Monday, May 24, 2010

Set-Aside Review - Monster: Oil on Canvas (2/5 stars)

I got a digital copy of this book through  It sounded like a very interesting premise and I admit I was drawn to the cover.  I am torn over whether this book is a masterpiece or a waste of time.  I can say with all suriety is that you have never read a book like this before.  The book started out okay, but the over-the-top writing style and the unrelatable characters really got to me.  I made it about half the way through the book before I gave up and just couldn't force myself to read anymore.

This is the story of conjoined twins Alex and Alex and tells about them growing up and about the girls they fall in love with.  Interwoven with their story is the story of a young couple who adopt a strange child named Fairy.

When I initially started this story I thought "Wow, this reads like a masterpiece!"  And it does.  The language is complex and at times cleverly twisted around.  At first this is clever, but as the book went on it got to be more and more of a burden to read.  It takes a bit to realize that the story is about conjoined twins.  Alex/Alex never say anything in a straight-forward way, so trying to figure out what is going on is a challenge.  I also had a hard time discerning what time period this story was taking place during and a hard time placing the characters and setting in general.

Alex/Alex are interesting characters that think quite a bit of themselves.   It is painful to watch the twins (who think they are God's gift to the world) get put in their place time after time.  It is also painful to watch them chase after girl after girl with the disillusion that they are wanted.  This may change in the second half of the book, but in general I found this to be a discouraging read.

More engaging was the story of the young couple who adopted a strange girl named Fairy.  These short sections of story were the only reason I kept reading the book for as long as I did.

Overall, I found the writing style of be pretentious.  I also thought that given the chosen writing style the author had a lot of trouble communicating the setting of the story and giving the characters engaging personalities.  Personally I found Alex/Alex to be irritating characters that were even more irritating to read about.  The cumbersome language wasn't worth wading through to get their story.  The side story of Fairy was much more well done, but it was not the main part of the least not in the first half of the book.

I don't put aside many books.  I really, really tried to finish this one.  I picked it up again many times but the characters and the writing just really disagreed with me.  I have to admit the idea of having a story told from the prespective of conjoined twins is intriguing...and maybe the second half of the book redeems the first half.

If you are into an artsy writing style, and like elaborate sentence structure and phrasing, then this may be the book for you.  If you like characters with obscure personalities that are unlikable, this may be the book for you.  If you like fairy tales with engaging characters, nice descriptive environments, and a tight plot that are easy to read...then look somewhere else.

 Monster: Oil on Canvas (LeapLit)

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