10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good - but tried a little too hard,
This review is from: The Gone-Away World (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Overall, I liked this novel and would recommend it.
Harkaway can't be faulted for creating a new world forged from disaster, I couldn't put the book down when this world was being explored. The story was both fascinating and horrifying, and also very funny - I was laughing out loud at times. This could so easily have been my favourite novel from the last few years, it just fell a bit short.
I think this can be put down to the fact that this is Harkaway's first novel. It seems like he picked up a set of instructions for writing a novel and followed them religiously, from the hook at the start to the twist and the conclusion. The problem is that some of this was a bit tedious and forced. Some of the other reviewers stopped reading during the chapters that set out the history of the characters and essentially brought the reader up to speed. I agree that this section was unnecessarily long and at times boring when compared to the first chapter, but I say keep reading because the second half of the novel is much more enjoyable and engaging, earning the book 4 stars from me.
My only other complaint is that Harkaway either wrote this with his head in a thesaurus, or was determined to use just about every word in his extensive vocabularly. Either way it was pretty grating at times.
To sum up, read this novel - try to forgive the drawn out history section and get stuck into the story as it builds from then on - and hope that Harkaway won't try so hard in future because he could be an excellent fiction writer.