Book review – Edgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire
This is a fast read, yet a compelling one. A short book (this runs to an estimated 126 pages: estimated since it is on Kindle) needs to pull you quickly into its own universe, and with Edgar Wilde Paul Ramey achieves that deftly and swiftly. That his characters are well-developed and three-dimensional despite the low word-count is testament to the talent of this author. This tale of New England teens investigating a centuries old mystery is always engaging and tantalising.
The book has what Stephen King (in Misery) calls ‘The Gotta’; that elusive element in a story that compels you to want to find out what happens next. “You don’t know exactly where to find the gotta, but you always know when you did.” The Gotta keeps you up all night, because you simply have to read ‘just one more chapter’. Well OK, maybe not all night given the length of this adventure, but if you read it on the bus I guarantee you will miss your stop.
The story flips between the modern day and the 18th century. The modern scenes are far more engaging, possibly because the dialogue of the characters in the past occasionally comes across as clunky and forced. This is my sole criticism of the book, and by the end of the second chapter I found myself hooked. I had exclaimed in surprise, laughed out loud, and completely forgotten the stilted historical speech.
Edgar is an engaging hero, not least because he shares my love of old cemeteries, but the star of the book has to be the beguiling Shelby Emerson, a strong and intelligent female lead that reminded me of Joss Whedon’s women – capable, quick and perfectly capable of standing alone while preferring not to.
The plot is well-paced, and the language beautiful at times – “white cotton curtains billowed in the icy breeze like ghosts dancing on the air”. The book, while aimed at young adults, certainly delighted this grumpy old git. Do yourself a favour, give Edgar Wilde a couple of hours of your time. You’ll be delighted that you did.
– Edgar Wilde gets 5 Happy Wombats. BUY IT HERE.