Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Heh? What just happened?

Title: The Fire
Author: Katherine Neville

This book got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and sounded interesting, so I thought I'd check it out. Little did I know I was in for a laborious undertaking that would leave me beyond confused. The Washington Post's review is far more accurate.

At first, I thought I was a bit of an idiot who just couldn't understand the complex plot(s) of the novel. However, I prefer to think that the Washington Post reviewer was right when he wrote: "But the clues and connections in The Fire offer more convolution than complexity." There is just something irritating about too much convolution, clues that I can't seem to draw any sense from, and the overuse of cliches with the pathetic excuse that the good friend of the main character has a penchant for cliches. If that's the case, only said friend should be allowed to use them, not the main character with the constantly repeated preface of "As Key would say...." Here's a thought, how about coming up with an original way of saying something?

Hmm, I suppose I should address the plot. Well, there are two of them. And just when I was getting hooked on one, and I thought I finally had some semblance of an idea as to what the heck was going on, we switched to the other plot. Insanely frustrating.

So, Xie, short for Alexandra, is the daughter of Alexander and Cat Solarin, two people previously involved in the Game (which apparently you can read about in Neville's book The Eight published in 1988. Perhaps I should have started there). The Game is some sort of complicated fight for all the pieces of a very old chess set said to have some sort of knowledge hidden within it. There's a lot of references to the number eight, which is the number of squares in a row on a chessboard. And lots of random numbers adding up to eight. And just lots of fantastical eightliness. But I digress.

The Game, thought to have stopped with the end of the previous book, has apparently started up again. Eight people are involved, and Xie is always switching back and forth about which side she thinks they are on.

You know what? I give up. I really cannot make sense of this thing in a short review. That's only the main plot one-eighth explained (if that). I haven't even gotten to the subplot!

Bottom Line: Don't read it unless you want a headache. I think I'm getting one just from trying to write the review.

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posted by Kate at 7:19 PM


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