This is a great story, obviously, as the introduction between Watson and Holmes is established as roommates who grow to know one another and enter into their first great mystery. The low ranking therefore has little to do with the novel, but that of Watson's narrator who, although full of character, belies the voice of what our minds tell us he should be, and bumbles at too quickly a pace to enjoy a fireside mystery.
This book, like Pamela for feminist literary history, is important due to the fact that it was the first gothic novel ever written. The voice is a good one for the story, deep, reverant, dramatic; the writing is of excellent breed as well. With that said, however, so much has been ripped-off from this novel, and into novels that we've already read, that the story itself comes off as a bit cliche, not to mention ridiculous. Although the hyperbole of the novel is based off sybolic intentions, the best that one can say about this piece is that it lit a torch for future great novels--not that it's so much a great novel on its own two feet. Worty of reading if you care about the history of novels in general, but if you're looking for a great gothic novel this can't be a first choice.
This is the kind of story that you play with headphones, in bed and stark blackness, during a rainy night when you want an old-fashion suspense story. Although short and not to the perfection of Poe or a Holmes story, it's better in adventure at least and entertainingly read. I really had fun with this one. Save it for that perfect night.
Although Wilde tries to hit far too many home-runs with quotable-quotes, sometimes hitting flush and sometimes missing altogether, he proves his greatness in this novel without question. This is a strong, bold story of a man who accidentally sells his soul for eternal youth. On that premise, the story unfolds in the hands of an excellent storyteller.
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