Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Review: Metropolis

HOLY COW! FIREFOX JUST EXPLODED SO I LOST THIS WHOLE POST! That can't be good. And all of my cleverness and wit was poured into the review I just lost. Crap.

/Saving as Draft
As they say in the Monty Python skits , "Start again".

Metropolis was one of those books that I found having praise lavished all over it by several different magazines. I put in a request for it at my local library -- see my previous post about already owning too many books -- and patiently waited my turn. As often happens, when I finally did get it, it was trapped in a flood of other books that I had requested that I also wanted to read. Unfortunately I was not as interested in it as I had been when I requested it, a problem that I also often have with Netflix.

Long story short, I ended up have to blaze through the book in order to finish it before it was due at the library. I couldn't renew it because someone else had requested it after me, and I refuse to be someone who thinks that paying fines for overdue library books is OK. Call it a thing.

In its defense, I did find myself getting sucked in. I started it in order to decide whether or not I really wanted to try to read it in two days, and I figured, "Why not?" (Some who read the book might think that's a pun but it's not.)

Some of the characters were interesting, but the central love story between Beatrice O'Gahmna and Frank Harris was just annoying. So annoying in fact that I ascribed it to the fact that the author was a woman and had to include some overweening passion to motivate her characters and keep readers interested. And I'm a woman! At least there weren't the gratuitous sex scenes that I had to sit through in Rise of Endymion. Ugh.

I did enjoy the picture it painted of life in New York City in the late 1860s, particularly the descriptions of the open spaces that had not yet been filled to overflowing on Manhattan Island and the surrounding boroughs. The author also had some playful spots where she injected herself into the story -- "Shall I end it here?" -- and talked about the nature of fate. She also succeeded in building a sense of dread because you knew that Frank's luck was such that he was going to end up a sucker for Undertoe again.

Would I recommend it? Eh. It was well researched, fairly well written, but I won't be running out to buy it.

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