*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I’m leaving a voluntary review*
So it finally happened. I couldn’t finish this one.
I don’t know what to say. It was just too much. Overwhelming and incomprehensible, layer and layer of text without much information – there was so much going on – and nothing gripping me to the story.
I read the first third, skimmed the second, and skipped the third. I tried, I just couldn’t grasp it.
The Plot: It all revolves around Byron, a man who a few decades into the future is a vampire. Of some sort. And the book starts with his annual feeding on a village or camp or something in the Middle East. I think. I’m not sure. Then he decides to tell us a story about, presumably, how he became a vampire. And that story starts with him in a cell. This part in the cell is clearly him looking back at his past. But at the same time, from the cell, he talks about his childhood and entire upbringing, so there’s like a double past-him reference thing going on. And this is basically everything that happens in the first third of a book. As far as I could understand. And mind you, this book is 457 pages. In the second third of the book, the most interesting part is that Byron meets someone named Trann, who’s a non-vampire vampire thing. Because he says he isn’t a vampire, but he has a vampiric form? I don’t know. Also, as he tells you this story, he keeps talking to someone named Zack and Amber? I never understood who they were. They might have been introduced but I never caught it in that case.
Anyhow. This book is written in English, but with parts of it written in French, Swedish, German, and probably other languages. Now most of these were often translated, but hardly ever the French, which I don’t speak, so I kept feeling left out constantly. Also, nearly everything in Byron’s childhood was about someone named Mamie. I never got who this person was either. Maybe a maid? But then again there was another maid.
The reason this book is so dense is that everything is heavily described, referenced and metaphored (not a word, I know). It felt like the book was trying to reference every historical period, place, person and event, and it just became a mishmash. Byron always has a thought or a comment about what he’s talking about, prolonging the constant monologue, and it’s endless. And whenever he has an epiphany about something, he’d end the sentence with Voila! And I just kept feeling like it never went anywhere, the plot never moved, we were always just constantly talking about his past and his thoughts about it. And that would probably have been a great story in and of itself, but there was no way to follow it. There was too much at the same time, all the time.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m not clever enough to follow this book, but for every time I turned a page, I’d forgotten what was going on, because there was some new metaphor or a new thought about a certain time or place. And it’s said, because I felt like Byron’s story might be a very good story, I just could never get to it.
I’m sure other people might like this book. If you’re looking for an absurd read, or just a challenge, or maybe just prove you’re better than me, or to prove me wrong. By all means, go for it.