These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Review: Silwan

Silwan Silwan by Philip Graubart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Silwan is a difficult book for me to rate. I had a great deal of internal debate regarding whether this book was deserving of a three star rating or a four star rating. It is one of those books where I would give it a half star rating were such a thing possible, a solid three-point-five star read. Alas, such is not possible with most rating scales. In the end I had to settle for three stars. This is not because there is more bad than good, it is simply a reflection of my reading preferences at this moment in time.

Silwan was quite different to my usual reads in this genre. Whilst it had all you would expect from a mystery novel, it didn’t have the same feeling as you would expect. The story focuses more so on other aspects, such as clashing views and the mistakes of the past. All the elements come together really well, yet my reason for rounding down is that I feel as though the mystery aspect took a backseat at times. I really enjoyed all the different elements of the story, but as I was feeling in the mood for a heavy mystery I didn’t quite receive what I had expected. Those who go in with such a warning will not experience the same surprise as I did, hence my need to point out the fact.

A lot of the story focuses upon the clashing narratives of Jerusalem’s Jews and Muslims, allowing for an in-depth look at what is happening in the world through a fictional tale. It’s always wonderful when real world elements are brought into the story, giving it the extra power to make you stop and think about the world. Depending upon your knowledge of the situation, certain elements of the story may be a bit confusing, but the story is told in such a way that you do not need an extensive knowledge of the situation to understand what is happening. As the story progresses, you come to understand more and more about the situation. It may be a fictional tale, but it does open your eyes to the world.

Another large element of the story is the details of our main character’s past. The details of the past are intertwined with the situation of the moment, meaning a lot of time is spent focusing upon days gone by. As much as I enjoyed these elements of the story, as much as it added to our characters and made them more real, at times I did feel as though they distracted somewhat from the mystery of the present. There were moments when I was thinking ‘those days are over, move on’, yet for those who enjoy such details it is a lot of fun. For me, I simply would have liked for the details to have been lessened somewhat. I wanted more of the present and less of the past at certain points in the story.

The present day mystery is a lot of fun, though. It keeps you guessing throughout; throwing in many twists and turns. This is not the kind of story where you’re facing action on every page. The unravelling of the mystery happens in a much calmer matter. We get some action filled moments, but it’s a lot more realistic in that a great deal of time is spent going back and forth listening to stories. It was extremely refreshing, providing a mystery that keeps you entertained until the final red herring has been pushed aside and the truth is set free.

Honestly, this book was so well written. Although it took me a while to get into the actual story, the writing had me from the very start. The writing style grips you, pulling you deep into the story, making the world come to life.

As I said, the rounding down is more so a reflection of my current reading preferences rather than a reflection of this book. Plus, three stars is a good rating despite what a lot of people seem to think. Knowing what I now know of the author’s storytelling, I’m certainly interested in reading more of the author’s work.

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