Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd

Title: A Fatal Likeness
Author: Lynn Shepherd
Published by: Delacorte Press
Released: 2013
Summary: Detective Charles Maddox is hired to investigate aspects of Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley's life and finds more than he bargains for.
My Thoughts: So the way I came to this book was a little different. I found it at my library and decided to pick it up because it looked interesting. I enjoy mysteries and historical fiction and this one seemed to fit the bill. Then I came across an article Lynn Shepherd had written. An article that very much rubbed me the wrong way. (article here ). Shepherd pretty much told J.K. Rowling to stop writing adult books because every book she writes sells like hotcakes and pushes other lowly writers works into obscurity. Shepherd then went on to admit that she'd never read anything Rowling had wrote, including Harry Potter, and then went on to put adults reading YA down. It was mainly a sour grapes article that was very irritating to read. So, I was nervous going into this book. I wanted to judge the book by what was inside the pages and not based on the stupid article Shepherd wrote.
In the end, I just thought this book was okay. It was interesting in places, but it wasn't the most amazing, unputdownable book I've ever read and there were definitely things that irritated me.
Irritation #1: The way that the narrator talks directly to the reader in little asides, forays into modern times, and the use of terms and facts that the character's had no way of knowing at the time. It was just a little weird and kind of pulled me out of the flow of the story.
Irritation #2: The way the story dragged at various points. The "mystery" we unravel doesn't really contain all that much excitement or resolution and does cause the story to drag and sort of prolong itself. Also, I don't really think this is a mystery.
Irritation #3: I didn't really like any of the characters. Some were just despicable people and others just thought too much of themselves in their talent and intellect department. Some characters were obnoxiously full of themselves.
Irritation #4: The way the author fictionalized the life of the Shelley's as villains and despicable people. Shepherd took known facts and then wildly invented things about the Shelley's and their life. I don't claim to know anything about the Shelley's, except that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, or this group of "Romantics" the Shelley's belonged too. This book just kind of messed with my mind and insinuated and accused things of the Shelley's that might not be true. If you're interested in knowing about the Shelley's, then don't start with this book, because Shepherd makes up a majority of things about them that might hamper your views on them. Is Shepherd right in her assumptions? Who knows! Even she really doesn't. It's a dark, make-believe of the Shelley's lives that tries to confuse fact with fiction. It felt like a reporter who writes libel on persons with no ability to defend themselves.
So yeah, this wasn't my favorite book ever. I found parts of it interesting. I would suggest that Shepherd really think things through before writing articles about other authors. And if she's gonna make stuff up, make the whole thing up so people don't have a confused view of historical figures. But what do I know, I'm just a lowly reader.
Not Blown Away.

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