Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Book of Lost Fragrances" by M.J. Rose

The Book of Lost Fragrances

I received this book from Netgalley to review upon request. It was later that I learned it was a part of a series, but as it happened, the installments aren't dependent on each other.

I noticed several types of grammatical errors: 1. there were times when words that sound alike were substituted for each other (to for too); 2. In the beginning, entire paragraphs were repeated several times; 3. There were sentence constructions that could've been tweaked to sound better.

The story started out real slow, and nothing really happened till we hit the 50-60%. There were many points of view, but they were all fairly easy to follow. There was going back in time, there was romance, there was brotherly love, devotion, faith.

Unfortunately, the story couldn't really grab me. Perhaps I was expecting too much of it - I was thinking it would go into more anthropology, and instead there was just romance and a couple of tortured souls. The only part of the novel which stirred me was the one pertaining the Tibetan lama's. Not that I hold their beliefs, but I respect people who do not give in to the authorities pressure on faith.

The characters:

*Jac - I didn't feel close to her at all. She sounded really unreasonable to me from the very beginning when she was visiting her mother's grave. She was too stubborn for her own good. And on top of that she was weak when pertaining to one character - Griffin North, who plagiarized her thesis back in the day and on top of that abandoned her. Afterwards she'd spend years smelling his perfume in the hope that that would make her hate him. Seriously, who does that??? Then at the first possible moment, she beds him. Umm.. not realistic at all. Not in my book at least. And to be honest, it felt gross. Also, she kept on thinking she was crazy because of the visions she'd get when smelling that special fragrance. If it had only happened once or twice, sure you could think that something's wrong with you. But it happens every time, and any person in their right mind would be tempted to investigate. She didn't, which made her unrealistic to me even more.

*Griffin - He was the character I absolutely loathed from the moment I met him on the pages. He was a man who ran from his responsibilities the first chance he got. He was weak, full of self-doubt and ready to blame his problems on his girlfriend/wife/whatever. When he tried to manipulate his life into Jac's life, I felt like leaving the book and never picking it up to read at all. Soul mates or not, he didn't deserve a single thread of her hair.

*Robbie - I wanted to congratulate that man for his strong faith. Neither money, nor pressure were able to make him give up on his beliefs. That's the sort of man who can earn my admiration.

*Malachi - I kept feeling that he was misunderstood. He wasn't given enough time/space to show his character. It felt like he was cut short, before he had the chance to bring out his real self. He had potential.

*Xie - he was my favorite character of the lot and the only reason I gave 3 stars to this read. He gave the essence to the book. Coming from a society where anything you say or do might get you killed, it's difficult to mask your identity and your bright mind and still pretend that the brainwash performed on you is working. I admired him - his courage, his determination, his faith.

If all the characters in this book were like Xie, it would've earned a better rating.

As it is, my rating is:

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