Wednesday, March 29, 2006

#18 Once by James Herbert

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Hmmm… how did I feel about this book? Well, I think it could’ve been a lot better in some regards, but I really liked the underlying story. For starters, I didn’t like the author’s frequent use of parenthesis and dashes, in the middle of a thought, where he’d go off on a tangent in another direction, just to return to the original thought of the sentence. For instance, dashes should be used for short thoughts inserted into the stream of thought, but when that inserted stream of thought goes on for 5 or 6 lines, before returning to finish the sentence… well, I found myself having to go back and reread the sentence without the inserted text to understand what the author was trying to say. He sometimes used parenthesis in the same way. So all that got annoying after awhile.

Secondly, speaking as a practicing Witch and Pagan, I disliked the use of the word Wiccan to refer to what Nell was. A Wiccan is a very specific denomination of Witchcraft, and what Nell practiced was definitely not Wicca. Nell was a Witch, but she was not a Wiccan. A Wiccan is a Witch, but a Witch is not necessarily a Wiccan. I think the author should spend a bit more time researching the subject of Wiccans and Witchcraft before throwing around terminology he obviously knows nothing about.

Now that all that nasty stuff is out of the way, I found the underlying story interesting and hard to put down. I particularly liked the sex scenes; they were pretty hot for a non-erotica book! :-P I also liked author’s portrayal of the Faerie world, and the characters of Jennet and Rigwit. But found Hugo, Thom’s longtime friend, to be particularly annoying and spineless.

Overall, a fairly decent read, though it lost points because of the points I mentioned above. I’ll certainly look for and read more by this author though, particularly since others have stated this wasn’t even one of his better books.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information. See more progress on: read 100 books in 2006.


stephen said...

You missed the bit where a Heron supposedly swooped down and took a fish from the lake. That just cracked me up and killed off any respect I ever had for James Herbert stone dead. He obviously does very little research if he gets things as basic as that wrong. Also, like you, as an eclectic Pagan I wasn't too happy about his claims that Nell was a Wiccan either. I haven't read another James Herbert book since.