(Author: Lucy Ives) + (Year: 2017) + (Goodreads)
This was the first book I received from Penguin Books on NetGalley and I was very happy about it. Add to that the interesting premise of a museum and a mysterious map of a magical settlement, as well as the beautiful cover, which reminded me of The Grand Budapest Hotel movie cover, and I was hooked.
Unfortunately, the book is anything but exciting. For starters, the main character was a strange, self-contradictory woman, who was as hard to like for me, as she was for all the rest of the characters. She seemed to possess mainly negative qualities, and most of all, she was rude and judgmental to the other characters, yet extremely gullible when it came to the museum heartthrob who managed to get her interest, despite being a very obvious sleazebag.
Also, story-wise, there were two separate stories which had nothing to do with each other, aside from being connected to the main character, Stella, and they kept pulling the main story in different directions, making it scattered and unbalanced.
The map story was very naive, childish and not really interesting to follow, and the story of Stella’s private life was just so out of place in terms of the book, that while finding it somewhat more interesting, I felt awkward reading about it, because it so obviously did not belong in the book, at all.
The writing itself was not to my liking either. To some it might have been clever, but to me it seemed very pretentious. There’s nothing bad about using a rich vocabulary, but it just seemed very forced and ostentatious, like a teenager trying to sound smart at a college party.