Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Midweek blog (preceded by a brief midweek rant)

Is it just me, or have they been playing "Rock the Casbah" a lot lately? I'm kind of sick of it.

Not quite what I expected.

When Autumn Leaves by Amy Foster is a book that sets out to be just like any other book. The plot, though imbued with magical happenings, seems to start out like any other: Avening, a small town on the west coast, has its beloved town healer/witch, Autumn. Autumn has been with the town for many years, but has just learned she will be moving on, and has to find a replacement for when she leaves (thus the title, “When Autumn Leaves”—cute). She starts making up a list of who she thinks will be a good replacement, and the plot takes an unexpected turn. I assumed at this point the characters would weave their way through the story, maybe indicating to the reader who may just be the lucky candidate. Except it doesn’t. Instead, each chapter focuses on the magical happenings of a single candidate. When it ends, we barely hear or see them again. For example, the first character we meet, Ellie, is a shy reserved person when we first meet her. I assumed that throughout the novel we would see her character develop into a stronger person. Instead, in the next chapter we meet Stella who has problems of her own, and we don’t even hear about Ellie again. That was something to get used to. So instead of reading about developing characters, I had to switch my expectations of the book and just let each character paint part of the story. Once I realized this, the book was pretty fun, although riddled with inevitable loose ends. I found myself wondering what happened to several of the characters, only to be disappointed with no clear finality. The end tries to tie up the novel, and it wasn’t dissatisfying, it just wasn’t entirely enlightening. But despite my murky review, I would say this was a fun read. Just know what you’re getting yourself into before starting, and be prepared for some disappearing characters throughout (both literally disappearing—like going invisible, and disappearing within the story).

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