This Week, I Read… (2018 #32)

111 - News of a Kidnapping

#111 – News of a Kidnapping, by Gabriel García Márquez

DNF @ page 117, and for the first time, I’m not going to rate it. Usually there’s a serious flaw when I don’t finish a book, and I feel justified using that flaw to give a rating, but this time, that doesn’t apply.

The worst thing I can say about this is that I’m not politically saavy enough to understand it. Half the text was detailing the actual kidnapping of the various hostages and the conditions they were held under, and I found those passages interesting and usually horrifying. But the rest was a condensed explanation of the complicated political maneuvering that went into attempting to get them freed. Márquez, a native of Colombia, writes clearly and concisely about it, but with the assumption of familiarity that I, as an American who was ten years old when this was happening and never once heard about it on the news, simply can’t match. I couldn’t follow the leaps of logic behind the letters, meetings, and policy decisions, and without that understanding, the book was a trial to read.

That, and politics usually confuses the hell out of me, anyway, even in current times in my own damn country.

I tried, but this is a case of a book that is probably pretty great for its intended audience, and I am definitely not one of them.

112 - Our Bloody Pearl

#112 – Our Bloody Pearl, by D.N. Bryn

I was provided a free copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.

A queer pirate + siren love story that manages to cover a lot of ground for disabled representation, too. I loved the steampunk vibe, the determined iteration of Murielle in making aids for Perle, Perle’s own struggles to adapt to their new situation, and Dejean’s quiet affection and understanding. Hell, I’m a little in love with Dejean myself at this point, which is one mark of a good romance.

What I’m not as in love with is the pace. In terms of speed, this has clearly been ruthlessly edited, right down to the bone, to ensure the story never stalls; but writing even the quiet moments with the same style, one of high intensity focused on and around Perle as the narrator, means I felt like I never got to take a moment to breathe, to rest.

At times, I also found the action sequences choppy and hard to follow.

My last (minor) complaint is that Kian didn’t mean much as a villain to me, because we start the story with Perle’s rescue and only hear about her cruelty secondhand. I think the pace of the story might be to blame here too, because Perle seems to feel overwhelming dread at every thought of her, yet there’s never any time to explore that before another action sequence steals the focus away.

Still, it’s an impressive debut novel with a lot of great things going for it.

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