Friday, December 28, 2012

Disappointing Read

The title of this post should be flat out didn't like it because that's more honest. But since this is my first ever post about a book I didn't like, or, let's be real -- I didn't even finish -- I'm taking a gentler approach. The book? Jo Walton's Among Others. The premise is intriguing (from the inside book cover):

"Raised by a half mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. When her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead."

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? A little magic, fairy spirits, a spell gone bad, hints at sci-fi. Who WOULDN'T by intrigued? The reality is that I had to invoke my daughter's 50-page rule and even then I made it only to page 75 before giving up. The magic? The fairies? We get only the briefest of glimpses of either of these by the 75-page point. Seventy-five pages! And the hints at sci-fi? That comes only via the myriad references to SF book authors, titles, and characters, and I found the constant bombardment irritating. Maybe the intent was to add context? Not sure, but I found my eyes glazing over at every mention. The real disappointment for me was that nothing happens (at least not in the initial 75 pages), rather it's a LOT of plowing through uninteresting family history with brief references to things that happened off the page. Even these references are approached sort of sideways -- more of a by-the-way the twin sister is dead rather than a scene that shows us what happened. Maybe some of these things are played out or come together further in, but I just couldn't make myself keep reading. For me, reading is supposed to be pleasurable, not frustrating.

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