by Natasha Mostert, paranormal (2005)
Tor, $6.99, ISBN 0-765-34929-9
Despite the scathing reviews this book has received, Natasha Mostert's Windwalker seems like a very interesting story to me. Then again, maybe I'm just intrigued by the book because I have no idea what the story is about even after I've read several reviews of this book as well as the back blurb of this book. Even after reading this book, I don't think I know what it is about, to be honest. Maybe it's about the meeting of two soulmates from different sides of the world, but the ending is a complete 180 from the comforting resolution offered by this premise. This book is like an amateur fanfic that exploded in my face - the potential is there, but the author is like a fifteen-year old girl eager to impress the world that she is a grown-up now by inserting over-the-top tedious villainy on the bad guys' part and an ending that smacks of a rather pretentious attempt at being different for the sake of being different.
Justine Callaway reminds me of an over-the-top Mary Sue heroine of a typical fanfic written by a teenaged girl. Suffering from a predictable "MY BROTHER DIED OMGOMG I SWEAR I AM RESPONSIBLE I SUX OMGOMG" dilemma, Justine runs off to do what every smart heroine in need of Prozac would do: to work in the creepiest, most remote English country manor where crazy stalkers, apparitions of Baskerville hounds, punks, ghosts, and dead people run amok. Did I mention that Justine's mother hates her?
Adam Buchanan, whose family previously lived in the house, is in Africa because he killed his brother nine years ago (an incident that Justine gets obsessed over in England) and now he is guilt-ridden but, inexplicably, hopes to find a soul mate (Lucrezia Borgia?) while writing letters to a woman who turns out to be Justine. Who later proves to be his soulmate because she has tattoos on her body that says "Come roger me!" or something.
But before these two can meet up and so some serious bonding over their obsession with sibling homicide, Justine will have to battle her over-the-top war with punks and stalkers and what-not while Adam has to save his village from what seems like the entire battalion of Villains 'R Us weirdos, from hyenas (yes, really) to psychotic crime bosses.
These two are very busy starring in their own cartoon subplots so I guess I should be understanding of the fact that these two don't really meet until page 265, or that the author spends the remaining hundred or so pages trying to be funny and coming up with an ending that has me thinking that I have wasted my time reading this story.
A part of me want to like this story because the author seems defiantly unapologetic about her story being impossible to be characterized under a single genre. But at the same time, the story by itself is overloaded with cartoonish villainy like a Looney Tunes episode. The characters are cardboard-thin, defined entirely by their over-the-top torments and baggage. At the end, therefore, while this book is different, that's all it can boast of being. It's different, yes, but it's not different in a good way. But this book could still be salvaged as a campy read if Ms Mostert will at least offer me some decent ending to her story instead of trying to be smart one last time and depriving me of even some reassurance that I have not wasted my time with this book.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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