I want you guys to know that I really tried to like this book. And I mean, I reached a point where I was so desperate to get into it that I backed up and reread parts a second time. And at the end of the day I came to the conclusion that it isn't a bad book...it just isn't for me.
Our characters are Charlie, a teenage orphan with a kind heart, and Bartholomew "Buck", a being of the supernatural world. Together the two navigate the seedy neighborhoods of depression era Chicago while a mysterious otherworldly threat looms over them.
Positive Comments (aka Why I Wanted to Like This Book)
The setting. I wanted to immerse myself in a time period that I don't normally see in books, because unless you read serious literature, the 1930s are not among the more popular eras. The author does a great job of capturing the grittiness of gangs and poverty and violence.
Charlie is so likeable. He's had a rough life, and despite everything he still genuinely cares for people. He's smart, but he doesn't show it off. And Buck is equally likeable, with an even more interesting back story and character development. Even their dynamic together is great, with Buck trying to suppress his overly proper nature, and Charlie trying to protect Buck from everything.
The plot and the world building just did not come together the way I wanted them to. The world building is very vague, and there's a great deal of withholding that caused me to feel lost. Again, I found it necessary to reread to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but it wasn't my fault. The world building is just genuinely sloppy. The plot moves forward quickly, but manages to ramble at the same time. I got impatient waiting to find out what everything was leading up to. And by the time the climax came around I had stopped caring.
So really, much of my objection to this book is related to personal taste. I have no patience for mystery. I like my world building to be a lot clearer. I prefer less subtle supernatural elements. I feel like this was a book with good features that didn't work together--like wearing pinstripes with polka dots. I liked the characters, but they weren't enough to bring me into the story.
I'm not going to recommend this one. Overall, I just found it boring, and while I do suspect that the problem is more with me than the book, I don't want anyone to have the same experience I did. It isn't poorly written, but I just didn't find it interesting. 2 stars.
Find your copy here: The Orphan, the Soulcatcher, and the Black Blizzard