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