by Theo Clare
I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I thought the premise of this book was really intriguing, and it was pretty decent in the beginning. We follow two parallel stories here, one featuring Spider and his family group as they navigate a very strange desert landscape where dangerous djinni threatens to end them. Then we also follow McKenzie, who’s a teen in USA who apparently dreams of deserts, sees lizards that no one else can see and has a family that seems to be keeping some serious secrets from her.
I could never really get into Spider’s story. I found it repetitive and boring without any real progress. There was just too many words to tell the story, which made it hard to keep focus, and I kept wanting to skim through it all the time.
While Spider’s parts were just confusing and strange, McKenzie’s part, however, had more of a mystery element to it. Why did she have these visions, these dreams? Who is this person who claims to also see and feel the same things she does? This mystery was what kept me reading. I wanted the answers.
Even though McKenzie’s parts were also slow and too long and too riddled with unnecessary details and conversations etc, the mystery was still there and I found it interesting enough to keep going. But then, her parts sort of fizzled out, and Spider’s took over. And the answers to the mystery were sort of never given in a satisfying way. It was just confusing and spiritual and all over the place. A complete anticlimax after having endured what turns out to be like 600 pages or something.
And the ending? No. It was a complete disappointment and an investment I wish I had never done. This was definitely not for me, and I feel cheated. Why lure the reader in with a good mystery without explaining it properly? Without giving a satisfying answer?
There were interesting part of this, the spiritual side was also thoughtworthy, and the mystery at the beginning was good. But, in all honestly, the book didn’t have to be this long. It was so much that could and should have been cut.
So, this I two stars for me, perhaps even 2,5, but I’m not sure. It just wasn’t for me.