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A Reader of Fictions: Love's Divine - Seal

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love's Divine - Seal

The Diviner's Tale

Bradford Morrow
Genre: mystery
320 (though I read on my Kindle)
ARC Acquired From:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Cassandra, much like her ill-fated Trojan namesake, has visions of the future. She foresaw that something bad would happen to her brother Christopher and told him not to leave the house one evening; he did and he died. Grown now, with her own twin sons, Cass still struggles with the monster (her forevisions) and for acceptance from the community. She works as a diviner (or dowser), using some sort of magic to find water on people's properties. Although she has a good success rate, many people will not accept that she is anything but a fraud, and she really isn't sure herself. One day, while dowsing for water, she finds a hanged girl, calls for the police, and, when they arrive, there is no sign of the girl. This situation will require Cass to figure out whether she's crazy or powerful and to solve a mystery.

A lot of interesting and dramatic stuff happens in this book. Which is why it's amazing how incredibly boring it managed to be. I had to force myself through pretty much every page. The only characters I liked at all were the twins, as they felt the most like real people. I never related to Cass, who felt strangely withdrawn despite the story being told from her perspective. She felt more like a man than a woman too.

The book jumps around in time frequently. Although the different snatches of Cass' life are pertinent to the book's plot, they still don't always feel so at the time or really later. Perhaps the book just needed to be shorter, to relate a bit less of the past. A big part of the book centers around a mystery, the conclusion of which was surprising only in its sheer lack of surprise. Everything happens after many hints and with absolutely no plot twisting.

Morrow's writing conveys an understanding of language that is commendable and literary. However, he has strange diction, which left me cold and often incredulous. For example, Morrow describes a morning as having a "heavy mackerel sky." While this is a real phrase, which I know thanks to my handy dandy Kindle, it isn't one that many people are going to know. Call me stupid if you like, but whose first thought on reading that phrase isn't going to be of a sky filled with a school of mackerels or maybe just one really big fish. In general, I found his language kind of off-putting, sort of pompous and bland all at once.

The Diviner's Tale searches, but fails to locate the water to fill the well of the reader's interest.

"Then the rainstorm came, over me
And I felt my spirit break

I had lost all of my, belief you see

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