, ,

It was love at first blurb.
From Goodreads:

One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.
When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . . The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.

Who the heck wouldn’t want to read that? Books – check. Romantic longing – check. Gothic undertones – chah-eck. There was no way I wasn’t going to read this.

I kept an eye out at the library. I checked Amazon to see if they had a used copy up for grabs. (Hey, don’t hate on the druggie for needing a dealer – sometimes you gotta get your fix where you can get it.) Finally, I did spot it where I looked most often: my local used book store. Score.

I was a bit surprised when I picked it up. For one, it wasn’t really a standard size: more of a 5x8ish, squattier DVD-type size. And there was a cardboard case surrounding the book. I started wondering exactly what they meant when they said you could just “flip” the book over and start again, because the book inside the case was shrink-wrapped. Odd.

In fact, that was exactly why: the book was accordion folded between two harder covers that served as end pieces. A rather novel (har har) approach, but I have to admit, it made for extremely difficult reading. I had to oh-so-carefully flip each double/folded page, trying to keep the separate covers together as I did so. Trust me – it was a lot harder than it sounds. Then, when I tried to read in bed, I had entirely new problems trying to keep all the parts upright: first I had to hold each cover up – holding the book at the bottom of the spine didn’t apply – AND hold on to the pages. I lost count of how many times I dropped one of the covers and it hit me in the head. Or the number of times the pages accordioned out of control. I know I’m relatively uncoordinated, but come on!

Then there was the story itself. (I know! All that AND a story!) I was digging the down-the-rabbit-hole-ness of the visions and the are-they-or-aren’t-they from other worlds bit. The writing itself could have been sharper, but fairies help a girl in overlooking that.  But then there were the massive jumps in the story: massively detailed beginning with skips and jumps later on? Mehhh…my fancy started to wane just a bit. I hoped flipping the story over (as prescribed) and reading the other side would even everything out. Instead I felt it was all rather syllogistic, leaving my questions forever unanswered.

In the end I found the story, the idea, the unique publishing approach were all very cute, but less than satisfying as a whole.