As everyone knows, Short and Sweets are my way of reviewing books that weren’t great but weren’t horrendous. They are those novels that I dont have particularly strong opinions, and we all know I have an opinion on everything. Its been a few months since I did one but there have been a few this month so ON WITH THE SHOW!
Once Upon A River – Diane Setterfeld
Thankyou to Transworld/Random House UK for this one. It was very high on my want to read list.
Once Upon A River is a tale of a small town on a riverfront. One day a man arrives with the dead body of a small child and then proceeds to pass out cold. Noone knows who he or the girl are, leading to the events of the remainder of the novel.
Frankly, I had no idea what was happening until at least half way through. The POV skips between characters who seem to have little to do with each other until they all meet within the small town on the banks of the Thames. I lost track of who was doing what so many times that I had to reread the book and STILL got confused…
It was atmospheric and indepth with its world building, creating a magnificent scene of times gone by. You can see the bustle within the local tavern, everyone vying for the best seat in the house when the storyteller starts his tale. Feel the closeness of the space in the makeshift hospital. When it came to the creation of times gone, Setterfeld is spot on.
I, however, failed to connect with any of Setterfeld’s characters. Possibly because I was confused as to who was who and what they had to do with everything. Although well rounded and definitely for those who enjoy tales of old, I am giving it a 2/5 stars.
Witchcraft and Monsters – Kala Godin
I received a copy of Godin’s debut poetry from Patchwork Press and I’m so glad I requested it. Coming in at just 54 pages, I didn’t expect a great deal of internal response; such a short publication would usually lead to a lack of character development. Instead Godin masterfully weaves the short verses into a emotional rollercoaster.
Upon opening the file, I found myself enthralled. I would have expected to take 2-3 sittings to read this short work, instead I sat and read it cover to cover. The work, although having a generalised theme, speaks of monsters and men, witches and women. At one point she speaks of Cinderella, at another the words flow from the page discussing her being differently abled and her failing body.
Although it was short, this collection of poems made me run the gamut of emotions. Concise but powerful, I loved every page. 4.5/5 stars
Catacomb – Madeleine Roux
This novel was the conclusion of a series of found photography novels that I started in my younger years. Instead of finishing them all one after another, I got distracted at one stage and put the last one down.
The series follows a trilogy of friends as they get involved in paranormal type issues, the first of which occurs in an old asylum, the second takes place in a haunted carnival and the third and final novel follows the trio to New Orleans where recurring character, Dan, takes the final steps to discover his haunting past and the true reason why his parents disappeared at such a young age.
While I still really liked it, with its paranormal references, relatable characters and beautifully eerie photos, I feel like I left it too long before finishing. It was good, but not great. It’s worth a 3/5 stars.