Friday, February 8, 2013

On Bindings: A Review of The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

The Thorn and the BlossomI was, of course, attracted to this book by the unusual binding--the accordion style that allows you to read from either direction. I thought the idea of telling a love story twice--form both sides, as it does--was immensely clever and perhaps not too gimmicky.

It's the story of Brendon and Evelyn, who meet and fall in love unexpectedly, only to be separated by circumstance. I chose to read Brendon's side first. Initially intrigued by the starcrossed nature of the love story, I quickly became frustrated with the style of the writing. I noticed a decided lack of detail and tendency toward telling rather than showing. Brendon's father dies, he marries another woman, and she's in a crippling accident, all within a few paragraphs. No time to become invested in what's happening, no reason to care about the characters, just...nothing.

When I moved over to Evelyn's story, I did find it more favorable. She has a slightly more fanciful world view that made her side of the story more palatable, though no less rushed. By the end, though, I found myself no more engaged with the story than I was to begin with.

The book itself is a beautiful object that I'm happy to own, and I think the idea is brilliant, but it needs a better author to pull it off. So few pages does not, for me, a fulfilling story make, especially when so much of it is vaguely described. I would recommend this book as a collectable, perhaps, but not as entertainment. 2 stars.

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