August 28, 2013

Early Review | Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Author: Diane Setterfield
Published: November 5, 2013
Publisher:Simon & Schuster/Atria
Pages: 336
Format: ARC/ebook
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆

[Show Synopsis]

I received this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.

After reading The Thirteenth Tale, I had high expectations for this book, but unlike Setterfield's other novel, this was a pretty straight forward story. It had no suspense. The best novels I've read had some level of suspense. Something held back to draw the reader in. The only thing I was curious about throughout the novel was the annoying, reappearing rook. What is the significance of the rook aside from a childhood story that apparently leads to a lifetime trauma? But really, I didn't care about the rook. His perpetual reappearance, as I said, was rather annoying.

The mystery of who Mr. Black was that intrigued the town's people was carried on with the idea of having some level of suspense, but it was rather obvious who Mr. Black was to the reader. The town's people's suspense didn't carry out of the pages into the reader. I was rather bored with Mr. Black.

The most interesting aspect of this novel was seeing the development of  William Bellman as he aged. This was a man of extreme emotions. The world around him affected him greatly. Events surrounding him could either give him the greatest joy in the world or plunge him into the greatest depths of despair.

Another interesting point about this novel was the time period in which it was placed. Or rather, the absence of specifying a time period. When I read The Thirteenth Tale, I hadn't noticed this oddity until it was mentioned in a book group discussion. Setterfield applied this quirk of hers to this novel as well. So as you read it, think. What time period do you think this novel takes place in? What hints does she give?

I usually don't do cover assessments of the novels I read, but I feel I have to mention that I absolutely love the cover of this book. I haven't looked into who designs Setterfield's covers, but whoever it is does an amazing job. Both of her novels have covers that are among my top favorites. The watch and the rook; time and mystery. It gives meaning as well as being very artistically done.

Check out my review of The Thirteenth Tale.

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