Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And the point was?

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes left me saying "umm, what just happened and what was the point?" So it won my "wtf" award this month.

Well, it's British, so maybe that explains it. (Sorry, lame joke.) I read this book for 1) the gorgeous and gothic and suck-you-in cover, 2) decent-sounding plot and 3) mixed reviews on Amazon. I wanted to see why people hated it or loved it. Also, numerous reviewers mentioned A HUGE TWIST and I was curious. (For the record, it wasn't a huge twist and it didn't impact the plot much.)

Ok, honestly, I don't even know how to sum up the plot. It's set in late Victorian England. The story basically involves an aging magician/detective named Edward Moon and his silent assistant, The Somnambulist. They are presented with a mystery...first two odd murders, bizarre assassins and warnings about something bad that's going to happen to London in a certain amount of days. Stuff happens; people randomly show up/disappear; and Edward gets lucky in solving the mystery...but that doesn't prevent the bad thing from happening.

Let me be upfront: the book is weird. It could've been weird-yet-enchanting but as the book progressed, it just became um-I-feel-slightly-uncomfortable-weird. The late one-fourth of the book spirals into a bizarre, end-of-the-world fight that just doesn't make sense. Seriously, characters suddenly showcase the ability to disappear into thin air and I won't even get into details about who the sleeping person is and what happens to his body...bleh. Also, the ending itself is so unclear. I have no idea if it actually happened, and to be honest, it's basically a "yeah, who cares?" ending.

I didn't really gain much by reading it. Maybe if it hadn't spiraled into a crack-fueled world, it could've been better.

Rating: 5.5/10

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