Monday, August 27, 2012

The Black Opera - Mary Gentle

Found this book in the library, was intrigued by the description, and needed a book for "black" for the Color-Coded Reading Challenge so I took the plunge. I liked the main character a lot, the premise is fascinating, the setting colorful, the operatic talk was a good insight into what makes a good story/opera, and yet... there was something missing. One of my favorite movies is Amadeus, and while reading this book I kept having flashes to the scene in which the emperor tells Mozart his latest opera has "too many notes." This book had "too many notes" - too many words; a page of description when a good paragraph would have sufficed.

I have noticed a trend recently to ensure that each and every book is more than 300 pages, and mostly more than 400 pages, maybe to justify the insanely expensive prices of paperback books. I think this book, although enjoyable and fascinating, was just slightly inflated and would have been better served by being somewhat shorter. This also goes for Beautiful Disaster, which could have (and should have) been reduced by at least half, as well as other books I've read recently. I think the overall story of this book, which was complex and fascinating, would have been better served by a slightly tighter edit to remove some of the needless repetition. All in all though I did enjoy this book and I'd read other stories by the same author.

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