Tuesday, June 18
Book Review: The Blondes
Author: Emily Schultz
Pages: EBook 270
Summary: Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes--whether CEOs, flight attendants, skateboarders or accountants--into rabid killers.
Hazel, vulnerable because of her pregnancy, decides to flee the city--but finds that the epidemic has spread and that the world outside New York is even stranger than she imagined. She sets out on a trip across a paralyzed America to find the one woman--perhaps blonde, perhaps not--who might be able to help her. Emily Schultz's beautifully realized novel is a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work. With echoes of Blindness and The Handmaid's Tale amplified by a biting satiric wit, The Blondes is at once an examination of the complex relationships between women, and a merciless but giddily enjoyable portrait of what happens in a world where beauty is--literally--deadly
My Rating: 4.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed a few aspects of the book, the basic premise behind the disease and how it spread was interesting, and had that been more explored, I think there would have been less of a chance of me losing interest in the book. There were also a few things here and there that were hinted at and I wish the author took me as the reader down that way rather than, Hazel retelling what happened, to her unborn child. This was where the author lost me as a reader for the most part. No matter how I look at the book or what I took away from it, creepy thriller versus a satirical novel, how the author told the story, really influenced and had a negative effect on the overall story for me.
The book had two sides to it, a serious, creepy thriller versus a satirical thriller. On the more serious side of the book, I think was where the author seemed to shine the most. There were a few superbly written moments, that were only touched on, but would what was there, was fantastic. I found that the satrical side of things got a bit muddled and forced when the author did this. It didn't come across as a natural flow for the story and while there were a few moments that made me laugh, I think the book fell apart because it seemed to concentrate to strongly on the satirical side of things. I also found that anything to do with Gale didn't work well for me, she was a character and an aspect of the book that really needed to be toned down. Her appearances were repetitive and didn't really add much to the actual story.
The characters were also a big reason why the book didn't work for me. There was an entire cast of characters that didn't really invoke any emotion or connection to at all. I was bored with them all, and I never could get myself to like them to actually care what would happen.
Overall, the book started off with some interesting potential and while I found it to be an original read, it didn't work for me in the end.
Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would, I found that the book just didn't come together enough for me to recommend it.
What to read next: This is another book I'm at a lost with. I picked the book up because, it was on the list of eligible reads for the 2013 Giller prize, long before the longlist/shortlist was released (basically any book published between a certain time frame goes on that list). So I'd say check that list out, I've found some interesting finds there.
Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge