Thursday, October 14, 2010
WARNING: Some spoilers, merely because to illustrate why I didn't like this book, I have to spoil some plot points. Nothing that will ruin the book for a potential reader, though.
Had a hard time getting into this book. Was about to give up several times...
Elfland is an intimate, sensual novel of people—both human and Aetherial—caught between duty and desire. It’s a story of families, and of Rose Fox, a woman born to magic but tormented by her place in her adopted world.
Led by Auberon Fox, a group of Aetherials—call them the Fair Folk, if you will—live among us, indistinguishable from humans. Every seven years, on the Night of the Summer Stars, Lawrence Wilder, the Gatekeeper, throws open all gates to the Other World. But this time, something has gone wrong. Wilder has sealed the gates, warning of a great danger lurking in the realm beyond them. The Aetherial community is outraged. What will become of them, deprived of the home realm from which their essential life force flows?
Rose Fox and Sam Wilder are drawn to the lands beyond the gates, even as their families feud over Lawrence’s refusal to do his duty. Struggling with their own too-human urges, they discover hidden truths that draw them together in a forbidden alliance. Only by breaching the dreaded gates and daring the danger beyond can they confront that which they fear most— their otherness—and claim their birthright.
...and then I finally did. The writing in Elfland is sound, though I admit I picked this up mostly for the cover. I love Kinuko Craft. This book was not what I was expecting to be at all.
If anything it was a soap opera, with vaguely magical beings. But the 12 chapters I read had very little magic. It was mostly about flat, ridiculous, trashy characters that I worked very hard to try and like and failed miserably.
Rosie, who is the main narrator, is stupid. Just plain stupid. Naive to a level not attributable to her age. When she decides to have sex with another character (not her husband) in her wedding dress, I was done. Compound this with the fact that she's obsessed with Jon, who is quite self absorbed, a druggie, and has no idea she (or anyone else really) exists. And she whines a lot...like...man.
Matthew, Rosie's brother, seems nice in the beginning. Turns out he wants to be "normal" so badly, he doesn't care who he hurts to get there. So he knocks up one of Rosie's friends and marries her, even though he doesn't love her. The reader gets the impression he is a very controlling person, and his wife is doltish and is happy just to be with him. Honestly, for her part, I sort of understand, because she came from a pretty terrible background herself.
The only semi-likable main character is Sam. He's a bad boy, but underneath he seems like a decent guy. However, the only reason he's a decent guy is because he's obsessed with Rosie, for no reason I could discern other than she has a nice rack and pretty hair.
Lawrence is another character that has potential. He seems like a jerk in the beginning but you find out (spoiler) that his life force, his soul essentially, was stolen by his father for disobedience. That explains the statue demeanor I suppose. (end spoiler)
Either way, call me shallow, but I have a hard time spending hours on a book where I just can't stand the characters. I found I really couldn't care less what happened to any of them. The world and Aetherials were intriguing, but definitely not intriguing enough to wade through the muck of the Wilders' and Foxes' lives.
Overall, I'll give this at least a 2 / 5. I may give this one another try. It wasn't totally irredeemable. The story was slow but I did want to know more, and the writing was very good. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for unlikeable, ridiculous, pretentious characters.