Friday, December 28, 2007

Book review (#1)

I decided that I'm going to start putting my book reviews in this blog, so it's easier to keep track of and stuff. I've lucked out recently and got both a November and a December Early Reviewer book from LibraryThing. So here's the review of the November book:

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

With mystery, fantasy, and Ireland all in the same book, it was pretty obvious just from the blurb on the back cover that I would enjoy There's No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern.

The main character, Sandy Shortt, runs her own missing persons agency because of her neurotic obsession with searching for missing people and objects; this obsession began when she was a child and a classmate went missing. Sandy's searching is the main plot of the story, with flashbacks spaced throughout the book explaining her past and her relationship with her counselor. The story follows both Sandy and Jack Ruttle, one of the people who hired her- in this case, to find his missing brother. The chapters switch between Sandy and Jack, but it does so in a way that doesn't get confusing, and as the story progresses, they get just about equal screen time.

Soon into the story, Sandy is transported to Here, the place where all the missing objects and people of the world go. In Here, the missing people have created their own towns and government, and it seems an ideal society, compared to the "real" world. I really enjoyed the parts of the story that took place in Here, and I would have liked it if more of the story had been there, perhaps instead of some of the Sandy's flashbacks.

I really enjoyed this book, up until about 4/5 of the way through it. At the end, though, I found that it came together too pat and perfect, with Jack finding the body of his brother, and Sandy getting out of Here and completely losing her obsessive-compulsion. Even that would have been fine, if there hadn't been the very obvious Wizard of Oz Dorothy waking up scene. Now, there's a strong Wizard of Oz theme throughout the story, but until the end I didn't find it to be all that cheesy, even with some of the characters putting on a retelling of Wizard of Oz in a play. I think that if the ending would have been changed a little, the book would have been better.

All in all, though, I did really enjoy the characters and the story, and it made for nice light reading during the chaos that is December which kept me from reading anything else. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and the idea of The Wizard of Oz, and who wouldn't mind some light reading.

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