Review: Drood by Dan Simmons

droodIf you wondered where me and my reviews have been (you probably didn’t, but if you did … thanks!), I’ve been reading a 941-page book called Drood. This book showed up on the list of books Stephen King recommends, and I started it in late October, in my usual tradition of reading something scary during Halloween month.

Well here it is, almost Christmas, and I just finished.

Granted, I would go several days between picking this book up. My goal was 50 pages a week. I read the last 300 pages in a few days. Once you get to the home stretch in a book this large, you just have to go for it. Am I right?

The fact that I finished a 900+-page book should tell you what you need to know. I liked it. It’s not for everyone; that’s for certain. First of all, it’s set in the 1800’s. Second of all, one of the main characters in the novel is Charles Dickens. You know, that guy who wrote those books? His frenemy, Wilkie Collins, is the narrator, though he isn’t the most likeable guy. He depicts Dickens as, well, a Dick. Could be that he’s jealous … Wilkie is a writer himself, whose novels sell well, but he doesn’t enjoy the same level of fame as his boy Chuck does.

Dickens is involved in a train derailment which kills a majority of the people on board. He tells Wilkie of this mysterious character, Drood, a dark figure at the rescue scene. Drood and Dickens work together to pull people from the wreckage. However, it seems like the people attended to by Drood are all dead soon thereafter. Dickens seems determined to learn more about Drood, and this leads Wilkie down the path of obsession, as well.

That’s just the beginning of the 900 page thriller. It moves slowly in spots, but the central mystery of Drood will keep you turning pages. Did it need to be that long? Perhaps not. But the author clearly did his homework and knows a great deal about Dickens’ life. Filling in the blanks with this strange, ominous character of Drood just “works” for some reason.

Ok. On to something perhaps a bit shorter. Like War and Peace. 😉

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