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Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Circle of Souls

Grandhi, Preetham. A Circle of Souls. Dr. Grandhi is the chief of service for House 5 at Bronx Children's Psychiatric Center and also has a private practice. The book was sent to me by the author, who sent dozens of books to bloggers.

I liked the premise of the story: a young girl's dreams appear to have her in contact with another young girl who had been murdered recently.

The chapters are very short and switch back and forth between FBI Agent Leia Bines, investigating the murder of young Janet Troy, and Dr. Peter Gram, who searches for a way help seven-year-old Naya Hastings recover from her violent nightmares. Eventually, of course, the two story lines merge.

While I frequently enjoy short chapters, I found these chapters choppy, abrupt, and not always productive in either moving the story line forward or in really developing the characters.

The characters never fully materialized for me, seeming one-dimensional for the most part, and the dialogue was often a bit stiff. For a number of reasons, the plot didn't hang together for me either, even though I love the use of the supernatural and dream influence in novels.

All seemed a bit over-simplified, without the requisite layers a novel of psychological suspense requires. I want to be able to enter into the "spirit" of things--and couldn't quite do that with this novel.

It is, however, a debut novel and the author has a rich mine of experience to draw upon as a result of his day job, so maybe practice (and reading something like The Thirteenth Tale) will hone his fiction.

And, uh, once again, I appear to be the only naysayer, so (as usual) take my review with a grain of salt and check the book out for yourself!

Fiction. Mystery/Supernatural/Psychological. 2009. 339 pages.


  1. You have to have the naysayers too :)
    I have to check this out for myself then

  2. I appreciate the honest review. I've seen tons of glowing reviews, but very few books are perfect in my opinion, so it's good to know the story's weak points, too. This one is on my shelf, and I'm still looking forward to reading it.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  3. Blodeuedd - :) Do check it out!

    Anna - We all expect something a little different from the books we read, don't we? Hope you enjoy this one!

  4. It's good to read reviews from both points of view. I'm always a little wary when I only see raving reviews and often end up disappointed from over expectations.

    This one does intrigue me though.

  5. Nicola - I agree, sometimes we are disappointed in a book because it doesn't live up to our expectations. I didn't read any reviews until having finished the novel on this one, so that didn't play a part in my opinion this time.

    :p The book does read quickly, and I still like the premise-- even if my review doesn't glow!

  6. I have this one in my immediate TBR pile and hope to get to it in the next month or so. The premise certainly sounds good. I'm sorry it turned out to be disappointing.

  7. Appreciate the honest review, Jenclair. I have read a few good reviews about this book, but I tend to trust yours.

    Hope all is well with you and your family. I've been thinking about you quite a bit over the last few days.

  8. wow...I though I was the only one!

    I read it awhile ago but was putting off writing the review because everyone but me seemed to love it. I though I might have read a different
    The dialogue was often very unnatural sounding, and often very unsuited to the characters.

    At least I can link to one often review that agrees with me.
    When I finally write the review that is.

  9. LF - I was having a good run on books for a while, then I ran into several that just didn't do it for me. Hope you like it better than I did!

    Booklogged - I have to admit having been surprised at the many enthusiastic reviews, but we are all looking for something different in the books we read.

    Things have been up and down here for a number of reasons, and I've had frequent difficulties with the computer, but hoping the fall season is going to be an improvement!

    caite - Oh, I'm glad to know that at least one other person found the book less than satisfying! :) When you read all the positive reviews, sometimes you wonder if you DID read a different book. Looking forward to your review, Caite!

  10. It's a little odd-feeling sometimes, being the lone dissenting voice, isn't it? I feel that way about Time Traveler's Wife, since everyone seems to love it so, except me.

  11. Lesley - I didn't love The Time Traveler's Wife either; I enjoyed it, but it did not resonate with me. I read it before I started this blog, right after the book came out, and was surprised at the enthusiasm most people showed for the book when it hit the blog world. :) On the other hand, some of the books I have loved, have not always been well received by others.