Since it's tax time again, I wanted to read something that wouldn't require me to take any notes. Since I will be reading Neil Stephenson's Quicksilver next, I just wanted a stand-alone novel that would get me through the next couple of days.
When Penguin Books recognized me as an official reviewer, they sent me the Bakker books I asked for, but they also included Caitlin Sweet's The Silences of Home. The blurb states that the book explores the gulf between official and unwritten accounts of history, and the ways in which individuals, knowingly or not, shape the events of their time. It sounded somewhat interesting, so what the heck? I'm unfamiliar with Sweet's work, so I checked out amazon.ca to see what else she did. Her first novel, A Telling of Stars, appears to have been well-received, even though it's not popular. Which, in the end, persuaded me to give this book a chance.
Unfortunately, The Silences of Home doesn't deliver at all, basically on every level. So much so that I didn't even finish the novel. I went as far as page 318, and I was forced to abdicate. I can count on the fingers of my hands how many books I have not been able to go through in my life, so this is not something that occurs very often. Indeed, the last book I failed to finish was Weis and Hickman's Well of Darkness.
The first point that needs to be made is that this novel should be considered a "Young Adults" book. Something for people who are a bit unfamiliar with the fantasy genre, who have yet to read the "powerhouses" such as Jordan, Kay, Donaldson, Williams, etc. I don't believe that any well-read person could get into this one.
According to the blurb, Sweet's latest is «a saga of epic sweep.» Honestly, this novel has about as much depth as a Forgotten Realms book. The transitions are very awkward, and the entire tale doesn't flow quite right.
The Silences of Home is also a saga of «deeply realized characters.» Please, if there is one three-dimensional character in this book, someone point him out to me.
The novel is also, still according to the blurb, a saga of «page-turning suspense.» Unless that incredible suspense takes place in the last 150 pages or so, I cannot say that I encountered it.
This book is definitely for a younger, inexperienced crowd of fantasy readers. If I had read it when I was 14 or 15, maybe I would have enjoyed it. Now at 30 years of age, with nearly 1500 books read, there is no way I could ever be captivated by this one.
I will certainly donate it to a library. . .