystery. Whether men or women tell these stories, the characters always know significantly more than is possible for them to know. Their stories are told to other characters in the books, but yet they are written as simply another narrator, who is privy to personal thoughts, feelings, and background information of other characters in the story. This was unbelievable as some of these characters did not have the connections necessary to possibly know these things, let alone access to the internal struggles of characters outside themselves. This was a significant detractor from the book. Even Daniel, the main narrator and written from his point of view in the first person, knows things he cannot possibly know and the book is written as though it was in the third person, but since there are endless I’s throughout the book, it was instead written in the first person. I honestly found myself thinking it was written in the third person throughout the book and thinking that it made sense to know this much information, but then I would see the use of I and remember that Daniel cannot possibly know all of this information. This book would have been much more effective if it had been written in the third person, possibly from the point of view of more than one character, but only in the author would have been able to make those points of view distinctive, which I suspect would not have happened since the few moments we get of perspectives from other characters sound just like Daniel.

The final point of disappointment with this book is the ending, which is a little bit too perfect and covers too much ground. It was these last chapters that ruined the story for me as again I found it unbelievable and hard to connect with the characters. I do not understand why there are so many highly positive reviews and endorsements for this book, except for the fact that it is a book about books. As a avid reader, of course am intrigued by books about books, but I also know that it is simply a device to get more readers to read the book, so there better be something substantial to the book. There were several plot points I figured out less than halfway through the book, yet they weren’t revealed until the end of the book. In my opinion, the book was simply too long. Yes, it was incredibly well written and that matters greatly to me, but there needs to be more than simply well written sentences to push a book to a 4 or 5 star rating. There needs to be well developed characters the reader can connect with and this book lacked that for me. Without that, then it falls back on the plot and there was too much time spent on irrelevant plot, not enough time spent on relevant plot (though this is dangerously close to the lack of character development I mentioned before), too many unbelievable elements (not magical realism unbelievable – that was fine – but as discussed above), and too much unnecessary sexism to make this plot enough to carry the book. There are great lines in this book and those lines pushed me to continue the book in hopes that the final plot reveal would make up for the frustrations that worsened throughout the book, but in the end, the ending sealed for me that this was not the book for me. I wanted to love this book, but I simply could not. It was vastly better than Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, which seems to want to be this book, but it was not on par with 4 star books, though it had potential to be. If you are interested in reading a mystery about books and know that is sufficient for you or you really love gothic books, than this is a definite read. If gothic books aren’t really your thing or you prioritize characters over plot, then I would suggest passing on this book, mostly because it is so very long.

Add on Goodreads! The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1)

Considering reading it? Check out a free Kindle preview! Ready to buy? Purchase on Amazon or Book Depository. Please note that Diversifying Perspective is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Book Depository Affiliates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to free Kindle previews through Amazon.com and BookDepository.com. This does not impact the selection of books nor the content of reviews.