Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review of The Moonstone

Oh, I'm not in the right mood to do justice to this book, but if I put it off any longer I could just forget about it.

Stupid reason really. Only a movie I just watched, but one terrific mind fuck that was. I'll tell you at the end which movie it was, if I don't forget.

So, back to business. Life goes on and I did finish a book the day before last.
It was called the Moonstone, a book by Wilkie Collins, also known for writing The Woman in White.
Never heard of those books, don't fret it. He's not that commonly known as say Dickens or Austen. Not to late to get to know him, hurry to your local bookstore or library.

The Moonstone is a mystery tale about a gem that gets lost. A gem with a significant history, a little unsettling perhaps, but what's a book without a juicy plot? Right!
To give you the premise in more than two sentences, here goes..

The Moonstone is an indian gem, which is rumored to damn everyone who lays his hands upon it. It is carved to serve the gods, but when war forces its way into India, the gem gets lost in several hands as a bounty.
Eventually it finds itself in the possession of an english lord who bestows it upon his sister's daughter when he draws his last breath.
She receives the gem on her 18th birthday party, a party that doesn't go to well. When she wakes up the next morning, the gem is gone. The Moonstone is stolen.
The house is searched, people are questioned, events happen and accusations are derived.
But the story doesn't end in the house.
It takes us from Yorkshire all the way back to London to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of this diamond.

If you believe what the internet tells you, this novel is the very first English detective novel ever written. That's pretty nice. But still a bold thing to say. It's probably the first they know about, but that comparing apples and pears.

Still, it doesn't matter for me, because as far as I like detective novels (and I don't, for the record) The Moonstone wasn't selling it to me. It wasn't a very engaging story line, I wasn't drawn into the mystery or contaminated with the detective fever as Mr. Betteredge so aptly puts it.
I went into this adventure expecting to be mindblown, but left a little sad and hungry.
Character development was meekly, unless I truly have the wrong idea about that time or any time for that matter. They all were images of what the writer wanted them to be, to serve his purpose, instead of breathing life into them and sitting back to see what they would do on their own accord.
As far as plot goes, you've got a typical mystery novel where you can smell the climax from miles away like sewage. That's exactly the reason I don't like to read them, I like to be surprised. I like for my world to stop for a few minutes while I process what just happened (Thanks George RR Martin for providing multiple occasions to do just that) instead of pointlessly milling about until the writer lets the expected happen. And in the Moonstone it happens in such a clumsy way, damn.
Close to the end I was sure there would be a small second or two where I would be amazed, but nope, nada. He even dared to explain the whole matter, every loose end tied up really nicely. Can't leave off doing just that. AAAARGH.. Such endings are for bad Hollywood movies.

I'm probably trampling on a lot of toes with my comment, but I like to read. I don't do it because I have to, so I want to be entertained.
A book that fails to do so, isn't a very well written book in my opinion and ofcourse opinions differ.

And it's not because Collins wrote one mediocre book, that all he that was bad..
On the contrary, he's won his way into my heart with another one of his books:

If you've never read anything from Wilkie Collins I personally recommend this one. I've commented generously about it on Goodreads, read other reviews, but read it too. 
The Moonstone might be a book about a gem, but I like my books to be gems of their own.

And to those who've suffered through my reviews..
A movie adapted from A Gillian Flynn novel which is one of my favourite authors

and a scene which I would someday like to do if I ever have the nerve.
Bye now!