2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: The Remnant by Channing Whitaker

I’m a big fan of books about books – particularly about the dangers (physical, psychological, financial, or whatever) of books. In The Remnant, Whitaker doesn’t so much cover brand new ground as he does take an oft-cited idea – “books can be dangerous” – and spins it a quarter-turn from what you expect. By shifting like that, the idea feels eerier than it might have otherwise, and the crisply-told, fast-paced tale keeps that eerie feeling of something JUST outside of your peripheral vision alive throughout the tale. It made for a fun, creepy, thoroughly enjoyable read – and I applaud Whitaker for keeping things short, sweet, and to the point.

It seems like every other book I’m asked to review lately suffers from an overabundance of words.If you have a 500 page story to tell, that’s fine. But most authors don’t seem to – yet for some reason seem to feel compelled to stretch their tales so they hit that mark. This doesn’t help – it’s quality, not quantity that matters in a story, and it’s not like authors are paid by the word… Knowing when to leave things to the reader’s imagination or to leave them up in the air is a gift, and not many authors seem to recognize that there is a more powerful impact in a shorter, well-edited, tale than in a magnum opus.

That said, I’ve long preferred longer books that I could lose myself in for days. BUT the recent spate of under-edited fiction is curing me of that rapidly and despite my long-standing preference for longer fiction, I’m increasingly finding myself a fan of the novella/novellette. It is a format that allows for more of the character development that I love, which is a huge plus for me. (The number one reason I dislike short stories unless they fall within an established series with already well-understood and -developed characters is because there’s not enough time to really explore the characters.) And, equally importantly, because of the one-sitting-reading it also allows the author to play with plot intricacies and imagination in a different way. This allows the reader freedom to explore the story with the characters and obviates the necessity for long expositions by the author (which usually slow the pacing in irritating – albeit often necessary – ways) and keeps things manageable in a way that is sometimes lost in the back-and-forth of longer reads. The Remnant manages to cover both of these handily, and does so with a clever construct and a fun twist. I’m looking forward to reading more Channing Whitaker as a result!

My review copy was provided by the author.

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