16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A sad disappointment and lost opportunity. `Not what it says on the Tin'
, 26 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Boneland (Weirdstone Trilogy 3) (Hardcover)
I persevered with this book and gave it continual benefit of the doubt because it was by Alan Garner. I suspect that the publishers felt likewise. It is hard to conceive that it would have made it off the `slush pile' and seen publishing light of day were it by a first-time author. I finished `Boneland' only with effort (and relief) and the sense that my faith had been misplaced.
The continuity elements of this sequel volume could be summarised in half a page with room to spare (and have been in other reviews here). Otherwise it might as well have been a `stand-alone' story. The balance is self-indulgent to the point of incomprehensibility and, paradoxically enough, comes over as a lot less 'adult' than its supposedly intended-for-children predecessors. Those had the imagination-fuelling effect of revealing another just-as-real (and unsafe) reality beyond and below the mundane world. Whereas I felt that `Boneland' disrespects and subverts both `Brisingamen' and `Gomrath' in abandoning all that. The `deep England' and living, breathing, far-from-mythological, elements are gone. Are we meant to take it they were all just a dream? Certainly, the supporting cast in 'Boneland' give that impression (and are unconvincing and irritating to boot).
In short, this wasn't the conclusion to the series I and many others had yearned for over many years - not even remotely so. The earlier books are Mr Garner's invention and property and so he has the right to do with them as he wishes. I in turn wish he hadn't bothered. I realise it is unreasonable to ask or expect him to create as if it were still fifty years ago. However, in his evolution as a writer he seems to have painted himself into a very tight conceptual corner - a claustrophobic and intensely personal corner where I'd rather not join him or linger. For me, sad to say, 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' (1960) and 'The Moon of Gomrath' (1963) remain as they were before: tantalisingly incomplete and awaiting resolution.
One other thing: I see that a self-appointed 'guardian of the flame' has systematically gone through each unfavourable review on this site and placed a comment or comments implying that those who did not enjoy this book lacked the intelligence to do so. Anyone intending anything other than a five star rating be warned.
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