3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not Carried Away,
This review is from: Veniss Underground (Paperback)
Low marks from me for this debut effort from Mr Vandermeer, but it might be your thing. I'll try to be as objective as possible...
The narrative has a distinctive style, which is a pleasant departure from much popular low-grade "and then and then and suddenly and then..." dreck but for me it wasn't carried off with sufficient brio. Examples of lucidity and eloquence occur here and there, but only aside more populous moments of awkwardness. Interesting - and possibly contrived - bits of vocabulary pop up twice within a few pages, never to be used again. All together, I found myself regarding the artifice, rather than being absorbed by the tale.
And what of the tale? Certainly, there is originality and some new spins on familiar ideas, but there's a lot of well-trodden ground here, too, which failed to provoke my interest. The author is capable of painting the occasional individual scene well enough to deliver some gut-punches, but a lack of logical cohesion means that these fail to hang together as a convincing whole.
I'm not a sci-fi or a fantasy fan: I like to read across many genres, normally finding something of value in any work. I have only abandoned 3 titles in my entire life. I AM a grumpy guy and notoriously difficult to please in my choice of entertainments, but I am not a snob. What I mean by this is that I gave "Veniss Underground" a sporting chance and stuck with it to the end but consider it a weak novel, more for reasons of technical demerit than of personal taste.
But some people'll eat anything.