Warning: At least passing knowledge of folklore, occult, mythology, and music theory required.
It’s kind of not bad, but there are several different strands going on. First is the occult/musical analysis part. Then there’s all the stuff related to the Temple going on, of which there are several. Each character seems to have their own thread that is kind of related to each other, but ultimately, somehow, not really. It’s...well, extremely compartmentalized, is the nice way of putting it, I guess.
The narration’s weird. There are points where there are things I feel should be offset by commas, but are instead given their own micro-not-sentences, like, “Of course,” but used in that sort of transitional way (e.g. “you might think, of course,” etc.).
The MC’s voice is incredibly annoying. He’s either the world’s most pompous, pedantic git or the epitome of a graduate professor. When he brings up points not mentioned, he doesn't teach them/relay them so much as remind the reader of certain points, as if to say, “You may remember that last week, we covered ____” and give a brief reminder of it. Of course, I happen to have a passing knowledge of various mythologies, so I’m one of those students that nods and goes “uh huh” and can actually supplement what the professor sketches with more details. However, if you have no prior knowledge and were actually hoping the professor, you know, teach you stuff
, then maybe you’re one of those poor souls who timidly raises xyr hand to say, “But professor, we didn't actually cover this last week,” whereupon the professor stares at you nonplussed and the rest of the students shush you because, poor fool you, you ought to have known this already.
That would be okay if this were part of a series. Then you’d probably be expected to know stuff already covered. As is, though, you go online and write a review on those teacher sites about how horrible this professor is and how even though it’s an introductory class, you actually have to pretty much already know the subject to get by.
I also didn't like the way the author would mention something, then have the MC say “I suppose I should tell you about…” by way of segueing into an explanation. NO. That’s tacky, stupid, and frankly, really condescending. I mean, thank you, kind of, for bothering to give even a brief outline of the thing you mentioned relating to traditional lore, but surely there was a better way of doing that? I mean, I know most of the stuff, but I really wouldn't be offended if you just launched right in, especially since traditional lore is
so many and so varied. It’s nice to see how you interpreted it/which version you favored without, you know, you acting like you’re blessing us with the beauteous light of your knowledge.
The sex-subplots...what. Those seem almost - but not quite - completely unrelated to the intellectual musical/occult analysis. You know, at first, I really felt for the MC, ‘cause it seemed like there was a ton of whump and stuff, but as it went on, I found that I don’t really think the MC was that sympathetic a character. It gets harder and harder to empathize with him.
The more you read, the more you realize what a condescending fucker the MC is. It’s all “I suppose” this and “well, those who believe in magic
believe” that and all sorts of other little things that show just how much disdain he holds everyone who is not him.
And when he was waxing philosophical about penetration...methink the lady doth protest too much, and as a result of thy protest, thou cometh across as rather disingenuous.
It basically killed the sad mood created by the loss of Jay
and fractured whatever focus was left even more.
It’s like the sex-plots aren't even connected to the overarching occult thing. I mean, that part is cool. Dan-Brown-worthy at times, even. But the “relationship”-y stuff really isn't worked in well, and Jeremy’s character creation makes little sense (for example, why do people like him? I’m starting to not understand why people like him. Maybe it’s because they don’t live inside his head. As the reader, we’re peering inside Jeremy’s head, and we’re probably seeing stuff others don’t. *sigh)
Bowyn, honey. I know you think Marianne’s cray-cray and possessive, but I’m starting to think she might be your best bet, ‘specially if the alternate is Jeremy, here.
Although he’s not much better himself. He fluctuates between being the most grounded character, it seems, to sudden fits of anger and indignation.
I basically lost interest in anything that wasn't the Brown-esque plot.
It is an interesting piece, even if the characters are a bit horribly handled. Of course, that’s just my personal take on it, so maybe people will see it differently.
I think towards the end-ish, when it starts bringing thing away from the sort of skew Wonderland and back to "reality," things settle in a bit. Still, I didn't really go way liking any of the characters, nor even the supposed "romance," really.
The cover -- might not have been bad, except the modern notation overlay doesn't quite match the background in style and just makes it rather...well, kitschy.
Also, yeah, Aquiline (Two?)’s a pretty cool font and all, but surely you could have spaced it better? I can literally think of no sound reason to desire your title to be near-illegible on first-glance.
You know, I have no idea if I like it or not. Absolutely none. I'm inclined to dislike it for all the myriad problems it has, but it's still quite a morally complex read in a sort of unobvious way.
I'm at a loss, really. Having reached the end now, I have no idea what to say except, "Huh."