20 July, 2012

Review: The Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Having two TBR piles is a quirk of mine. The first one is books I bought, or mean to read, or read a review of and purchased but might never actually get around to reading. When they were in paper, if they overflowed the shelf I'd bundle them up and ship them off to the library because life is short and obviously I wasn't going to read them. The other is books I have agreed to review various places via promises or promo copies. That I have hard and fast rules about. If I get 20 books in that pile No Books May Arrive Until Finished. We are so underwater right now in review land. I keep reading books from the other TBR pile and ignoring the Pile Of Doom. It's saving me money but I do need to catch up. So when Harper Collins asked me if I would review The Prisoner of Heaven, I had to say no. After all, we are in NBMAUF territory. Harper Collins, being the sneaky mofos that they are, said ok thanks, but there is a free short if you want to read it. Technically a short is not a book. Nor does an ebook have to arrive. So I decided in the middle of the night that Rose Of Fire was totally not a violation of the NBMAUF law and downloaded that bad boy.

I tell you that to tell you this. Now I want to read The Prisoner Of Heaven. It is a slippery slope, these free shorts. They sew the seeds from which massive TBR piles grow. On it's own, Rose of Fire didn't do much for me. It's a little bombastic, a little overblown. I cared exactly not at all for it's main characters. This is probably because I don't read the series. I love Barcelona, I love (in a totally not really love but am obsessed with) the Spanish Inquisition, and hey, a dragon? What! But it was a bit Umberto Eco for me. You know, it feels good for you instead of just good. I ended the short feeling absolutely fantastic about passing up The Prisoner Of Heaven. I decided to just go ahead and read the enclosed excerpt, to see if it continued the events of Rose of Fire or if it was it's own thing.



It totally sucked me in. I had to stop myself from hitting Kindle's-Buy-This-Right-Now-And-Stay-Up-All-Night-OMG button. Because that would be a blatant violation of the NBMAUF rule and my personal ethics. (Like I have them. Hah! I laugh at myself a little. Ok, lots.) The style was different, the pacing was different, it didn't feel good for me at all. It just felt good. That way lies infidelity. I have pledged allegiance to the TBR Review pile and all it holds dear, Amen. But I did click to add The Prisoner Of Heaven to my list of books to buy when NBMAUF is lifted. Because that's an opening few chapters, that is. It even overcame two of my biggest biases - no longwinded series and no books with bookstore owners. Guilt over cheating on my NBMAUF makes me come here and tell you that Rose of Fire is a free download just about everywhere right now. Be careful about that sample though. It's hard to walk away.

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