Thursday 28 July 2016

Book Review - To The Bright Edge of the World

Now, I'm not sure how to review this. This is going to be a toughie.

Ok backpedal a little. Back in April, I got a proof of To The Bright Edge of the World after begging/annoying the heck out of the people at Headline/Tinder Press on Twitter. You see, I loved Eowyn Ivey's debut, The Snow Child, and I have been eagerly anticipated her next novel ever since. So, when Bright Edge came through my letterbox in April, I tweeted very excitedly for about half an hour, then cursed my planning as I had Murder May so I couldn't start till June. And for nearly two months, I have been reading this VERY SLOWLY (will explain further down).

Told in a series of diary entries, letters and reports, To The Bright Edge of the World primarily follows  Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester and his young wife, Sophie in 1885. Allen Forrester has been given the commission to follow the impassable Wolverine River of Alaska, where previous missions have failed in tragedy.

But in do this, Allen Forrester has to leave Sophie behind. Newly discovered that she is pregnant, Sophie doesn't relish the idea of behind left behind and having to stay on a military barracks. But little do either realise that each of them need every fibre of courage throughout the upcoming year.

As you guys are aware, I was a HUGE fan of the Snow Child and I flew through that. So, reading this was a mix of excitement and terror.

So, reactions. Reactions are mixed and muddled and varied. But I have reasons.

Let's start with the writing and the story. Both are these are the strongest part of the story. The two stories of Sophie and Allen were interesting and strong. If Eowyn decided to split them up into two separate novels/novellas, they worked really well separately but, together, they blend and help stand the other up. Plus, we have letters and notes from other times - one of my fave was from modern day between Walt and Josh (Walt Forrester has Sophie and Allen's diaries due to be related and letters and he has sent them to Josh Sloan who is a curator of a museum in Alaska). I found their letters a joy to read and I love their interaction and their relationship.

Sophie and Allen I really enjoyed. I found that, out of the two, I enjoyed reading Sophie's story a little more than Allen's but I found both of them enjoyable to read.

Because this is written in a style am not use to reading (diary entries and letters) and the story is a little slower pace than what I am use to, this book took its time to be read. I believe this book has to be read slowly and it has be enjoyed this way. You can't rush this book. You have to slip into it like a hot bath.

But, because of this slower style, some readers might not the speed this book takes. For the first 3 quarters of the book, the story is much slower but the last quarter picks up the pace. But the pacing is slower than The Snow Child. You have to invest time into this book. And I say this as, while I did enjoy reading this, there were times I wished the book would pick up the pace a little.

This is an very interesting second book from Eowyn Ivey and it shows her as a storyteller to watch. This book might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am intrigued over what Eowyn writes next...

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