Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review In Progress: The Witching Hour

This is the first time I've ever been compelled to write a review before I've even finished the book.

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice is the longest book I've tackled this year. It's taken me several weeks to get halfway through it. And I've decided to come clean about why.

This book is rubbish.

The reviews on the back state that it is: "[A] huge and sprawling tale of horror" courtesy the NY Times Book Review; "Vintage Rice.. lush prose, dense atmosphere, steamy sex, gothic tension" from the San Francisco Chronicle; and the only review that comes close to capturing this monstrosity in a few words is via The Washington Post Book World "Extraordinary... Marvelous... Anne Rice offers more than just a story; she creates a myth."

These reviews are slightly misleading. There is no steamy sex. There are incestuous relationships. There is no horror; there is a story about a family with psychic abilities and a tall, dark man that happens to follow their heir apparent around, even in childhood.

Rice is not SHOWING us a story at all. (From a phrase that many writers will recognize: Don't TELL, SHOW.) She is telling us the very long, very convoluted history of the Mayfair family.

I was interested in the story at the beginning of the novel, but once we ventured back to New Orleans to read the Chronicles of the Mayfair family as collected through several centuries, I was done.

I am tired of skipping characters, I am tired of the phrases: "history from this point forward", "from this point in the story", and "we will deal with... at the proper time."

I am just tired of this book.

EDIT: UPDATE: I finished this god-awful book. A fucking month later. If you're not a fan of cursing, then I suggest you not read the rest of this review. Or any review of Anne Rice I ever write. Because Holy FuckBalls. That was the longest, most drawn out, convoluted book I've managed to read this year.

I honestly skimmed over the last 400 pages or so today at work. I couldn't tell you what the entire point of that book was and I'm not quite sure that Anne Rice could either.

Jesus. I'm glad it's over though. I won't read it again. And honestly, I cannot tell you why I keep reading Anne Rice's books at all. They are never as good as I want them to be. I think I keep reading them because they are there. And that's just generally how I work.

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