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review 2019-09-15 10:00
The Book of Speculation
The Book of Speculation - Erika Swyler

Yay for the library catalog turning up a title I’d never heard of while I was searching for The Night Circus. The Book of Speculation utilizes a variation on what I call the Kate Morton Formula (yes, I know she didn’t pioneer it, but whatever). A present-day individual comes into possession of a piece of the past and commences unraveling a family mystery, the past story and present story alternating in the book. In this case, the mystery is why all the women in Simon Watson’s family have a tendency to drown themselves. Oh, and the women are all circus performers. Swimmers and divers who can hold their breath for unbelievable lengths of time. Mermaids. Drowning mermaids. Honestly, if the book description had just been “Drowning mermaids” I still would have been sold.

 

The present chapters are told in first person present tense (ugh, why?), and the past in third person past tense. I’m never going to love present tense, but it wasn’t too obnoxious. Aside from that, I enjoyed it. The characters are memorable and the supernatural elements add a lovely flavor. I’m pretty pleased overall with this random library find.

 

(Read for Halloween Bingo Creepy Carnivals square)

 

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review 2018-08-31 04:33
Boy's Life
Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon

I meant to space this read out over the course of a week. I had the time, and I thought this book was the kind I’d like to savor. I did all right the first day, not so good the second day, and then my plan went out the window and I devoured the rest of the book yesterday. The onset of the book hangover was immediate. I went to bed last night without picking a new book to read. Do you know how often that happens? It doesn’t. It doesn’t happen. Half a day later, I’m still struggling to articulate what this book did to me.

 

Let’s talk about foreshadowing and how diabolically good Robert McCammon is at it. You can absolutely tell when he’s dumping foreshadowing on you, but you can’t always tell if the payoff is going to be some heartwarming home-made muffin of literary delight or some gut-wrenching tragedy or gore-splashed horror. Have you ever seen that old Bambi meets Godzilla short? It’s a bit like that, only it’s even odds whether the giant foot comes down or not and there’s more blood and guts when it does. (This inept metaphor is also applicable to what this book did to my feelings, my feelings being Bambi and the book being Godzilla. I’m sorry, guys. This book sucked out my soul and I’m reduced expressing my trampled feelings with references to a 50-yr-old low quality animated short. It was either that or a nothing-but-gifs review.)

 

In me are the memories of a boy’s life, spent in that realm of enchantments.

I remember.

These are the things I want to tell you.

 

Oh, reader, let him tell you. This book is hard on nerves, feelings, and family pets (holy cow, what has this book got against pets?!), but you want this to be you. Trust me.

 

 

 

I read this for the Halloween Bingo 2018 Southern Gothic square.

 

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