Monday, July 9, 2012

Long Lankin (review)

3.5/5 stars
I have somewhat mixed feelings about Long Lankin.  The mystery was good and the characters were complex.  But somehow I didn't really connect with the book.  Partially because I was in a hurry (I hate myself for that but I feel in the name of honesty I need to admit it) but also because the pace of the book.  For me it just moved too slow.  I wanted action! Fear! Monsters!  Instead, it's a slow building story about a monster that has hunted generations of the Guerdon family.  It preys on the youngest--not because they are the weakest, but because they have the most life to steal.

Cora is very much the older sister--annoyed by little 4-year-old Mimi, but very protective when she feels that her sister is in danger.  She's the perfect mix of love, protection and revulsion that makes up being a big sister. Mimi, for her part, is not developed.  But she's 4-years-old so that's expected.  For me Auntie Ida is where things get complicated.  In some ways I feel sorry for Ida.  Her whole life is one great big tragedy.  On the other hand, she's overly harsh with Cora (i.e. abusively harsh) and way too secretive.  I get frustrated when stories are prolonged by characters keeping secrets.  Ida didn't tell Cora or anyone else about the monster until it's pretty much too late.

Unravelling the mystery of the Long Lankin involves delving into the history of the Guerdon family, the town and the creepy little church down the lane.  It's the story of a crime, tragedy and witchcraft.  It's a well developed myth, taking into account the region and religion.

After a slow-moving, gradually building story at about 88% everything starts moving at hyper speed.  The action is tense, terrifying and suddenly I couldn't put the book down.  The story flew towards an ending, which I found almost satisfying.  For me the last line kind of fizzled, cutting into the improvement somewhat.    I didn't understand the last line enough to check with other bloggers. (After consulting some wonderful bloggers I found out the last line was from the Song of Solomon.)

Overall the book was interesting and atmospheric but too slow for the reading mood I was in.  In a different mindset I think I would have enjoyed it more.

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