Review: The Crooked Letter by Sean Williams

Rating:

The Crooked Letter by Sean Williams
2006, Pyr

Review Summary: Williams’s The Crooked Letter suffers from his choice of main characters, a pair of “mirror” twins who are so selfish, introverted, and shallow that the novel never fully recovers even as one of the twins begins to make some strides towards becoming a responsible, interesting human being.

Full Review:

Williams’s The Crooked Letter¬†suffers from his choice of main characters, a pair of “mirror” twins who are so selfish, introverted, and shallow that the novel never fully recovers even as one of the twins begins to make some strides towards becoming a responsible, interesting human being.

Secondly, the novel suffers from poor pacing and plotting – it starts with a minor bang before one knows the characters well enough to care about what is happening to them, and then drags through the next hundred pages where one learns more about these two pivot points and the new worlds they are inhabiting, but still fails to establish any kind of connection between the characters and the reader. The next couple hundred pages consist of the characters running away from their enemies and then racing to their respective climaxes. That’s it – for all the fancy footwork, and this outrageous character and mythological reference, its basically just a bunch of running around, concluding with some playing about with possible worlds.

Thematically the novel is weak. If the author had spent more time working on a message (besides how much these two twins loathe being tied to one another) and spent less time over-inventing his complicated and convoluted first and second worlds scheme, he would have been much better off and the reader might have come away with a sense of having accomplished something worthwhile by reading his novel.

08/12/08 CSL

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