Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Review: Age of Anansi

Age of Anansi
Age of Anansi by James Lovegrove

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three and a half stars, rounded to four. Not because it wasn't well done - it was - but because it wasn't entirely to my taste.

I love a trickster tale, a heist, or a rogue. A fictional one, that is. I've known a couple of rogues in real life, and they were annoying and ultimately tragic people. Perhaps that was where this book fell down for me: it was too real.

I like a charming, loveable rogue, someone I can root for even while watching them be the architect of their own demise, someone who's fundamentally good-hearted. With this protagonist, I was more and more eager to see him get his comeuppance. Arrogant, prejudiced, capable of going against his own morality if it served his interests, he was thoroughly unlikeable, without any redeeming qualities apart from being hard-working, intelligent, and feeling guilty when he deliberately did something he knew he shouldn't do. He wasn't even amoral; he had a morality and he transgressed against it.

I also like clever tricks, cunning heists, overcomplicated plans that are bound to fail. What I got here was cruel practical jokes that by and large succeeded, in a way that made people miserable to no good end.

The book is written with a level of competence I don't often see, with just a couple of minor typos and no misused vocabulary words that I spotted. It just wasn't the story I was hoping for.

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