Top critical review
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I just couldn't make myself like it.
on January 1, 2014
This book is in one of my favorite genres, and it came so highly decorated with awards that I felt like I had to read it, but after wading about 45 pages in, I gave up. I never do that. I've read over 20 books this year, and there was only one other that I did not finish, but it was horribly proofread and virtually incoherent.
"Circumnavigated" was well-written/edited enough. I only spotted one typo. But the problem was that I simply couldn't make myself care about the main character, September. Characters are everything in a book. They drive the emotions and pull us in. September completely failed to do this for me. I couldn't care less if she got eaten by witches or killed by monsters. Why? Because it seemed, most of the time, that *she* couldn't care less. When the dominating characteristic of your main character is apathy, that's the emotion that rubs off on the readers.
I found myself looking for anything else to do but settle into my nightly reading ritual because I just didn't want to "work" to like my leisure time. This has been compared to Oz and Wonderland, but both Dorothy and Alice had some spunk. A crazy cast of nonsense babbling creatures only works if someone who feels real is reacting to them.
I gave it two stars because occasionally there were one-liners, usually asides from the narrator, that were pretty choice. But they could have just as easily been printed in a meme and circulated on FB, and they would have had more impact. A handful of one-liners just do not make a brilliant piece of literary fiction.
I don't understand the hype, and I really wish I hadn't paid full price for this...