Thursday, January 8, 2009

Castle by J. Robert Lennon (2/5 stars)

I got this book through Amazon Vine as an uncorrected proof; it actually isn't released until April '09

This book was not what I expected it to be. It starts as a chilling mystery. Eric moves to a secluded town and purchases 600+ acres of land there. He works to renovate the house and eventually learns that there is a small portion of land in the middle of his property that he doesn't own. Here starts the mystery on his journey to find out exactly what is out there on that land and who owns it. As the book continues it, in my opinion, degrades into a commentary on current society and military institutions. If you are shaking your head wondering how we got from point A to point B here...well I am kind of still trying to figure that out too.

This writing style of this book is difficult to explain. Personally I found it very hard to start reading the book but once I had started reading the book grabbed me and pulled me onto the next chapter. I found this happened every time I would start reading the next part of the book. I think maybe there was just too much description; Eric describes every little action he takes. Sometimes this description adds to the story but most of the time it seemed a bit over the top. I also thought that the dialogue between characters in the book was poorly done. I know Eric is supposed to lack social skills; but even the people he talked too had very unnatural and stilted sounding dialogue. I also agree with other reviewers that have said the last 1/3 of the book was strange and kind of ruined the book for me.

It is somewhat difficult to fully review this book without some spoilers so in the section below I will discuss a couple things that bothered me that are SPOILERS; so skip it if you don't want to know.

****************SPOILER START****************
I found it very odd that Eric had no idea who Dr. Avery was initially but then all of the sudden he starts having all these childhood memories about Dr. Avery. I guess we were supposed to see that Eric suppressed these childhood memories? I am not sure and this could have been better conveyed.

The details of what happened to Eric in the military really didn't need to be laid out like they were. It would have kept the mysterious tone of the novel if the readers were allowed to use there own imagination. I thought throwing this part in at the end forced this novel into being a social commentary, it took a good suspenseful novel and tried to force it to be something more. It seemed silly.
***************SPOILER END******************

Overall this book was a difficult and, in the end, disturbing and uncomfortable read. It didn't entertain me as much as it irritated me; I was grateful that it is a relatively short book. Still the book did pull me through once I got into it; at least in the beginning. I just think people should know that this book is a commentary on society and government rather than an entertaining read. I don't see myself reading any of this author's past or future work; this type of book just isn't my thing.

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