I liked some aspects of this book, and the story held my interest, but for some reason I didn’t completely connect with it.
This is a fantasy story set in the “real world”, in the present day. The basic premise, at least so far as we understand it at the beginning of the book, is that several orphaned children are adopted by a powerful man they call Father to be apprentices. They live in a ginormous library, and each child is assigned to a different “catalog” that they’re supposed to study. Our main character, Carolyn, is assigned to the catalog of languages. This isn’t a normal library, though; it’s full of knowledge that teaches them abilities that would seem magical to a normal human.
The story is a bit non-linear and a little twisty, which I enjoyed. I takes a while before all of the layers are revealed. It’s also darker than my description makes it sound. Father’s teaching methods aren’t very nice. The children are mostly adults throughout the story, except in some of the flashbacks, and they aren’t very nice either. I didn’t have any trouble with that aspect of it, but I would not recommend this to anybody bothered by reading gruesome descriptions, violence, or harsh language.
I think I enjoyed the book more in the beginning when I was still figuring out what was going on. The revelations as the story progressed were interesting, but they just made me like the characters less and I also thought some events felt too contrived, even within the context of the story. I never really connected with any of the characters, and I also felt disconnected from the humor. Sometimes the book made me smile or laugh, but there were more times when I would recognize that something was supposed to be funny but not feel the humor. I’m not usually that hard to please when it comes to humor, but for some reason I just didn’t really connect with it in this book.
So this was moderately entertaining for me, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, my classic selection for the third quarter.