I read a number of very positive reviews, and that was the only reason I saw this one through to the end. The story was tedious and uninteresting. Aside from mentioning that the characters had ties to masons and illuminati, there was really no insight into either. The narration is what ultimately did me in; at no point did the narrator attempt to to give voice to any of the characters. I've heard more enthusiasm in a Librivox recording, and that is saying a lot. It ended abruptly in a very aggravating way, and there was nothing about this book that made me interested in moving on to book two.
More depth to the secret organizations was needed, not just depth in characters.
Paul Michael may have assisted in making the story more audibly appealing. He has a great voice and I believe could accomplish the period speak much more successfully, and he definitely would have given the characters their own personalities, which this book needed.
I was first introduced to Mathew Pearl through The Dante Club, and absolutely loved it. I've listened to two more of his books since then, The Poe Shadow included, and while I felt the concept had merit, as other reviewers have indicated, the story was way too long. So many of the details could have been omitted without any harm coming to the story, and ultimately, I had a hard time caring about what was taking place. I kept waiting for a wow moment that would pull it all together and make it worth the length, but it never happened. The protagonist spent the entire length of the book fighting to uncover the mystery behind Poe's death, but the reason behind his obsession was never fully validated, in my mind. I won't give up on Pearl, but I won't blindly follow, either.
I wasn't even really looking for a book about wizards, though Jim Butcher writes the world of wizardry quite well. I was more interested in the werewolf aspect of the book, and I love the depth and diversity that he gave to the werewolves. Lots of legends accommodated. I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed the story and the narration (one of my favorite narrators). My only complaint is I was left wanting more.
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