At first, the lights came down, there was a hush and I was tucked up with my popcorn… well, minus the popcorn. Point is, I was captivated by the opening to this book. I loved the way it was done and the slow build of several mysteries had me intrigued. I was shivery with anticipation and found my old squeamishness had returned as dread built. And then… the story began to lag. I was turning page after page after bored page. It did eventually pick up again, but the damage was done. A book has to justify its length and this really didn’t do that- it just felt needlessly long.
One of the biggest causes of this dull interlude was how unnecessary the tag-along characters felt. Their connections to the case felt far too tenuous and even with hints that there was more to it, I couldn’t bring myself to care for them. Least of all for the mc’s love interest which, to coin Lucinda’s phrase, may as well have been a “sexy lamp” for all the impact she had. All the characters seemed superfluous- written in and out of the story as if they were nothing more than extras or there merely to change the scene. I just couldn’t connect with any of them.
I also didn’t like being told what a genius Cordova was- over and over again. And maybe it’s unavoidable in a book about another artistic medium to have to tell how brilliant someone’s art is- but frankly it didn’t feel that way for Ash, the prodigy in the book. I simply felt her mastery flying from the page like notes gliding from a piano. I actually was far more invested in Ash- with her wonderful stage name “Ashes from the ruins”- than I ever was in anyone else. She had the command of her audience from beyond the grave.
The *fade to black* ending was somewhat enigmatic- which can work- yet in this case only served to leave me less than satisfied. I frequently felt like the book was trying to convince me how oh-so-clever it was, but actually this led to it falling flat and feeling like a waste of my time. All those spooky hints had gone nowhere and the greatness it reached for was untapped. It felt like all I’d caught were red herrings.
And what was more disappointing than anything else was how the multimedia aspects weren’t what they were cracked up to be. Having read other books with this sort of style now, I felt like these additions had to mean something. And yet, it turned out I could have skipped them and I wouldn’t have missed anything from the story. Frankly, that was a bit of a piss-take. While initially this felt like peering behind the curtain, adding to the creep-factor, eventually I realised that there really was no wizard hiding out there and the bloke pulling the levers didn’t even have the power to transport me home. I’d followed the yellow brick lane to nowhere special.
Ultimately I was letdown by this book, but for the strong start, I’m giving it:
Rating: 2½/5 bananas
Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!