(Ignoring the fact that I haven’t been blogging for awhile…..) Okay so there’s been discussion about when the best time to post reviews of an ARC. Some say it’s best to have them posted either before or right when the book is published. I think that’s a good strategy. So then I feel guilty if I don’t review books before their publication date, especially if I’ve had them for a bit.
But then I thought… well it could also be helpful for reviews to pop up awhile after the book’s been published. Basically the buzz about it has passed, and my review serves as a reminder that the book still exists- and if you haven’t bought it already then maybe you should.
Title: “The Aviary Gate”
Author: Katie Hickman
Number of Pages: 352
Publisher: Bloomsbury, USA
Date of Publication: May 27, 2008
3.5/4 stars: A journey into the past
I can’t seem to stop talking about cover art! I guess I really do judge a book by it’s cover! The cover for “The Aviary Gate” is beautiful. According to the book jacket, it’s Leila (1892) by Frank Dicksee. (His work is truly gorgeous! Look here for a some of his other paintings.) The art is fitting since part of the story takes place in a harem in the sixteenth century. But then I stumbled upon “The Guilded Chamber: A Novel of Queen Esther” by Rebecca Kohn (in my search for Biblical historical fiction after reading “The Triumph of Deborah”- see my review here). The jacket art for Kohn’s book, although a bit more red than pink and zoomed in a bit, is clearly the same art. I certainly recognized it immediately. Kohn’s book was published by Penguin in 2005 (currently at bargain price on Amazon right now, so I just snagged it!), and while it has been a few years, you would think somebody would have thought twice about using the same cover art so soon.
That aside, let’s move onto the story, or two stories as the case may be. The book alternates between present day Elizabeth, and Celia in the sixteenth century. Many found the present day story to pale in comparison to the sixteenth century bits. At times I felt the same way, while at others I looked forward to Elizabeth’s story. In either case, it seemed as though each part could stand on its own. It was as though the two stories were written separately and then spliced together to allow the two time periods to alternate throughout the final book.
I had a bit of trouble reading this. In the beginning, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down. However, real life intervened and I was forced to stop reading it for awhile. When I got back to it- it was like the magic was gone. I couldn’t get back into it. The dialogue was boring, the characters flat. I had forgotten who everyone was and what they were doing. It didn’t help that I wasn’t too pleased with the way it ended. But…. all that said- I think overall it’s a good read. It did take me awhile to write this review though. I had to ‘digest’ the story, if that makes sense?
So if this comes off wishy-washy, I apologize. The story had it’s ups and downs. But I would recommend it. However if you do start reading, try to read it all at once, or at least don’t start reading and then not pick it up for a couple of weeks! Reading it all in one sitting will allow you to delve into the story, becoming entranced by the characters and especially the imagery- which no matter how you feel about the story and plot- is simply beautiful.
Missed my last post? It was Review: “Dead and Gone” by Charlaine Harris