Top critical review
Very much like a cat, in good and bad ways
on 18 August 2009
I stumbled upon this book by sheer accident, and seeing as how I was very much into the subject of cats (especially in fiction) at the time, I snapped it up.
A warning: this is a strange book. Very strange. No doubt, the two authors who make up Gabriel King can write brilliantly, but sometimes too well: often the plot makes little sense, swimming in over-description and digressing monologue. Sometimes it sticks, and here and there the eccentric style of the book can get under your skin and really carry you away.
Unfortunately, as I said, the story makes little sense, and even after spending nearly 500 pages in Tag's world, I still couldn't tell you what a Wild Road really is, why Tag is so important to the quest, what on earth is going on with Cy, who the King and Queen really are and what the Alchemist hopes to achieve from all this. It's all very murky and confusing, much like the bizarre goings-on in Cy's head.
It's a shame because when you take the elements of the story that are clear, there is so much potential to be had, and now and them King hits that sweet spot and strikes home with a real powerful emotion, happy or sad. And all in all, because our heroes are cats and they're uncannily realistic in their behaviour, the book is rarely less than charming, even if you're not following what's going on.
So 'The Wild Road' is very much like a cat, then: Bewildering, powerful, charismatic, frustrating, intelligent, meandering, strange, magical, and with far more questions posed than answers. 'The Wild Road' is by no means one of my favourite reads of the year, but it's by no means a bad book, and it's certainly the most intruiging, and all in all, I enjoyed the quest and experience offered (what parts of it I understood, anyway), and felt compelled enough to order the sequel.
I find this hard to recommend and at the same time hard to NOT recommend: it's a book, I suppose, that needs to be read, as there's no telling if you will like it or not without fully experiencing it.