Friday, 4 October 2013

Rowling in general fiction and crime

When summer ended so did my marathon of Gaiman books. Instead I started out on J.K. Rowlings two latest books: The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling (the last one published under the pseudonyme of Robert Galbraith).

The Casual Vacancy is an adult novel in general fiction. I hardly ever read general fiction. General fiction usually fails to catch my attention. This was not true for The Casual Vacancy, however. Sure it was a bit tedious to really get into the story. And I don't think the book really took off until after Barry's funeral, which takes place around page 145. But despite the book not really taking off I found it hard to put down. It didn't catch my interest as much as it caught my curiousity. I found myself wanting to know more about the characters, wanting to know what they would do and how they would handle certain situations. I found myself relating to Sukhvinder, pitying Samantha, hating Fats and being compassionate towards Krystal. The characters drew me in, more so than the story itself. When I finished the book I found myself pleasantly surprised by it, and I figured that I actually liked it - much more than I thought I would. I also found myself thinking about the characters and contemplating their reactions for a long time after I put the book down. So it definitely matched the criteria of "book hangover", which means that I was unable to start reading a new book cause I was still caught in the last book.

The Cuckoo's Calling is a crime novel. I'm not a fan of crime, not one bit. I used to read crime a bit some years ago, but it seemed like they all worked the same way and it got tedious reading practically the same book over and over. I was not impressed by The Cuckoo's Calling for a really long while and I actually stopped reading it for a couple of weeks before picking it up again. There was something about Cormoran Strike that I liked, something about his character that made him feel real. However, I felt the exact opposite towards Robin. To me she seemed too unreal, her behaviour seemed to me like a character I would have created when I was a teenager. She pulled talent after talent from her sleeve and she could hardly do anything wrong. She seemed like this superwoman: unreal and a bit too perfect. The Cuckoo's Calling was only mildly entertaining until about 300 pages in, when Strike reveals to Robin that he knows who the murderer is and all he needs is evidence. That's when the story started to become a bit more fast paced. I started to go through all the previous investigations in my head and I couldn't figure it out. With most crime novels I usually have a hunch who the murderer is before it is revealed, in this book however I had no clue. I have to give Rowling that - being able to keep the suspense until the last minute. But when the murderer was revealed I felt a little stupid and everything suddenly seemed so blatantly obvious. So the revelation of the murderer was a bit of a slap in the face. In my opinion The Cuckoo's Calling was a somewhat mediocre book, with an ending like a facepunch. I found myself smiling when the book ended and I think I would consider reading another book about Cormoran and Robin.

Now I'm reading Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft. Autumn and winter is the season of horror, and there's a lot of horror in my bookcase waiting to be read.

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