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Posted June 3, 2012
I feel that it is very important to point out that this novel is
I feel that it is very important to point out that this novel is a true work of art. Of course, as with all works of art there will be those who are fascinated by it and others who are dissatisfied with what they find before them. As for me, I’m caught up somewhere in the middle.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I could appreciate the novel for the craftsmanship that went into it but at the same time the very original construction didn’t really appeal to me. The narrative jumps around both in point of view and chronologically. I assume that these jumps are marked by chapter breaks in the physical copy of the book but in my PDF-to-mobi copy only a handful of these breaks were marked. Sometimes a paragraph would start in the third person, present tense and suddenly switch to first person, past tense and be following a different plot point. This got to be very confusing at times; I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it affected my enjoyment of the story.
The opening scene is about “you” visiting the circus and admiring the marvels that are to be found there. It was so uncannily similar to the opening of The Night Circus that I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. It turns out that both books are copyrighted to 2011 – in fact, Mechanique was published some 6 months before The Night Circus – so it’s just two different authors who came up with very similar ideas (albeit following completely different plot veins) at around the same time.
It took me a while to really get used to the narrator jumps. Sometimes it would be in the second person, sometimes third person omniscient and others in the first person. It took me a fair while to get used to the flow of this. It didn’t help that the plot took a long time in getting anywhere at all: it wasn’t until the 10-15% mark that the threads of a plot started to weave together beyond the confusion of seemingly random, unconnected scenes that had come before then, and it wasn’t until the 50% mark that the plot itself took precedence over anecdotes from various characters’ pasts.
That was what I didn’t really like about the book – how things seemed to yo-yo a lot between relevant scenes and what were really just scenes to flesh out the history behind the story. When things focused on the plot, though, I found it to be 100% original and absorbing. I loved the steampunk idea it all of a woman somehow endowed with the ability to sustain a person’s life indefinitely through metal contraptions. I liked the idea of a travelling circus moving through the wasteland of a country brought to its knees by constant wars, unable to pull itself back together. This was a fascinating setting, especially as we have no real idea of when it could possibly be as the chronology even within the story is very vague, or even where, though I pictured it being in North America.
I didn’t really buy the hatred behind Stenos and Bird, which was the main motivation for tension within the circus itself. I enjoyed the descriptions of their encounters but to me it always seemed that they were balanced very precariously on that fine line between love and hate, especially Stenos. They were certainly obsessed with each other either way.
All in all, I can appreciate that this author is a master weaver of the craft who has great vision but this particular structure didn’t work very well for me personally, which detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
Posted September 7, 2011
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Posted December 12, 2012
No text was provided for this review.