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Monday, September 24, 2007
Homebody (R.I.P & Cardathon - Becky said we could start early)
Card, Orson Scott. Homebody. A haunted house, a ghost, and a man still grieving over the loss of his daughter are the central elements in this novel. Don Lark makes a living by renovating houses, bringing them back to life, and then buying another to renovate. The Bellamy Mansion, however, which Lark purchases with this end in mind, is powerful in its own right and is capable (to a certain degree) of healing itself.
My problem with this book is that the twists and turns did not always seem to have a genuine purpose. Cindy, the real estate agent, is initially quite interesting, but for some reason, the plot turns, and she becomes merely pathetic before disappearing entirely. The neighbors seem to have deserved their own novel (I liked the characters of Miz Judy and Miz Evvie better than any others), but their circumstances were not sufficiently explained for me. Maybe Card himself wasn't sure where the story was going and let it develop as he wrote; but editing (both eliminating false leads and/or expanding certain aspects including the Bellamy family) would have led to a more cohesive novel. Don and Sylvie were almost too ambivalent about anything and everything.
When I finished, I remembered that Chris said that this was not his favorite Card novel, so I looked at several reviews and found that many Card fans were less involved with this one. Of course, any author as prolific as Card is going to have a flawed novel here and there.
Fiction. Suspense/ supernatural. 1998. 432 pages.
Labels: R.I.P. II, supernatural, suspense
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Yeah, this definitely isn't Card's best or most known novel. It's sort of a guilty pleasure read for me. I tend to put this one and Treasure Box into the same category. They're both horror-ish novels by Card that aren't the best example of him at the top of his game, but they're fun reads. I loved Miz Judy and Miz Evvie and completely agree that they're deserving of their own novel. In fact, they're what I remember most from that novel years later. Anyway, I liked Treasure Box much more than this one and I think I remember seeing it on your TBR pile. So I hope you enjoy that one if you get to it...that's one's gotten quite a bit of criticism too, but I liked it.ReplyDelete
I like Card, but like any other author--yeah, this isn't his best. Like Gaiman, he's gotten a little spotty. I think when you rush to put out a book or two every year, your work tends to suffer. I'm willing to wait a little longer if I can get soemthing really good.ReplyDelete
That is too bad, because the premise sounds really interesting. I hate reading novels that don't deliver.ReplyDelete
Jenclair, you are a reading MACHINE! I've decided I need to spend less time on the computer and more time reading!!ReplyDelete
I finally bowed to the pressure and joined the Cardathon. (Lord, I thought peer pressure had ended for me!) How scary is it that I joined a challenge and have not read ONE book by Card??
I also think the premise sounds good. I like a scary house as much as the next person - too bad this one wasn't great.ReplyDelete
Chris -- I'm not sure horror is something Card feels completely comfortable with, but that's OK, too. I will be starting Treasure Box soon and hope for the best!ReplyDelete
jodi -- It isn't surprising that there are some genres in which an author excels and some that don't quite fit. Card certainly has a lot of books to choose from!
Carl -- There is also a problem of reading so many books in the same genre at one time...easier to compare. "This one isn't as good as that one" kind of thing.
Stephanie - Aren't we sad cases of weak wills? I'm going to try to hold off on any additional challenges for a while! Try, being the operative word.
Heather -- Yeah, I like the idea of a sentient house. And all haunted houses appeal in theory!
I'm determined to finally give Card a chance one of these days (thanks to Chris), but it sounds like this is definitely not the one to start with. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the book, but I've got to say you still wrote a wonderful review. (I really struggle with reviews when I don't like the book. Oh, okay, I struggle with them anyway, but it's even harder with a book I didn't really enjoy.)ReplyDelete
Darn. Your opening sentence made me say, "Oh, oh, oh - my thing!" But, it sounds like a book worth skipping. Thanks for the warning. :)ReplyDelete
I felt the same way about Card's Lost Boys. Hope Treasure Box is more enjoyable for you.ReplyDelete
Debi -- I loved Ender's Game when I read it long ago, but Chris has more suggestions. Card has a broad and dedicated fan base for a reason. :)ReplyDelete
I struggle with reviews,too, putting them off as long as possible.
Bookfool -- No, Homebody isn't one that I'd recommend. I want a good haunted house book, though, if you have any suggestions.
Booklogged -- I'll stay away from Lost Boys, too. I've already got a copy of Treasure Box, so will definitely give it a chance.
Have you read "The House Next Door" by Anne Rivers Siddons? Not her usual style at all. Her only horror book. But...quite, quite spooky. It's even better, I think, in audio.ReplyDelete
I haven't read any Orson Scott Card and will make sure I don't start with this one!ReplyDelete
Kay -- No, I haven't, but I will look for it. How interesting that she tried horror.ReplyDelete
Rhinoa -- Nope, there are definitely better possibilities. :)
I didn't like my first Card book and didn't read him again for twenty years. Then I read Enchantment and Enders Game and loved them. So I will probably join the challenge but skip will this book.ReplyDelete
Framed -- Can't recommend this one. :(ReplyDelete
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any great haunted house novels. But, I've heard lots of kudos for The House Next Door. I'll tell you if I think of anything wonderful. :)ReplyDelete