Simply put, Daniel I Russell has done it again.
I won't lie, before i read this i said to myself, if this is as good as Samhane, than 4 stars it'll get. Samhane was brilliant, but it was my first encounter with DIR and for my second dish, i needed to see if he could raise the bar. And guess what...he did.
When i first bought this i thought i was getting something more novel like, such as Samhane, and was a little disappointed it was only a novella, but that pain only lasted for a few pages.
By the time you finish this read you'll realise that Daniel stands out as a writer. For amateur authors (those who have not got their face known by the larger population) you have two groups in my opinion. There are those that want to write and fall flat or those who show immense potential.
Now, after reading two stories from Daniel I can tell you he is in the later. On one hand he has some wonderful stories, but on the other, and more importantly he has (and for some this takes quite some time) his very own style, which you can tell he gets and uses very well.
The story starts off at a slow but, but his style and way with atmosphere will suck you in and keep you wondering where this is going. It's not until the mid-point mark that you really understand the larger picture and the genius of what Daniel has created. The second half of this novella you will swallow down like a fine dessert.
There is really only two main characters in this story. Sandy Devanche, and Jacob Enfer. The former is a food critique, and much more. Sandy is man of who you will see as self-obsessed and somewhat delusion, alienating himself from reality. His a man who cares little for anything but himself and the food that often, if always, never lives up to his high standard of worth. It's not until later, that you discover who he was, and what really created such a shell of a Individual.
Jacob Enfer is a chef who works at The House of Jacob. Jacob is the first individual to open Sandy's eyes for a very long time, and thus creating a man of recent solitude to become somewhat obsessed with the genius of cuisine.
Daniel deserves major credit for his detail to food in this. Not sure if the man LOVES food, or if he did some research, but he made he quite hungry during the day I spent reading this. And how that was possible with some certain scenes, I have no idea how, but Kudos!
There are plenty of scenes within that will shock people, but nonetheless suck people right into the world Sandy Devanc i is living.
The only thing that was bothering me was a few scenes with Jacob. I thought some of his emotions were a little easy forthcoming, but this is completely taken back over the last few chapters where he shines as well as Sandy.
I struggled to find any real flaws. When I did put the book down the few times, I immediately wanted to pick it back up and continue on.
The novella reads really tight with hardly ever a time you wish it would just say with it wants to say and move forward. At the beginning it shows you what you need to see and later it tells you what you need to know.