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The Essex serpent-am I ever going to like it?

(32 Posts)
buckeejit Sat 21-Apr-18 23:35:58

I'm half way through & not connecting with it at all. It's on audio & wondering whether to bother continuing....everyone else seems to love it. Is this as good as it gets?

NambiBambi Sat 21-Apr-18 23:40:29

Reading this with interest as I have got it out of the library for the second time and still haven't got round to it. I don't know why exactly...

butteredbarmbrack Sat 21-Apr-18 23:41:42

I struggled through to the end, but also wasn't convinced. I read The Power by Naomi Alderman recently too and similarly finished it more through a sense of duty than because I enjoyed it.....

buckeejit Sun 22-Apr-18 08:42:39

I hated the Power-worst book of last year.

I'm going to return it-both these are on audio. I'm all my life I've struggled to the end of books that I'm not into & what is the point? There was such hype behind this one too. No more! Probably didn't help that I quickly absorbed a very good book on the middle of this one. Oh well, onwards & upwards. Thanks both!

falaciousreasoning Sun 22-Apr-18 08:48:35

I gave up about a third of the way through. Just couldn't get into it at all. It is the first book I have ever given up on, normally I just trundle along to the end for closure but haven't given TES a second thought.

AlonsoTigerHeart Sun 22-Apr-18 08:50:34

I found it bloody dull! Nothing happens
I thought I must of missed some hidden subtext because people rave about it

Macauley Sun 22-Apr-18 08:56:59

I was disappointed. I Just couldn’t get into it, so gave up.

ElasticFirecracker Sun 22-Apr-18 09:03:11

This has failed to grab me too. I had expected to enjoy it, but it just seems flat and dull. I was listening to it in audio and I wondered whether it could be something to do with the voice of the reader which has a certain unexpressive tone to it.

EyeDrops Sun 22-Apr-18 09:18:20

I'm struggling through The Power at the minute, and gave The Essex Serpent to read next - oh dear!

I've been stuck on The Power for months. I just don't like any of the characters and it's all just a bit miserable.

MrsMarigold Sun 22-Apr-18 10:01:46

I read The Essex Serpent last summer, quite weak and I didn't enjoy it, Ulysses was easier to read which is saying something.

buckeejit Sun 22-Apr-18 10:03:56

Put it away! I'm feeling so liberated by the thought of not finishing & using that precious time to spend on something I will actually enjoy. It's taken me to get to 40 years old to reach this point though.

I've already moved on to Dark matter by Blake Crouch & 40 minutes in, its good so far smile

WrenNatsworthy Sun 22-Apr-18 10:07:03

I loved both of the books you mention.

The Essex Serpent is funny, reminds me of Jane Austen with it's subtle humour.

fredabear Sun 22-Apr-18 10:10:03

I didn’t enjoy it, kept thinking I would so persevered but was relieved to finally finish it.

NaomiAlderman Sun 22-Apr-18 10:32:25

As the author of The Power (really, I promise!) I would say: 100% don't finish it if you're not enjoying it. Give it to a charity shop and find something you like better. You have my full permission!

(A lot of people have "must finish book" guilt. I used to have it myself. But I realised that literally no author in the world wants you to struggle through their book while going "I'm hating this, I can't bear it." None of us wrote the books for that. Let them go, be free, not all books are for everyone.)

Thiswayorthatway Sun 22-Apr-18 10:35:17

I liked The Power, dark but interesting pretext. The Essex Serpent was dull.

UtterlyDesperate Sun 22-Apr-18 10:41:14

It took me a good while to get in to the Essex Serpent (about 1/3 the book) but it was worth persevering with imo - I came to really enjoy it.

Helmetbymidnight Sun 22-Apr-18 10:50:22

Hello Naomi (eek fan-girl)
I loved disobedience- can't wait to see the film. I also liked the one you did set in university - too excited to look it up.
The power is on obamas list of books of the year- that must have been thrilling- I'd love to see a film of it- its a very filmic book!

I enjoyed the Essex serpent v much but found the Essex serpent the least interesting thing about it. I loved Cora and martha and the rev- beautiful characterisations.

AlecOrAlonzo Sun 22-Apr-18 10:53:12

I really enjoyed The Essex Serpent.

I thought all the different portrayals of love were so interesting.

StoatofDisarray Sun 22-Apr-18 10:55:53

I got to the end but it wasn't worth it.

runningoutofjuice Sun 22-Apr-18 11:01:59

'Interesting enough to keep me wanting to finish it but the ending was a bit of a damp squib'.

My review on Amazon

Helmetbymidnight Sun 22-Apr-18 11:24:47

'Interesting enough to keep me wanting to finish it but the ending was a bit of a damp squib'

This would have been a good review of the Miniaturist too.

Nuffaluff Sun 22-Apr-18 19:12:03

I read this very recently. I found it a bit meh. It was readable. I liked the characters well enough. It was well written, very lyrical.
But. Nothing much really happened. And it didn’t make me feel anything. And why were three people in love with her? Just why? She really wasn’t that amazing.
I enjoyed The Power though. Lots of fun and covered every feminist issue in a clever way. Looking forward to a heated debate about it at my book group next week! I love it and one of the other members hated it.
The Miniaturist. Oh yes, so underwhelming. A complete cop out with the whole magical dolls house thing at the end.

SeriousChutzpah Mon 23-Apr-18 09:42:47

Hi *@NaomiAlderman*, I have a bone to pick with you. I have no less than three undergraduates writing dissertations on gender in speculative fiction, and if I read one more slightly clunky comparison between The Power and The Handmaid's Tale, occasionally with a sideloop via The Hunger Games, I will lie down on my office carpet and bang my head off the filing cabinet.

Thank you for listening. grin

OP, I thought The Essex Serpent was a brilliant premise that wasn't worked through well at all -- I thought it was all premise and a vivid setting, but no fully-realised characters, and just needed more revisions.

SatsukiKusakabe Mon 23-Apr-18 10:55:20

I loved The Essex Serpent, but I would say if you aren’t enjoying it at half way then you won’t. It doesn’t go anywhere, there is no major revelation or big twist, or anything that will make it “worth it” - it is a subtle and beautifully written exploration of themes of friendship, progress and mystery and I enjoyed on those terms. If it’s not for you at the beginning it won’t be at the end smile

TonTonMacoute Mon 23-Apr-18 16:35:07

It’s not going to get any better.

I stuck with it, but didn’t love it, DH really enjoyed it though.

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