Monday, April 16, 2012

The Relic

FINALLY! I finished reading The Relic.

I think perhaps I have been reading and editing too much lately. My love of words has turned to contempt, and at times even outright disgust. Mostly, this is in reaction to my own writing, but it has bled into everything I read. I think I just need to rest my eyes a bit, and maybe watch some thoroughly brain dead TV until my poor brain can recuperate.

I remember when books were nothing but fun, when there was no pressure to get them read in under a certain amount of time, and no need to analyze them harshly. I miss the leisurely, non-stressful read. Maybe that is why I was so perplexed by reading The Relic this time around for class. I feel like I had more patience when I was younger, because none of what bothered me about The Relic this time bothered me before.
I clearly remember enjoying the story and finding all the added information the author provided through letters and scientific discussions to be not only interesting, but important to making the creature believable. This time around, I found them tedious, and I really didn’t care so much for all the scientific explanations. 

When you add to that the abundance of awkward speech tags and overuse of LY words such as:

“Now, there’s one small matter we need to discuss.” She enunciated very precisely. “There were a few spots in the manuscript where you quoted some interesting comments by people ‘close to the exhibition,’ but neglected to identify the exact sources. Nothing important, you understand, but I’d like a list of those sources—for my files, nothing more.” She smiled expectantly.
Alarms rang in Smithback’s head. “Well,” he replied carefully…

The read became something of a chore. 

I found the monster sympathetic and interesting, much more so than the movie version of it, which always struck me as more of a prehistoric monster boar. It’s hard not to feel empathy for someone who is made a monster, especially against their will. Empathy is even easier when how much control the monster has over its actions are in question, and when you consider what the real man looking through the monster’s eyes thinks of himself.
I loved Pendergast, and his character above all makes the book far superior to the movie. I know he’s a bit of cliché, but he’s an endearing cliché that is easily forgiven. And I LOVED the setting of a museum, if nothing else then for lines like this:

“It was eating him,” said Cuthbert, “eating the brains. Just eating and eating. It’s in the Dinosaur Hall, through the lab there.”

It’s eating brains in the Dinosaur Hall!

Would I recommend this book to others? Maybe. I think all the technical babble puts this more in the realm of a science fiction reader’s comfort level than other readers. I know I recommended it to my husband (a big fantasy lover) and he wouldn’t trust my book recommendations for years after—it just wasn’t interesting to him.

1 comment:

Nicole Miller said...

I have been battling those same feelings of tedium when it comes to reading. Although when I work on my own writing, I usually feel better about it. I have also found that I always read books to critique them. What I mean is that I read to see what works and doesn't, how things are explained, what scenes are chosen, etc. For me, that is part of the joy of reading.

As for "The Relic" I agree that the science was too much. For me, the book was a huge disappointment. I know I saw the movie, but do not really remember it.

I hope you recharge soon. :)