4. THE VISITORS, BY SALLY BEAUMAN
This was a strange book, and therefore difficult to rate. Overall, I have to say I enjoyed it, but it dragged on many places, and the last third or so felt unnecessary... Still enjoyable, I did like reading it, but it felt like it didn’t belong in the book.
It’s essentially a coming-of-age story with the famous archaeological expedition as background. The protagonist, Lucy, isn’t directly involved in the research; she’s more of an interested bystander who happens upon it by chance. She observes what is happening from afar, and the story centers on her life.
The book is rife with interesting and captivating characters (most of them not directly involved with the expedition either; god, those archaeologists were annoying... a bunch of grown men acting like pissbabies, throwing mantrums all the time) but I was somewhat disappointed in the end. After they open Tutankhamen's burial chamber and find him intact (at about 70% of the book), everything else seems extra. Maybe the beginning of the book focuses too much on the expedition, or maybe Lucy’s interest is too vivid, but it feels like the book should have ended there, and there is very little interest in what happens afterwards. Because the characters were so good, I did enjoy reading the rest, but more as a matter of course than because I really wanted to know what happened.
The writing is beautiful, and the language used is amazing. The research is all there, and it definitely pays off; the portrait of the time and place is quite vivid. The characters, as I said, are well written and interesting. But it’s not a very gripping book, it won’t keep you up at night, turning pages in a frenzy. It’s more of a reflective kind of story, and sometimes you have to stick with it, force yourself to read the boring parts to get to the good ones.
Up next: The Lost Thorn, by Joshua P. Aguayo