Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After

I only somewhat liked Sorcery and Cecilia, and I did not like The Grand Tour. So why did I put myself through reading the third installment of Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevemer’s trilogy? Clearly, I am insane.

Like Sorcery, The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After is written in epistolary form. Cousins Cecilia and Kate correspond with each other (along with occasional, inane missives from their husbands).

I was initially intrigued by Wrede and Stevemer’s writing experiment. The authors exchange chapters without knowing what the other will write. However, in Mislaid, it is clear they have no idea where the plot is going or if they want to have a plot at all. Instead, the book absolutely plods and meanders.

This lack of purpose is obvious as the cousins write about their children. They mention what they ate. They include long descriptions of trains. Real life is boring. I read fiction to escape the inanities of life—not to suffer through them.

The book’s plot and pace doesn’t pick up until well past 200 pages. By this time, though, I had little interest in what would happen.

Unfortunately, the book—which could have been interesting (I mean, it has magic and Regency England for goodness sakes)—is tedious to the end.

The dénouement is actually the biggest offender of all. A few short pages explain away everything that happens in the 300 previous. It is like Hercule Poirot revealing the details of the crime—minus the charismatic Poirot and Agatha Christie’s writing ability.

The best I can say about this book is that it is over. And there isn’t a fourth in the series.

1 comment:

Wanna-Be Lit said...

Great, another book I don't have to add to my list.