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The book came fast, however, I ordered the book expecting it to look like a new book, it did in general but the paper on the hardcover was torn inside the book. I was going to give this as a gift to a friend. ^_^;
Overall, I found this book to be quite disappointing. I was initially drawn to the intriguing premise and found the novel the be well written. The author also succeeds in creating flushed out, generally agreeable protagonists. The novel began to lose me with the slow, drawn out start. The exposition and rising action makes up ninety percent of the book. The climax and falling action come and go quickly. Not to mention the lack of any sort of resolution, but more on that later. The author spends a great deal of time, with unnecessary attention to detail, spelling out the many past trials and tribulations of the male protagonist. So much so, that the suspense, romance, and intrigue of the “present” day story is lost. What little excitement is left for the current protagonists is again dwindled by the aforementioned pacing issues. The final nail in the coffin is the book’s obvious and desperate attempts at being revelatory. You cannot read a page without some line about the deeper meaning of life and all its mysteries being shouted in your face. While I expected a romance with a touch of historical fiction, it felt like a thinly veiled attempt at preaching a tired and cliche life philosophy. At the end of the novel, I was incredibly disappointed. Not only was I aggravated by the preachings of the novel, but the plot and the characters I begrudgingly rooted found no resolution. It felt as though I had suffered through the prolixious novel for nothing.
We spend so much time getting to know these characters, rooting for them to make it. So this non ending is really disappointing. Why on earth did the author, editor, publisher all think this was a good place to stop the story? It would make more sense if there was a sequel, but there isn’t. So I truly can’t understand why the story stops so abruptly.
Prefaec:Does anyone know if this book technically is YA? I thought I recalled seeing in reviews that this was Brashares' first adult novel? That being said, the below thoughts were written in the context of this being a book meant for a wider, older audience.
Having seen this book mentioned in several summer reading lists, I had high hopes thinking that this book would be a combination of Time Traveler's Wife meets Donna Boyd's The Alchemists. Wrong. What I got was a PG tween flick.
While Brashares begins the novel with strong writing and character development, she quickly falters after the first third of book. Though the characters of Daniel and Sophia/Lucy are initially interesting, they quickly become two dimensional vehicles for telling what turns out isn't an overly compelling story. In fact, by the time I reached the middle of the book I didn't really cared if they found each other or not. The pacing is slightly off, and the middle of the novel drags with artificially created anticipation, while the ending seems rushed and incomplete.
Far from challenging, perhaps fans of Brashares' other works will find the novel of more interest. Maybe I expected too much?
Our book club chose this book. The ratings were from 2 to 5, so my opinion is just that an opinion. I gave the book a 2. For me the book had a wonderful premise. I felt the author needed to develop her locations and why the location was important to the story. Each location dinfluence the protagonist and we needed to understand the why.
And by defies logic, I am not talking about reincarnation or any other supernatural element, all of which I find very fascinating. What I mean is that plot contrivances/devices and some motivations are so poorly rendered as to be wholly inexcusable. Moreover, there should have been noted in the book that it is the first of a triology so that the reader is not left hanging after a hurried and totally unsatisfactory ending. Even if she intended a cliffhanger, it fails as it most assuredly was not. Further, who gives a flying flip if Ben/Amita's cooking is horrible? Daniel flies halfway around the world for a critical message and the short visit revolves around cooking, with no apparent symbolism. Unless, of course, you consider it a metaphor for the author cooking up a mess.