Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

DNF @ p. 194

This book is set during WWII, under the reign of Mussolini, and it's about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. There are three main characters: Kidane is a soldier in Selassie's army; Aster is his wife, who married him as a child and resents him to this day; and Hirut is their servant, an orphan who ends up becoming something more when her cruel employers drive her to desperation.

Friends and neighbors, I wanted to love this book. I do love the cover; it's gorgeous and drew me in right away. I also love the concept, as I had never even heard of the Ethiopian invasion, which just goes to show the definitive Western bias in history textbooks. I was eager to learn more and be sucked into a story that would shock me, humble me, and entertain me by turns, while teaching me about a time period I literally knew nothing about. But I did not love it.

This book is so boring. There is action but it is not very well written and the author takes the Jose Saramgao/Cormac McCarthy tack in that she doesn't believe in quotation marks for dialogue tags. When multiple people are speaking per paragraph, this makes it really hard to follow what is going on. The pacing is also majorly off. Even though this book had a great beginning, pretty soon everything began to become molasses slow, and the lack of punctuation didn't help. To give context, my bus broke down and I played with my phone instead of reading this, even though we were stalled for a good twenty minutes. That's how bored I was.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

1 out of 5 stars

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