Review: The Secrets of A Fire King

Reblogged from Goodreads

There are books that have substance, and there are books that are pure style. Not that there’s anything wrong with style: see this short piece about Joyce and the “New-Agey claptrap” Paulo Coelho churns out.

But, it is exceedingly difficult to write a readable book that is pure style with, at the heart of it, very little substance. Edwards tries, and the result is a collection of short stories (fictional vignettes really) that falls far short of her debut novel, The Memory Keeper’s daughter. The stories focus on a character, and tries to play on her transformation or growth, or a turning point in their life, but often fails. Engagement in the character falls short, and is inadequately replaced by far too many adjectives, or unconnected passages that try to connect the reader to the scene.

In short, I found the book tiring and unsatisfying. Unsatisfying, because the stories lack meaningful conflict and resolution (more the latter than the former), and tiring because the writing style gets trite pretty quickly. The stories are mostly plotless (something that I can envision working, but only in the hands of a few truly skillful authors), and the author doesn’t pull it off. It was a struggle to finish reading


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