Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Wee Book Review: The Miniaturist *spoiler free*

Hello lovelies!

So today I have a wee book review for you. At the moment I am in the midst of my fourth year and last few weeks of university so things might be a little all over the place, seeing as I'm not writing any new posts, I'm only editing and uploading posts I already have a lot of material on (I normally do a mix of both on a week to week basis, well recently anyway!) Normal (what is normal?!) service to resume shortly!

So back to the book!  

Today's choice is The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I picked this book to review because I forced myself to read it after all the hype. I hate reading hyped up books in the midst of the hype (I prefer to be there before it kicks off or well after!) but the reviews for this were so insanely good, I couldn't resist. And sadly, for me it totally disappointed. 
Don't judge a book by it's cover... 
The cover of this book is really stunning, I own this on kindle because I bought this before I made the decision to give up on electronic reading. However, as I work in a library, I have experienced the cover and it is beautiful. I guess it does prove the adage though...seeing as I really disliked this book!
A little bit about it...
17th Century Amsterdam; a young girl marries an older man to "improve her station". The book follows her getting to know her new husband, fitting in with her new family, discovering the family secrets and dealing with the fall out.
What I disliked...
I disliked a lot about this book, but I'm going to try and keep it to a minimum as I don't want to go off on a rant! I'm sticking with three main issues I had, which are as follows;
First and foremost, I didn't think any of the characters were very likable, or relatable. I didn't really care too much about how things ended up for these characters, and when bad things happened I really didn't feel that sad about it because I just didn't have a connection with the characters (and bad shit DOES go down...so I ultimately felt rubbish for not feeling much!).
Secondly, this book just simply tried to deal with far too many issues (i.e. arranged marriage, women's rights in general, homophobia, racism, class issues), and it didn't deal with any one issue properly. Obviously, all the issues highlighted in the book are important, but in trying to deal with them all at the same time with the same shock value, it just didn't give any of the issues the time and importance they deserve.
Lastly, there was a key theme running through this book (the book's namesake for crying out loud!) that was never revealed or explained. I have heard people saying that if you go back and read the first few chapters the book "totally makes sense" but I tried that and I'm still none the wiser. Of course, you can argue that some books like to leave the mystery...but in all honestly I couldn't even make a educated guess, which is my problem. I personally don't feel with this book you are provided with enough information to come to any kind of real conclusion.
And one mini issue that MANY people have highlighted: THAT kiss...what on earth?! I can't say any more without spoiling the book...but if you've read this PLEASE let me know below if THAT KISS (you know the one I mean!) makes any sense whatsoever to you?? At the very least I know I'm not alone on this point as even people who like this book didn't get this bit!

What I liked...

Coming up with enough likes is probably even more difficult for me than minimising my dislikes for this book but I'm going to give it a go as I prefer to be balanced!

I did like the writing style, and it was really beautiful in places, I can't possibly argue with that. And in line with a excellent writing style, Burton is absolutely excellent at scene setting, it is really hard not to imagine watching what is going on. Although, in saying that, I felt very much like I was watching it like a film and I wasn't actually like a bystander in the world if that makes sense? which I think is another reason I didn't enjoy this one.

Oh and admittedly, I did finished this book really quickly, I actually stayed up all night! But that was to find out the mystery of the miniaturist...which I didn't...you can see why I'm a little peeved over this one...
If you liked this... 

I honestly, can't think of a title to compare this to, if anyone has any suggestions (especially if you liked it!) please let everyone know below! I guess you might enjoy this if you like historical fiction?

On Goodreads I awarded this...

A 2 out of 5 stars. I just really didn't enjoy this but I think it's more a 2.5/3 if I give the writing the kudos it deserves. In fairness, I am not a huge fan of historical fiction (although I can be if it's done right, it's just not my favourite genre)The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is currently £3.85 on amazon

Have you read The Miniaturist? What did you think and do you have any recommendations if you like this book? Let me know below!

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  1. Ooh, I have seen SO much about this book and had been planning to keep an eye out for it at the library, but I might not worry so much now. I hate reading books which are all hyped up, too.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only that feels that way about hyped up books! I think it's really tough to tell with this book as people seem to love or hate it. Although most people love it, I'd say if you like historical fiction or you don't mind slow moving, character driven books then you might like it! Xx

  2. I hate when I can't connect with characters because then I can't really get into the story. I think for me this is kind of a make it or break it for me type of issue.

    1. I absolutely agree with you on that one. Even if a character is completely different from myself if there's one little thing that can connect me then I'm engaged otherwise it's a bit of a wet weekend!