Monday, February 9, 2009

Review: Drood, by Dan Simmons


At nearly 800 pages, Drood is literally a doorstopper of a book. Set in 1865 through 1870, the story centers around Charles Dickens, beginning with his train accident at Staplehurst on the ninth of June. On that very day, as Dickens rushes to assist the dead and dying, he meets a mysterious, and quite creepy, man named Drood. Dickens’s story is narrated by Wilkie Collins, both friend and competitor, as Drood plays a kind of cat-and-mouse game with the two authors, in the dangerous underbelly of London.

I had a really, really hard time putting this book down. It’s just my kind of novel: lots of adventure, lots of tension. The narrator has a tendency to wander a bit, going off on tangents when he should be following the story, but I didn’t see the extra information (and there’s a lot of it thrown in) as detracting from it. Rather, I liked all the biographical notes on both Dickens and Collins, and I liked the interactions they had with one another, and the creative give-and-take of information that lead to novels like The Moonstone and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Although Collins talks mostly about Dickens (sometimes with jealousy) and his demons, Collins finds that he has a few demons of his own to vanquish.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the ending. Honestly, I felt a bit cheated: the ending of the book was very anticlimactic, disappointing after all that wonderful buildup. And there are some parts of Chapter 25 that sound as though Simmons ripped them right from the movie The Mummy.

But for the most part, I enjoyed this novel. It contained great characters (though both Dickens and Collins could be infuriating at times), and great suspense.

Also reviewed by: Medieval Bookworm, Savvy Verse and Wit, The Tome Traveler's Weblog, Bermuda Onion's Weblog, A High and Hidden Place, Bookish Ruth, Reading With Monie, Books I Done Read, So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

9 comments:

S. Krishna said...

I've been hearing great things about this book. I definitely need to read it soon!

Shelley/Chain Reader said...

I must read this!!!

Alyce said...

This book sounds interesting although a little intimidating at 800 pages.

Kristen M. said...

I'm glad you liked this one ... I sure didn't! I felt like chucking it in the bin every half-hour or so. I thought the presentation of all the biographical info was dry and just dumped into the book instead of being integrated neatly. And the plot just got ridiculous at some points ... my husband started laughing at me while I was reading it with all of my sighing and "WTF!"s.

I did a so-so review but felt that I was being generous. I thought that the idea was good but that the writer's take on it wasn't.

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

Great review...this sounds really interesting, although the bad ending makes me cautious. I would hate to read 800 pages and then be let down, that really stinks!

Luanne said...

I'm about a third of the way in, so will be back to read your review once I'm finished!

Teddy Rose said...

Wonderful review! This book is on my TBR.

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