The only truly beautiful thing about Belle Epoque is the stunning cover. The content, on the other hand, could be a repoussoir itself: it’s positively plain, dull, and boring. The blurb made me believe I held a late 19th century Parisian version of Gossip Girl in my hands. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case …
08OktReview: Belle Epoque
Let me tell you: it’s not as exciting as it sounds. Quite the opposite, in fact. One would think that a book with such a premise – the X-men under a vicious Professor X on a mission to protect a secret space programme set in the historical dystopia of Communist Russia – would be thrilling and utterly nerve-wracking. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. What I got was a great idea weakly executed with flat characters, a forseeable twist, and a writing style and tempo that bored me to death. It speaks volumes that I rejoiced upon finishing it after an eight months hiatus. Maybe I just shouldn’t have picked it up again . . .
14MrzReview: Nearly Gone
I really, truly tried to like this novel but unfortunately this is one of those that have a great premise but fall utterly short of my expectations. A sciencey murder mystery with a paranormal element? Well, that totally could have been awesome! However, it just didn’t work out for me; in other words, the pieces of the puzzle that should have added up to an awesome story didn’t link . . .
Oh my, such a disappointment! After a wonderful, exotic, very gloomy and atmospheric 100 pages that got my hopes up, the awesomeness petered out. The world, the story, the characters – everything had so much potential! Unfortunately, the writing couldn’t live up to it and soon everything lost its glamour: the enthralling mysteries became far too obvious, the rugged beauty had to make way for a boarding school atmosphere and could never truly recover, and the characters turned out to be as flat as a pancake . . .
I tried to like it. I really did, but The Host also failed to win me over on my second attempt to finish this book. The idea itself had the potential of becoming a gripping, fast-paced sci-fi action thriller, but the execution emphasised all the wrong aspects turning it into an often boring and lengthy tale that focuses on a questionable love triangle propped by flat characters and a story that sometimes seems to move rather backwards instead of getting anywhere at all. The ending could have saved the novel by breaking through my wall of indifference – if the novel had actually ended there.