Tuesday, November 12
Book Review: Under Budapest
Author: Ailsa Kay
Summary: There’s Agnes and Tibor, mother and son, travelling to Hungary for reasons they keep to themselves, he to recover from a disastrous love affair, she to search for a sister gone missing during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. There’s Janos, a self-styled player and petty thug, who schemes to make it rich in post-communist Hungary. And there’s Gyula and Zsofi, caught up in a revolution that will change the face of Hungary forever. Their lives are all connected by a conflagration of events: the legacy of wartime violence, past allegiances, long-buried rivalries, and secrets from the past.
My Rating: 5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: While there were pieces of the book I did enjoy, there were too many aspects of the book that didn't connect with me. Due to a mixture of characterization and a shaky start to the book, it just wasn't a book I could get into.
The historical side of the book was well done. It focused on the Hungarian Revolution, which I found t be was very interesting and well written. The author did a fantastic job at bring those aspects to life, and creating a story around it. Especially concerning Agnes' hunt for her sister, there were even a few twists there that had re-grabbed my attention in the end. The rest of the book failed to capture me. From the first paragraph I had lost a lot of my initial interest with the book, how it began just didn't connect with me, so for the rest of the book I was already only partially invested in the book.
The characters were lacking in a lot of the necessary features to keep me reading, most of them were very one-dimensional, they felt almost cardboard in how they were written. They lacked emotion and variation in their thoughts and characteristics. When the author finally tried to make them more realistic it was too late in the story for it to be effective. They weren't very likeable but that worked for the story, I was fine with not wanting to like the characters, they were supposed to be a cast of characters that were difficult to like because of the actions and decisions they made, but they also needed to be characters that weren't one dimensional, ones that would make me want to keep reading, even if a lot of them were horrible people.
I did enjoy the ending, while most of the story was mediocre for me, the ending was well done. I wish the rest of the story had that same power and emotion to it as the ending did. The last few passages were amazing and somewhat haunting, had the rest of the book had that same feel to it, it would have been an entirely different reading experience.
Overall, it had some interesting parts to it, but not a book that worked for me.
Would I recommend it to read: I'm on the fence on whether it's a book I'd recommend.
What to read next: The Sound of Blue, The Crooked Maid
Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge