Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Elfland

Elfland by Freda Warrington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ultimately, I enjoyed reading Elfland enough that I want to pick up follow-up books. But the book was not without its flaws.

The main romance tale, of Sam and Rosie, was told well. I believed that they were attracted to one another, I felt the tension between them, and I rooted for them to the end.

Other aspects of the story, though, were not told as well. A lot of the bizarre and unfamiliar names for otherworldly things sounded similar, so I often had to stop to figure out which one the author was talking about. I had a hard time believing that the faerie element is such a mystery, because it seemed like they'd spout off about it every time they'd had a few drinks.

Some of the characters were developed better than others, and I'm sure it's a limitation of perspective. We're given primarily Sam and Rosie's perspectives, though an awful lot of the supporting cast gets its say. The glaring omission, then, of perspectives that would've made the central tragedy make sense rather than seeming tracked on after the fact struck me as a weakness in editing. I realize some things had to be kept in reserve for something of a twist at the end, but it made other elements seem watered-down.

The biggest weakness of the book, in my estimation, was that it spans over 20 years, and is told chronologically. A lot of the tension trickled out of the narrative in the day-to-day happenings related within the text. Rather than building a mystery of what Lawrence Wilder feared, reminders about the Gates being locked seemed like a tacked-on reminder of the plot we were supposed to care about, but which actually detracted from the story I was invested in.

I did enjoy this book, ultimately, but there was a reason I had to renew it from the library. The narrative just didn't hold me as well as it could've.

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