Most helpful critical review
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An exhausting read !
on 12 May 2010
I consider myself a book lover, I devour books and enjoy getting lost in a wonderful story. I had just finished the magnificent Millenium Trilogy before embarking on The Eight, and was missing Lisbeth Salander immensely! Set in two eras... the 1790s and the 1970s, this tale revolves around the Montglane Service, an ancient chess set with incredible powers. I have to say, I far preferred the storyline from the 1700s and indeed Mirielle is by far the outstanding heroine of the book for me. In fact in my opinion a very credible book could have been produced by concentrating on the older story ALONE and forgetting about the 1970's half.
I was drained by the time I got to the end of this saga for many reasons which irritated me. The amount of characters for a start is enormous, the author could have done with culling half of them !! As soon as someone new is introduced to us, more often than not we have the inevitable sub-heading with THEIR STORY... so we have to plough through their entire background before we can proceed. I was on Panadol by the time this had occurred for the umpteenth time, and in so many of the cases, it didn't matter a fig if we knew all the bumph about them.. it had nothing to do with understanding the overall story.
The author's extremely irritating habit of repeatedly saying "if I had only known the consequences of doing so and so....." This habit grated on me before long.
In the wonderfully dramatic scene at the Montglane Abbey when the Abbess gathered the nuns together to explain the story of the Montglane Service and how it was now in peril from being stolen, she painted the Bishop of Autun as evil enemy number 1, the one person from whom the pieces had to be kept from. As it turned out this did not turn out to be the case at all !!!!! Quite the reverse in fact !.
The 1970's end of the tale revolves around Catherine Velis, a computer expert, Lily Rad, a chess fanatic and Solarin, a russian chess master. This end of the tale was so complex, so over the top, so utterly ridiculous that I found myself only sticking to the bitter end just to enjoy the older storyline which concentrated on the wonderful Mirielle.
I found myself mentally re-writing that scene in my head when the mother abbess gathers her flock together to tell them that they must scatter the Montglane pieces in case they fall into the wrong hands. In my version.......they dig up the pieces, the board and the cloth.....and take a quick trip to the sea... get in a boat... go out a few miles, just enough so its VERY deep........and drop the lot into the ocean... END OF !! It would have saved me about half a packet of Panadol. The tragic thing is... I bought the follow up THE FIRE at the same time !!! I don't know if I can mentally make myself start it.