Most readers tend to develop a sense of instinct regarding a story, its characters, and where the written journey is headed. We develop this air of superiority that we know all things, nothing can take us by surprise, and the author writes under our guidance alone.
Many authors do a wonderful job giving us this illusion, and at times, perhaps we do see things coming before they are intended to be revealed. Perhaps occasionally we are smarter than the author and his or her characters.
Prepare to lose all of that smug superiority when you read this book. Throw it out the window and just clip in for a ride that you have no idea where you will end up. Megan Whalen Turner doesn't even pretend to give you, the reader, and edge. She boldly writes to confuse, to veil, to leave you walking through a maze in the dark wondering what the heck is going on. And I think she enjoys it. I almost feel that the characters themselves knew that they had me over a barrel, and they relished it.
I would have given up, moved on to something with more immediate payoff, but I decided to actually look up this series that I had just randomly picked from my Kindle library. I did not know what I had stumbled upon, and the raving reviews from fans sent me back to the story. At about 73%, I finally started to get the picture. By the end, I'm hooked. This author is brilliant, she tricked me, fooled me, led me around by the nose and her own characters mocked my ignorance....and I can't wait to come back for more. Somehow, being surprised by events, and truly likable characters that I had disliked for most of the book was refreshing. It reminded me that sometimes you have to look deeper, I don't know the whole story, and people can surprise you.
Well done, Ms. Turner. You pulled off a feat that few authors have, you surprised me.
And for any readers who were as confused by the landscape as I was, the map is at the back of the book. Consult it often and spare yourself the head scratching.