Top critical review
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So brilliant, yet so ultimately unfullfilling
on 3 January 2014
I want to love this book. I want to rave. Indeed I was sending my friend messages initially quoting bits and saying how awesome it was. Yet ultimately, I've come away from a book that is kind of forgettable.
I love so many things: the concept of London changing and shifting. The description of things moving around. The 'Dark City' moments of the environment changing around them. Honey Peppers a foul mouthed 6 year old girl is awesome beyond words. The humour is at times laugh out loud. The manatees say no more.
But then it ultimately is bogged down by the 'story', believe it or not. Trying to create some narrative, but not sure what. Clearly at times it felt like some thinly veiled 'message' story about the evils of the City of London. But even then, not sure what the message is. The story dies out. There's no conclusion.
The characters are never the strong point. They are merely props in what is an interesting concept. I'd be fine with that. but then to rely on them at the end doesn't work. I don't care for a 'victory' or sudden 'romance'. There's just not enough basis for us to care. You've taken us on a fantasy story, you can't end with just "and everyone lived happily ever after". Characters just disappear with no resolution whatsoever.
It's neither this nor that. Are you an insane funny jolly, or a serious Orwellian nightmare? It grasps at both, and achieves neither.
I feel ultimately it's a wasted opportunity. So many great fragments in there, but nothing came to any satisfying end. I just want to keep saying: what about him, what about her, what about that travelling on trains stuff, what happened to the frog?
I would love to see this as a movie... if someone could clean it up, it could be an awesome tale.