This book has one of the lowest average ratings on Goodreads I’ve ever seen*; it’s currently sitting at a 3.01, where anything under 3.5 is considered low, and anything under 3.25 is pretty dire. You see a rating like that and your first instinct is, “Whoa, what’s going on here??” And honestly, I understand it. I read this book back in March (it is now late June) and I’m still not sure if I even liked it. It is an extremely weird reading experience with a lot of moving parts that do not really come together at the end. But I didn’t hate it. It just isn’t . . . sitting right, with me. And thus I have been putting off writing this review.
*Not counting books that have been review-bombed; this book came by its rating naturally.
All of the people this appealed to—people who love cats, people who love historical fantasy/alternate history, and people who love weird shit—just know that these things that are drawing you in are probably not going to do what you want them to do. Ughh, I don’t know how to explain this. Because I don’t know what I think! Let’s try talking about the actual book (and let’s see if I remember enough about it to do so).
- Main character named Dora/D (who was fashioned after Dickens’s Little Dorrit, not that that affects the plot very much). This is somewhat Dickensian I guess.
- Takes place in a fake city where magic exists. A revolution to overthrow the government has just occurred.
- Dora has a boyfriend in the new government, or was he a soldier? anyway i didn’t like him, and they would have weird sex on page that was very dull
- Dora accidentally acquires the position of curator of a museum that never ends up being as interesting as you would want, where everything is mannequins reenacting things? oh, it was the museum of the worker, so nodding to socialism there, but that’s pretty much it
- interesting side characters were never brought fully into the narrative to my liking
- there is a ship that is first a museum showcasing a dead body (the specifics of this have been lost to me) but then escaped and now harvests the ghosts of dead people . . . for some purpose?
- cats are worshiped by some people, and those people are mocked by others, but the cats do seem to congregate in weird places
- there is a secret society
- All my favorite characters ended up dying.
- SPOILERS And she ended up with the shitty boyfriend, with the book expecting me clearly to be happy about this, even though he is dead and not in possession of many of his former body parts END SPOILERS
- Dora’s neighbor is a serial killer, and she knows but never does anything about it???
I don’t know what the fuck, you guys. The more I’m remembering about this book, the more I’m baffled as to what it was going for. I’m very disappointed this didn’t work, it had so much potential. Can’t really recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good story, but if you’re curious, I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on it, for sure!