This book is beautiful.
I mean this in several ways like:
a) It actually physically looks beautiful. Just feast your eyes upon the gold-and-black theme and the delicate swirls (they look like gold wire). THIS BOOK LOOKS DELICIOUS.
b) It’s written in beautiful styles. One of the 4 parts is actually in lyrical prose. Fabulous.
c) It has blue pages. That was a wise publishing life decision.
I began to eat it.
As you know, I adored Marcus Sedgwick’s book She Is Not Invisible. I had high expectations for this one. When I cracked open the cover and saw detailed prologue that began (scarily) with Generations of stars lived and died, I thought, “OKAY THEN. I’m going to need to be cultured and intelligent for this book.* No worries. I can totally do that.”
I totally decided to approach it in an intelligent way…like the critic from Ratatouille.**
* Just in case you didn’t pick this up earlier, I am a) a flailer, and b) a fangirl, and c) would dearly love to be smart and philosophical and understanding of All The Things…but I’m not.
** This in itself proves that I am doomed.
The book is split into 4 parts.
The author’s note at the beginning says you can read them out of order. OH DECISIONS. I don’t like begin given such decisions. I decided to read them in order, because I am decidedly Erudite and not Dauntless.
So let’s look at the 4 stories somewhat individually, shall we?
* This is the only story in prose though! So if you’re not into that kind of writing DO NOT PANIC. The next 3 stories are normal.
This one is seriously depressing. It’s set in a sort of Puritan era. A girl is accused of being a witch…as is a popular accusation in those days. (They didn’t have internet! They had to call each other witches to pass the time.) The girl’s brother has fits, so (naturally) the villagers think he’s possessed. If you want anymore details, dwell on the title a moment.
THIS ONE IS SUPER WEIRD. It’s set in (I suspect) somewhere around the 1900s, where medical research sucks at best. It sneaks into the ghosty side and it’s set in an insane asylums. It’s narrated in a diary by a dud who lives in the asylum that he works at. (Because that is a good life decision…NOT.) It’s weeeeeird.*
* Although it indicates writers are insane and I, being one, am prone to agree.
It’s an intelligent book, presumably meant for intelligent readers.
I just didn’t get it. I didn’t click. I didn’t revel in the glorious spiral revelations. The stories are connected with mentions of this spiral shape. (Like the spectacular cover.)
I like to read books for characters, so I get emotionally involved and cheer and shout and ship and cry. Four short(ish) stories about different people (who seem dubiously insane) didn’t work for me.
But that’s just me. I’m pretty sure I’m a small minority. Goodreads is swimming in high rated reviews! Many of my bookish friends have loved it. And I have spectacularly huge respect for the author’s genius.* I also question if the book is YA. Personally? Nopity nope. It felt adult and it wasn’t particularly about teenagers (except for the caveman story).
* He totally is! He flaws me with his complex thinking and intricately designed plots.
If you need me, I shall be in the kiddie corner where I belong.
The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.
It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.
Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin…
Cait is fond of the spiral because it’s featured a lot in zentangle art…which she adores. In fact, Cait adores zentangle so much she plans on featuring it in her new blog design (in case you haven’t caught up with this fact, Notebook Sisters will be changing to paperfury.com soon. She will just keep repeating it so hopefully everyone will hear. Be patient with her.) Currently, she is neck-deep in NaNo and has 10,000-words down. Chocolate is being harmed in the making of this novel.