Books, Rowling

Book Review – The Cuckoo’s Calling

I am a few days late in posting this, in fact have been oddly silent this week.  It was a crazy week in mom land – track meet, FBLA outing, dance, then a blissful night at a Pentatonix concert.  They were phenomenal!  Such a talented young group, I hope they “last” – so many musical groups just dry up and blow away.  After that, I have been doing spring cleaning this weekend, so I am finally getting sitting down to give this review.

Well, let me preface this by saying, it’s about half a review.  That’s because I read a little over half the book.  I was trying, I was actually struggling, to get that far.  I had resolved to finish the complete book, so it was not a waste of time, but, Friday night, end of a LOOOOONG week, the book was not moving me in the least.  I found it dull, the story just dragged, and the characters seemed cliched and flat. I tried to be sympathetic to Cormoran Strike (coolest part of the book – that his name is Cormoran), having fought in Afghanistan and losing part of his leg, but she (the author) was trying too hard to make him “mysterious”.  There were gaps in his immediate background (things that occurred just as the story opened).  The bright spot to the story was Robin and I found her to be a bit weak and not very assertive at all, throughout most the story – she could be, but the author chose to let Robin fade somewhat into the background.  I actually skipped ahead to see who had “done it” but even that was not interesting, because truthfully, the victim was not likeable, none of the victim’s friends were likeable or believable, and the police seemed to be caricatures of law enforcement.

However, with all those problems, my biggest complaint about the book was that the author was pretentious.  She used unnecessary language, as if she were trying to prove that she was no longer writing young adult books.  I have a great vocabulary, and am guilty of using big words, but even professors tell you not to write in “academese” so that your readers understand you have grasped your concept well enough that you can reveal it in “laymen’s terms.”  She failed miserably in this endeavor, as there were moments I did actually feel like I was reading a research paper.

Another problem I had (this one is me being a lot OCD), but she divided the books into parts.  Ordinarily, there’s some bit of action or change that leads to a book being divided into numerous parts on top of the chapters.  This had nothing – again, I felt like she was saying “Look at me, I write adult books, I have PARTS!”

But, just because it is not my cup of tea, does not mean that you might not like it.  I will add, however, that I have several friends who are Rowling fans, and who attempted this book, and actually did not even read the first two chapters before they decided they did not like it.  I went as far as I did, not necessarily because I am a Rowling fan, but because I thought the story might get better.  (Plus I felt slightly guilty for not being able to read more than a chapter of A Casual Vacancy.)  Try it for yourself,  and if you have read it, please let me know your thoughts.

Up next on the reading list:  Tremor by Patrick Carman.  This is the sequel to Pulse, which I loved.  I believe Carman is one of the most brilliang MG/YA authors of our time.  I will post my review as soon as I finish. (That might be later today, so you might get a twofer post again).

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