Friday, April 28, 2023

Review: THE BOOK OF SPECULATION by Erika Swyler


Rating: 2/5 stars

The Book of Speculation is objectively good; it’s well-written with fleshed-out characters and an interesting plot. “A librarian vs. the sea vs. his house vs. his sister vs. a curse,” as the author describes it. It’s mysterious with lyrical writing. 

Subjectively, however, this book is simply not for me. 

My coworker described this novel as Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore plus Night Circus plus Water for Elephants, and I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s a tricky description for me though because I rated those books 5, 4, and 3 stars, respectively, so I really had no clue how The Book of Speculation was going to go. I decided to rate it 2 stars purely for my enjoyment level, but it’s not a bad book by any means, and I’d definitely recommend it if you think it sounds up your alley. 

I’ve come to realize that I do not like books that center around a circus (Night Circus being the singular exception here). I also do not care about tarot cards, and those play a pretty big role in this novel. Mermaids also play a big role in this book, and I’m pretty impartial to them as well. Subsequently, I was not really attached to any of the characters, even though they were written well, so I wasn’t very invested in them uncovering truths about their past. And lastly, this book was weirdly similar to another book I was reading at the same time that I didn’t enjoy (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender) even though they had no right being so similar, but I think the comparison was slowly turning me off of this novel. 

In short, this is a good book but it’s not a good book for me. I hope if you read it that it’s good for you though. 

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