Fuck me, but did this book suck.*
Okay, that was a totally rude sentence, but sometimes, you just gotta say it.
At first, there were parts of the book I actually liked. The historical asides about London catacombs (who knew!) and laudanum were entertaining (I actually like learning weird historical shit like that in my novels, so I was all excited. At first.). The malevolence of Drood had serious potential. And then…
nothing. 700+ pages of nothing. This book went NOWHERE. And it wasn’t even polite enough to go nowhere fast. I swear to god, it was like reading The Brothers Karamazov, and if you don’t remember, I HATED that book. Seriously. HATE. ED.
So why did I finish it, you ask? Good question. Maybe because I made the mistake of adding this to my Fall of 2014 Reading List and I wanted to not give up on it. Maybe because #droodalong (except everyone else was smarter than me and did quit, even Trish (yo, Trish…how come we have shit luck with our readalong books?). Maybe because every once in a while Drood would make a reappearance and I’d get all excited that something was about to happen. But then…nothing happened. And to be honest, once I got to the part with the scarab (and O.M.G…gross!), I started skimming. Partially because it was gross and I was looking forward to lunch, but also because, again, nothing was happening. Except, scarabs. And it cannot be said enough…O.M.G…gross!
Hokay…let me back up and give a quick synopsis.
True fact…Charles Dickens wrote a book, The Mystery of Edmund Drood. Well, he wrote most of a book by that name. He died before he finished it.
Also true fact…Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens were contemporaries. And buds. I guess. Can’t say I’d want to be friends with either one, but then, I’m not a famous author from the 1800s. And I’m a woman (if this book is to be believed, both guys were assholes of the first order).
So Dan Simmons decided to write a novel told from the point of view of Wilkie Collins, about the last five years of Dickens’ life (with a whole lot of crap thrown in about Wilkie…really, people, we’re talking like 600 pages of Wilkie filler), imagining what was really up with this dude named Drood. Except the Drood stuff took a backseat to Wilkie and laudanum. Because that Wilkie, he was drinking ALL the laudanum. And possibly smoking all the opium. And injecting all the morphine.
Which is how this book ends (sort of) (also SPOILER ALERT): mesmerism and morphine. That’s right, Dickens fucks with Wilkie’s mind by hypnotizing him into believing there is a Drood, and then sits back and watches the morphine dreams totally fuck him up even more. FOR 5 YEARS. And then he confesses all, and Wilkie doesn’t believe it, he still thinks there’s a Drood.
And now, I can honestly say, I have no desire to read anything more by Simmons OR Collins OR Dickens. That’s right folks, not only did I dislike the book, I ended up loathing the two main characters so much I doubt I’ll ever pick up another one of their books.
*Just my opinion, of course. Evidently, lots of other people really enjoyed this one. They probably liked The Brothers Karamazov, too. And most likely Ulysses.