The sequel to Black Out, which I contend should have been trimmed by 40% of each book and turned into a single volume. Was works for different reasons in Firewatch feels bloated here, and what worked well in Doomsday Book and was boring in To Say Nothing of the Dog, fails here too.
I kept waiting for this book to end, and my god the book seemed like it was dying to end. But it didn’t end. Until it finally did. The issue with this book, maybe compared to the previous book, or because this is one very long book is that the beginning is good, the ending is good and some of the middle is good too. The stuff that’s not good is not so much that it’s bad, but I kid you not, there’s barely a point, an idea, a metaphor, and in some cases exact dialog exchanges that aren’t repeated over and over multiple times in the book. Sometimes, it’s a hammer really really hitting you over the head with something in case you missed it like a painting of Christ with a lantern. Or having a pair of character or characters perform their functions repeatedly. And if only we could have had nine more scenes where a character tries out multiple possible names for the train station they can’t seem to figure out where the audience has worked it out well earlier so there’s no actual suspense.
Probably the worst part is the weird obsession that Connie Willis has with Great Britain/UK. That’s fine, but I sweat there’s barely a writer who’s ever lived who can write about the UK while not being British and get it remotely right (except for the Irish, who usually nail it). And so the grossness of that is on display here.